Instigator / Pro
Points: 21

Woman should be allowed to walk around topless in public without being shamed for it.

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 3 votes the winner is ...
Wrick-It-Ralph
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Politics
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
Points: 9
Description
The debate will be based on a societal ought, so I believe a shared BoP is appropriate here.
I don't do contingencies beyond default debate rules so argue any way you see fit.
Round 1
Published:
Reasons for my position. 

1. Woman being topless in public is perfectly legal in 37 states.

2. It's only illegal in 3 states. 

3. 10 states have ambiguous laws but do not outlaw it. 

4. Men do not get shamed for doing it. 

5. There is no practical reason why wearing a shirt in public is anymore necessary for a woman than it is a man. 

6.  Woman have body autonomy rights like the rest of us.  So any appeals to things like sexual harassment and the like are not sufficient reasons to force woman to wear shirts. 

7  Being topless is an amoral act.  Which is to say that it has nothing to do with morality whatsoever. 



In summary.  Woman are already legally allowed to do this in most places in the united states.  However, the puritan nature of our country has betrayed us here.  Woman have face so much adversity over the centuries that they have been shamed into keeping their shirts on.  While men go around showing off their hairy chest that I'm sure most of us don't want to see but accept anyway because body rights.  All I'm arguing for here is to honor what the law is already telling us. 



Published:
My position:

Meet Bob. Bob is a hairy older gentleman walking around in public wearing nothing but a speedo. Bob makes people uncomfortable. I look at toplessness the same way I look at Bob. Should Bob be allowed to walk around like that? Sure. Should people have the right to feel uncomfortable around Bob? Sure. Should businesses be allowed to say "No shirt, no shoes, no service" to Bob? Sure.


My argument:

Shame is not always a bad thing. Shame causes people to more closely align with societal standards, which is fundamental to a functional society. Shame is a social method of enforcing customs without the use of hard laws. Shame is good sometimes.

Clothes are also fundamental to human culture. It would be wildly inappropriate to show up to a funeral topless, or a job interview, wedding, or formal dinner. We, as a society, want people to dress up sometimes. There are definitely situations where being topless, male or female, deserves shame. 

Topless woman in public should be subject to the same societal pressures (including shame) that everyone else faces.

Rebuttals

So right off the bat I'll point out that argument 1, 2 and 3 are all direct appeals to authority. What if someone, for example, didn't think USA politics should be the gold standard?

4. Men do not get shamed for doing it. 
Yes, they do. If I walked into my office without a shirt on tomorrow I would be shamed, along with every other male professional who works with the public.

I agree on points 5 and 6. 

7. Being topless is an amoral act. Which is to say that it has nothing to do with morality whatsoever. 
That's a difficult question to answer. Again it comes down to context. Is public toplessness inherently moral/immoral? No. Are there situations where being topless could be considered rude? Yes. Is being rude on purpose immoral? Probably.

Conclusion

How we are expected to dress largely depends on context. I posit that there are many situations in which toplessness is considered rude/shameful. There are situations where being way underdressed is considered rude (looking at you BOB). Shame is just a tool to discourage anti-social behavior without enforcing hard laws; it's not always a bad thing.
Round 2
Published:
You said:
"Meet Bob. Bob is a hairy older gentleman walking around in public wearing nothing but a speedo. Bob makes people uncomfortable. I look at toplessness the same way I look at Bob. Should Bob be allowed to walk around like that? Sure. Should people have the right to feel uncomfortable around Bob? Sure. Should businesses be allowed to say "No shirt, no shoes, no service" to Bob? Sure."

Were you listening to Guilty Conscience before you wrote this? I agree with everything here as long as nobody is harassing or shaming Bob and keeping their opinion about bob's grossness to themselves.  Stores can impose whatever rules they want.  That's private property.  The street is not.. However, Bob does not sound like a fun guy to be around, lol. 

You said;
"Shame is not always a bad thing."

Right, so if I'm a Nazi and I shame you into hating the Jews with me.  That's cool right? 

What if the societal standard is illegal.  Like, I don't know, suppressing one's civil rights?

So we can agree here that not every societal standard is not good then right?  

Well how do we decide the standard.  Surely we can't just let every group go around imposing their standards right? 

That's what we have laws for.  Laws are how we decide which societal standards should be enforced and which shouldn't

Now you could argue that laws can be unjust and this is true.  But at some point, we have to throw our hands in the air and trust in some kind of standard.

I believe American law is a good starting point. 

