July 30, 2014

why tan lines are in and topless is out

Does frolicking at the beach, splashing in the waves topless seems less innocent now than it was back in the 60's, 70's and 80's? Even in the 90's, despite being the decade of ostentation and narcisstic intent, still had an air of laisser faire and more importantly, sponteneity. Now, we're dealing with google glasses along with the millions of other gadgets with stealth recording capabilities. And that is just mega creepy. Frankly, I wouldn't care if someone took a picture of me bare-breasted on the beach. Okay. That's a lie. I would mind. I always minded as the thought of taking my bikini top off in public just plain frightened me. Uncomfortable, gauche, ill-at-ease. And that's not a good look. Except that one time in Adeje, Tenerife when I decided to be brave. (My cool and uninhibited Italian girlfriends may have had something to do with my change of heart for a day). And the guy I fancied showed up. So there I was, sitting by the pool, topless.  I felt very weird. And inhibited.

"So what did you have for breakfast this morning?" Giorgio kept up a steady flow of chatter as he sat down next to me. I kept being uncomfortable.

While that was my first and last attempt at playful bounciness, this month's summer edition in Elle France asks the question if the age of innocence has come to an end for all the rest of the cool Europeans and free thinkers who enjoy topless sunbathing.  The Guardian picks up on it and ponders on this topic as well. (Lucky for us we don't have to struggle through the French article) The question is not answered in any definitive way. "Health concerns, the 'pornified' perception of women and the rise of breast-affiliated activism".

So, unless we have a rebel yell painted across our bare breasts, we can't go topless? And if we still go topless without "Putin OUT!", are we 'hos? Sluts? Although really, after seeing Miley swinging on a wrecking ball and Rihanna pretty much naked at the Met ball, it seems hypocritical to worry about exposed breasts at the beach being associated with pornification.

Funnily enough, its the younger girls who aren't going topless on public beaches yet show no shyness on Instagram etc. Maybe they prefer the anonymity of social media? Or the remoteness of it? Untouchable? Being half naked in public life is still different than posing in front of your mirror.

So the beach-scape is changing. Freedom is changing. The age of innocence - for now, at least - has been suspended. Not everywhere of course. Germany is still one great big nudist colony at heart. Although I never was a fan of seeing dangling bits go swinging by while I'm trying to enjoy my summer read.

In the spirit of change, someone was considerate enough to declare tan lines cool, sexy, desirable. Go forth and tan. Grasp what little privacy we have left and hold it dear. Yay for tan lines!

images courtesy of elle.fr

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