Men: walking around shirtless since the dawn of time. Women: not so much. But did you know that in the state of New York it is totally legal for a woman to be topless anywhere it is legal for a man to do so? Truth.
Luckily Moira Johnson (NSFW), a local activist and women's liberator, has taken up the cause and is building awareness about this quirky bit of equality in our legislation in probably the most common sense way possible: by simply being topless everywhere men usually are—the park, yoga classes, grabbing a juice, etc. We caught up with Moira to see what she's been up to during the colder months (when at least a sweater is recommended), see what's on her docket for spring and what SPF she prefers.
So, it's been pretty cold lately. What have you been up to all winter?
I got my yoga teachers certification and I've been getting some experience teaching yoga to friends and family members, along with volunteering at Sivananda Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, NY.
Spring is around the corner. Plans for taking your top off soon?
I plan to continue with topless activism throughout Spring/Summer 2013. I'll also be teaching topless yoga lessons in various outdoor venues for topless females and their advocates.
You spend a lot of time out on the streets to support your cause. What are some of your favorite local businesses?
I love vegetarian cuisine and some of my favorite places to eat are Caravan of Dreams, Souen, Angelina Kitchen, One Lucky Duck Juice & Take-Away and Liquiteria.
Are a lot of places supportive of your being topless?
Liquiteria is especially friendly to me. They let me sit topless in their outdoor storefront seating area on a frequent basis, and the owner even gave me a free drink the day after he saw a report about my activism on the local news channel.
Vira Yoga in Soho was also supportive. The owner is a woman and said she found it refreshing when a friend and I decided to exercise our rights during yoga class.
What's your preferred sunscreen brand & SPF?
Though I get a lot of sun exposure, I strangely don't use sunscreen on my body that often. My skin just doesn't sunburn that easily. I like to use California Baby Frangrance Free 30+ on my face though.
What's the best reaction to toplessness you've ever gotten? The worst?
The best and the worst that I can remember happen within minutes of eachother, and on the same street block. Someone who had just gotten out of jail was verbally harassing me and saying that he would hurt me, but he didn't do anything more than that. As I was walking along after that incident, three separate people yelled "I love you!"