Brittany Hoagland of Fort Collins, Colo., is an idealist with a not-at-all controversial opinion: women ought to be allowed the same rights as men. Along those lines, Hoagland's been campaigning to "decriminalize the female breast" for a couple months now because, as she says, it's "a matter of equality for women under the law."

Hoagland is fighting a city ordinance that bars women (and only women) from being topless in public. Her protests fall in line with a larger national movement toward protesting indecency laws that many claim unfavorably affect women. Via The Associated Press:

Other cities, including Denver, New York and the nearby college town of Boulder, have removed all gender-specific language from indecency codes. The city of Chicago is facing a federal lawsuit from a woman challenging as discriminatory her $150 fine for participating in a 2014 "Go Topless Day" protest near Lake Michigan.

Indecency codes are largely local, with very few states having laws on the books banning female breast exposure.

Yesterday, the City Council finally debated Hoagland's cause, and ultimately concluded that, barring some exceptions like breastfeeding, female nudity would remain illegal, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported.

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"A long line of speakers" appeared to give their important opinions to the City Council, the Denver Post says, and each was limited to a two-minute speech. Some highlights, from the Coloradoan, the Post, and The Associated Press:

  • Many speakers arguing topless women would "erode the family atmosphere" of the town
  • Others (probably men) "predicted that permitting exposed breasts would decrease respect toward women"
  • At least one person believed that a topless policy would lead to an increase in car accidents

But the creative opposition to the law wasn't limited to public residents; even Councilman Ray Martinez said "he didn’t want to see 'Fort Collins turned into a strip club.'"

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Hoagland told the Post she thought the proposal would be a "quick and easy fix to an issue she felt was contributing to gender inequality in her community."

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.