America says that being topless in public is okay (good job Bob!)

So really, the societal standard is to allow toplessness regardless of what a few groups say.  

I think laws are a much better method than shaming. 

Shaming is a hateful act that seeks to oppress people and stop free thinkers from prospering.  

Why condone something as deplorable as shaming when we have nice wholesome ways of achieving the same goal like education, laws, philosophy. 

All great ways to form societal standards that are both fair and agreeable.  


You said:
"Clothes are also fundamental to human culture. It would be wildly inappropriate to show up to a funeral topless, or a job interview, wedding, or formal dinner"

I have two objections to this.  

A) I never said that people couldn't make rules on private property.  My topic is specifically about being in public places.  I know a gather SEEMS public but most gatherings take place on private property so they're excluded from this debate.  Think more like a party in the park. 

B) What you said isn't true per se.  It's subjective, so it depends on who is throwing the gathering.  What if the person who died was a nudist?  I'm guessing that person would want naked people at their funeral.  It's only unacceptable based on the opinion of the property owner.  This mentality doesn't apply in public. 


"Yes, they do. If I walked into my office without a shirt on tomorrow I would be shamed, along with every other male professional who works with the public."

Okay, you've now turned this into a red herring.  Once again, I said in public.  I don't know what neighborhood your were raised in so this might not be your fault, but I was raised in a big city and once summer hit every guy's shirt came off.  Furthermore, I would never be harassed by a cop for being topless in public and women have been even when it was legal to do so.  People have such a negative disposition against this that even cops intuitively think it's illegal or try to police it when they're not suppose to be doing so.  

You said:
"No. Are there situations where being topless could be considered rude? Yes. Is being rude on purpose immoral? Probably."

I guess this comes down to how your view morals.  But in general, most people either judge morals by their religion or by a standard.  If you cite religious morality, then I'm sure it's probably going to be a moral issue, but I don't think that's the best standard for a society that wants religious freedom.  So the best standard is harm vs benefit.  When using this standard, I cannot even fathom a situation where the act of being topless by itself is immoral.  Being rude implies that you're offending someone, so once again, it's only immoral to be rude if you're on private property.  Being rude in public is not immoral even though most people don't like it.  But morality has nothing to do with what people like or dislike.  


So since your Bob example basically conceded that you are alright with people being topless in public (Thanks Bob!)  I think that you might have just conceded this debate already.  

Unless you're going to say that it's okay to shame people on the street, at which point there will be contention. 

and private gatherings are not public places.  I cannot stress that enough.  

Your floor
Published:
Laws tell us what is allowed. Societal pressure tells us what is appropriate. Being allowed to do something doesn't exempt you from shame.

Now I'm not saying that being topless is always inappropriate or shameful, but there are certainly examples of public toplessness which should be considered inappropriate. For example, I think it's inappropriate for (men or woman) to be almost naked at a public playground, or in a public court appearance, or war memorial. Most people wouldn't be comfortable with speedo bob pushing their kid on a swing.

To clarify, I believe that Speedo Bob should be allowed to dress however his local laws deem fit. I do not believe those same laws shield Bob from shame. 

Now let's talk about the implications of shame on society. Shame is not necessarily born out of prejudice. Shame is not necessarily prescribed with the intent to harm. Shame is a natural human emotion that we evolved to become more in tune with our social structures. It's an inescapable, fundamental part of the human experience.  Moreover, shame isn't always caused by the actions of others, it often comes from within. Shame is what happens when we experience cognitive dissonance between our actions and our values. It can be argued that the "shame" felt from walking around half-naked comes from ones own perception of what is and is not acceptable in society.

I'm not convinced we can outlaw shame any more than we could outlaw happiness or anger.

---

Pro: "Men do not get shamed for being topless"

Me: "Yes, they do. If I walked into my office without a shirt on tomorrow I would be shamed, along with every other male professional who works with the public."

Pro: "Okay, you've now turned this into a red herring.  Once again, I said in public"
My office is public. Customers can enter the building and interact with me. Most professionals have to work directly with customers or clients. Retail workers, dentists, insurance agencies, doctors, lawyers and policeman all deal with the public and are expected not to show up to work topless. They would be shamed if they did.

Pro: "I cannot even fathom a situation where the act of being topless by itself is immoral.  Being rude implies that you're offending someone, so once again, it's only immoral to be rude if you're on private property"
I really have to disagree with you on that last point. It is entirely possible to offend someone in public, just ask hairy old bob. I also don't think it's fair to remove context from the situation - what's rude or socially unacceptable in some situations is welcomed in other situations. 


