By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While only a handful of women removed their tops on Rio’s Ipanema beach on Saturday, December 21st, photographers flooded the beach to record the event.
One photographer who attended the demonstration told The Rio Times that “it had more photographers than topless girls. It was a failure.”
Dubbed ‘Toplessaço’ the demonstration was held in protest of Brazil’s laws which classify female toplessness on Rio’s beaches or elsewhere in the country as an “obscene act” punishable by fine or a jail sentence of three months to a year.
Organized by actress and theater producer Ana Rios and her girlfriend Bruna Oliveira, the idea for ‘Toplessaço’ was born during the recent “Marcha das Vadias” (March of the Sluts) when the two witnessed disapproving looks of passersby.
“During the march, I realized that the existence of being topless was a very aggressive act. I heard several people saying horrible things,” Ana Rios explained to G1 before ‘Toplessaço’. “I told Bruna that it was crazy how people have such a violent reaction to the female body. There is an acceptance in the context of buying and selling [the female body], but not an acceptance of it in its natural context. In magazines, except for breastfeeding, it is very rare to see women’s breasts.”
The two then decided to hold the demonstration on the first day of summer this year. As the event drew near it began to make headlines. The Facebook event page was officially created on the night of Monday, December 16th and over seven hundred attendees were confirmed. O Globo had reported earlier on December 5th, that almost four thousand attendees were expected for the event.
However, beginning at 10AM on Saturday morning only a handful of demonstrators removed their tops on Ipanema beach. Reportedly, Rios herself was hesitant to go topless and did so only after repeated harassment from the photographers and onlookers.
“The initial idea was that it achieve an impact. Too bad it turned into a media circus,” Rios told O Globo. “What impresses me most are the men who came to see breasts. If on one hand it turned into a circus, on another, the discussion on the issue hit all sectors.”
Read more (in Portuguese).
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