Conclusion

There are certainly examples of public places where being topless is inappropriate. Soft pressure through shame is a much better mechanism for curbing unwanted public behavior than hard laws. Social norms account for context, whereas laws are applied generally. A law might say being topless in public is not a crime. Social pressure says you shouldn't walk into a public funeral with your nipples out, despite it being technically legal. (Yes, some funerals are public).
Round 3
Published:
You said; 
"Societal pressure tells us what is appropriate"

False.  Societal pressures are just people's opinions imposed on you.  People do not have the right to impose their opinion on you, so this is both immoral and illegal.  Furthermore, Societal pressure are not a path to truth.  Societal pressures lead to the Nazi regime, if societal pressure can do that, then we don't need them. 

You said:
"For example, I think it's inappropriate for (men or woman) to be almost naked at a public playground, or in a public court appearance, or war memorial. "

All of those are public places and you have no right to tell people what to wear.  In this case of courtrooms, they have a strict dress code and while you might get told to leave for being topless, the judge cannot have you arrest nor shame you for it.  

Men go to playgrounds shirtless all the time.  That's not as creepy as it first sounds.  They have basketball hoops there and people take off their shirts.  The opinions of the parents is irrelevant because they don't own the park.  All of those things apply to war memorials assuming those are public places.  Maybe somebody could clarify that for me. 

Shame is just a mean of control, nothing else.  It is only your opinion that it is good and I'm willing to be that's not a popular opinion.  Unless you can prove that shame is necessary, then I don't want any part of it. 

We do outlaw shame, Shame is a form of bullying and bullying is illegal. 

Your office is not public.  Your office is private and allows the public in so they can make money.  That doesn't make it a public place.  Your office also reserves the right to kick out customers so please explain how it is public? 

I never said you couldn't offend someone in public.  But is offense a good reason to shame me?  I could be offended by anything.  I could be offended that you're breathing too fast or that your shirt is too tight or too loose or not white, etc, etc.  Nobody's offense matters.  It only matters if they are being offended on their property, then to continue being on their property would be illegal.  Other than that, you don't get to say that offense is a good reason. 


The only strong case you made was for wearing a shirt in a private building, which wasn't even close to my argument.  Your shame and offense examples aren't really sufficient reasons to violate somebody's civil rights so I'm going to need more than that from you going forward. 

Your floor. 
Published:
This argument boils down to two questions:

  1. Do laws define what is socially acceptable?
  2. Does shame always equal prejudice/bullying?
     1.
Every point you've made relies on "legality" or "rights". My point is that just because something is legal, doesn't mean it's socially acceptable. For example; It's legal to push every button on a crowded 60-floor elevator and fart loudly on the way out, but it's not socially acceptable. What is and isn't socially acceptable is defined by the Social Contract, not by laws. To say "____ is true because laws say so!" is a direct appeal to authority.


     2. 
Shame comes from within.  You keep jumping to "Shame = Nazi!", but this is a slippery slope fallacy. It's entirely possible to feel ashamed without having other people judging you. Maybe you failed to meet a personal goal, and that makes you feel ashamed. Shame is not necessarily a form of bullying or prejudice. Shame is a symptom of embarrassment. For example, some men are ashamed to take off their shirts at a public beach. He might feel this way even if no one was judging him. Same with a topless woman.

Let's talk about body shaming. If your point is that body shaming is a bad thing, then I agree with you!  My point is that you can't shield topless women from shame. As long as people compare themselves to others, embarrassment will always be a thing. As long as people are picky about their sexual partners, body shaming will always be a thing. You can't change this with laws. The notion that we can somehow block women from feeling shame is nonsensical.

Rebuttals

Con: "Societal pressure tells us what is appropriate"

Pro: False.  Societal pressures are just people's opinions imposed on you.  People do not have the right to impose their opinion on you, so this is both immoral and illegal.  Furthermore, Societal pressure are not a path to truth.  Societal pressures lead to the Nazi regime, if societal pressure can do that, then we don't need them. 
A topless woman could feel shame even if you didn't impose your opinion on them. Maybe they're embarrassed by their body? Shame can come from within.

The Nazi comment is a ridiculous overstatement (slippery slope fallacy again). Social pressures are required for society to exist. You can't have a society without common values, and social pressure is what encourages people to behave according to those values. If those values involve having a shirt on in some situations, then so be it.


Con: "I think it's inappropriate for (men or woman) to be almost naked at a public playground, or in a public court appearance, or war memorial. "

Pro: All of those are public places and you have no right to tell people what to wear.  In this case of courtrooms, they have a strict dress code and while you might get told to leave for being topless, the judge cannot have you arrest nor shame you for it.  
Again, rights do not determine what is/isn't socially acceptable. How do you think that court case is gonna go after you show up without a shirt on? Do you really believe that just because something is legal that it won't have social repercussions? 


Shame is just a mean of control, nothing else.  It is only your opinion that it is good and I'm willing to be that's not a popular opinion.  Unless you can prove that shame is necessary, then I don't want any part of it. 

We do outlaw shame, Shame is a form of bullying and bullying is illegal. 
Shame is implicit to the human experience. It is not illegal, it's not a conspiracy used to control the population, it's an emotion.


Nobody's offense matters.  It only matters if they are being offended on their property, then to continue being on their property would be illegal. 
Again, laws do not imply what is socially acceptable. Stop appealing to authority.

Round 4
Published:
Every point you've made relies on "legality" or "rights".

False.  My opening statement makes an appeal to practicality and rightfully points out that public toplessness is an amoral act.  You have not countered either of these.  You can't say it's practical because it has benefits and men do it too so it's only practical to extend it both ways.  You can't prove it's immoral, you can only prove it's immoral if you are disrespecting somebody's wishes on private property, which makes the violation of the person's property immoral, not the toplessness it self. You can't make any legal appeals either because the law is on my side.  So if practicality, morality, and legality is on my side, what's on your side? 

You keep jumping to "Shame = Nazi!", but this is a slippery slope fallacy
False.  A slippery slope fallacy does not apply to historical events that already played out.  it would only be a fallacy if I said that shame was the reason for the Nazi regime, because then I would be saying that one action causes a chain of events.  What I'm saying was that the regime controlled people and shame is a form of control.  If you didn't hate Jews enough to support the war, you were blacklisted or even killed for it. 

I'll be fair and say this.  Shame is a way of controlling people.  If there is a situation where controlling people is justified, like stopping them from committing an immoral act, then I will agree that it is at least ONE good way of handling the situation.  But toplessness is not immoral because people being offended has nothing to do with morality. That's the most you'll get out of me.  So shaming for toplessness is not a good solution and I also believe that it would be morally wrong in this case to shame somebody. 

You say that body shaming will always be a thing.  Maybe it will.  That doesn't mean we have to stop fighting it.  We can suppress it to an absolute minimum using laws and eventually it will become a societal norm to not shame people for immoral reasons.

If a woman feels shame for being topless in public, it's because she was told that it's a bad thing by somebody and they're worried about what people think about them.  They should not have to feel this way.  If society accepted it, then they wouldn't feel shameful.  

Does a woman feel ashamed to expose her neck or her eyes?  No.  Do you know why?  It's because nobody told her those things were bad to show.  Your argument here only further proves that societal shaming is a bad thing. 

Social pressures are only needed to stop immoral acts. Not things like toplessness.  Civil rights trump social pressures. 

Actually, right do determine what's acceptable.  That's what they're designed for.  Whether or not you accept the right is up to you.  But you really don't have a choice in the matter because it's a right. 

All shame isn't illegal.  But the shame you're using for this debate is.  Please go walk up to somebody on the street and shame them for something and see what happens. 

You don't seem to like laws very much.  Why should we care about your opinion if you can't agree that some laws are good?  You don't just get to say "it's a law, therefore rejected"  You have to show it's an unjust law.  Can you do that? 



In summation.  I have Moral, Practical, Logical, and legal justification on my side.  What do you have? 
Forfeited
Added:
--> @K_Michael
Woman think of pecks sexually as well. As far as I can tell, modesty is an imposition of society and there is nothing intrinsic about it. We don't see other mammals covered there sexy parts. I think that intelligence is counter to evolution and causes us to do strange things that make no sense. If someone wanted to root the argument in evolution, I would say that maybe jealously is the reason. A man is self conscious and worried that someone might woo away his mate, so he tries to desexualize here to keep the other alphas away.
Instigator
#25
Added:
--> @Tiwaz
So are you.
#24
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
You're welcome to have that perspective, even if it's objectively wrong.
#23
Added:
--> @Tiwaz
I'm saying it.
#22
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
I think the taboo on women's breasts has to do with the sexual associations. Everyone is trained to think of female breasts sexually, and most people regard open sexuality as taboo. So there is a difference between males and females being topless. This view is incorrect, but the problem is either the sexuality taboo or the sexual association with women's breasts. That's where the problem lies, in my opinion.
#21
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
I never said it was the only reason it was bad. I never even said it was a reason for it being bad.
#20
Added:
--> @Tiwaz
stigma against polygamy is the only reason that polygamy is bad, genius.
#19
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph, @MrMaestro
Honestly, I haven't read the entire debate. But I will say that from my viewpoint it's a question of how much stigma is bad and to the extent it's necessary. A socially-cohesive society will always intricate forms of stigma; it's necessary and the concept itself isn't inherently good and bad.
(e.g., stigma against mental-illness bad to an extent; stigma against polygamy good to an extent).
#18
Added:
--> @MrMaestro
Well there were prongs of our arguments that met up, so there was enough discourse to go around, but it did fizzle out quicker than normal because we weren't on the perfectly same track.
Instigator
#17
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph, @Tiwaz
Yeah man, I'm not against women being topless in public. Taking the "women shouldn't have rights" approach is a pretty weak argument anyway haha.
In my opinion, your morality argument was the strongest one. There's really no reason for a certain behavior to be stigmatized if it doesn't hurt society. One could argue that nudity is somehow bad for kids, or the public, but it's a weak counter.
I think Tiwaz is right though, we were kind of arguing about different things. You were saying that social stigma (which causes shame) is a bad thing, and I was arguing that individualized shame is inherent and necessary. These two things aren't really interchangeable; one refers to the individual the other refers to society. Our arguments were slightly misaligned in that respect.
Until we meet again, Steel Ralph.
Contender
#16
Added:
--> @MrMaestro, @Speedrace
It was a fun debate and my opponent took a practical approach as opposed to when I posted this on DDO and my opponent basically argued that the act of female nudity was immoral because society said so.
Your approach had a little more rationalization to it because I could sometimes see situations on private property where it wasn't just outright sexism.
Instigator
#15
Added:
--> @MrMaestro
I must have missed this comment. No problem man. Life happens.
Instigator
#14
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Hey Ralph, good debate! Sorry about the forfeit at the end, just got busy with school work, you know how it goes.
Contender
#13
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph, @MrMaestro
Nice job, guys.
#12
Added:
--> @MrMaestro
I wish you hadn't forfeited.
#11
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Con's forfeit may have been accidental, but I'll view it as being a sore loser. I didn't see any rebuttals that Pro didn't cover, but obviously, Con missed some by forfeit.
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Interesting debate.
This debate was fairly tactical, with con actually making a pretty decent counter plan.
The only difference between the two positions is effectively that pro feels that women shouldn’t be shamed for being topless, and con feeling that they mostly shouldn’t, but the ability to do so should still not be precluded - as shaming serves a valid purpose.
Jumping in: this is a debate about whether social control through shame is valid. Cons argument is that exercising social control via social norms is acceptable.
Pros main argument - is effectively that social norms are arbitrary and subjective - and tantermount to bullying. A primary point made, which I feel most relevant is that if there was some way that control over individuals was objectively necessary for moral reasons - which this is not.
My main issue is that much of cons argument is talking about the social repercussions and appeal to our own sensibilities : in particular social situations as in courts, no shoes - shorts - or service. In my view, however, I don’t think con does enough to tie these requirements to shame. While I can accept pros arguments that shame is a mechanism of control - I can’t buy that his examples of control are or should be enforced by shame, which is mostly what pros final round convincingly argues.
As a result, arguments to pro.
Conduct to pro for the forfeit.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
I'm deciding based off of who debate better, not my personal opinion. I don't want to be called names in the comments. -_-
Argument:
I really liked this debate, and I wish Con hadn't forfeited so I could see his rebuttal. Pro started with focusing on public spaces, which I liked. Con, in that area, failed to show why women being topless is bad. What I didn't like is that Pro tried to use existing laws as a main argument. I don't like that because it gives him an inherent advantage, so I'd rather that both parties argued from a stance that a decision on the debate topic has not yet been decided in the real world. Regardless, Pro did an amazing job of backing up his points. He showed how shame is not a reason to take a right away from these women, which pretty much obliterated Con's arguments. Con really had no other critiques. However, I think that he still did a great job anyway.
Conduct:
Con forfeited, which is bad conduct.
*Tied In All Others*