The Law is a Tit

Sunbathing topless

A Court Report from the Times of Malta tells us that:

“A woman who was found guilty of topless bathing is appealing the judgment and requesting a constitutional reference based on the uncertain interpretation of the law under which she was charged.”

It appears that a certain Lorraine Falzon (funny how easily the name is dropped when it does not involve a paedophile daddy abusing adopted daughters just to give an example) decided to sunbathe sans bikini top in Gnejna Bay in November. There (and then) she must have been apprehended by an overzealous policeman who must have been on one of his rounds of monitoring illegal hunting in the area or on his way to a raid in a Paceville night club full of indecently dressed ladies. Madame (Mdmelle?) Falzon was charged under article 338(q) of the Criminal Code that states that who “exposes himself naked or is indecently dressed” on the seashore or in any other public place will be guilty of breaching public order.

According to the Court Report the question of interpretation revolves on whether “topless sunbathing” amounts to “indecently dressed”. In the Appeal Court Judge Galea Debono stated that “in the absence of guidelines of what constituted indecently dressed, the matter was left to the subjective opinion of the judging body”. An honourable judge of the First Hall Civil Court will therefore receive the case and decide whether, in his (or her) subjective opinion Ms Falzon was indecently dressed by way of her having exposed her upper torso on a beach in November (hmm… don’t I miss Malta) on a beach mind you that does happen to have a reputation for something akin to being the only (unofficial) nudist beach in Malta.

Where to begin? That we are still discussing topless sunbathing in this country of moral hypocrisy is incredible. That the lady chose a beach to bare her best was incredibly naive of her of course. Why not the local pjazza? For heaven’s sake give us a break. Topless bathing in Gnejna? How could the people in Court have held a straight face? Is it possible that none of them have heard of what amounts to (in Malta) the notoriety of the beach? And what is wrong with the police? This case looks like a footnote to the Paceville Strippers case… remember the judge in that case practically queried whether beaches are safe for the prude eyes (although I still suspect that there was more than a pinch of sarcasm in that statement). What will the faux moralistes make of this?

Will Tonio and his clan start a petition to entrench a ban on topless sunbathing in the constitution? Will they, I wonder, pause to consider that a topless overweight man on a beach with a pair of C cup equivalent male mammaries could also be seen (in some subjective eyes of course) as indecent exposure? And anyway will they amend 338q to say “himself or herself” just in case some overly literal member of the judiciary decides that it just applies to people can be proud of having a John Thomas within reach of their trouser pocket?

On a more serious note. I can see the sensitivities of some people (though not agree with them). Just to give an example I am the kind of person who cannot stand those idiots who decide to strip naked in a changing room at a gym and then proceed to have a 20 minute conversation with their neighbour instead of scooting off to the showers. It’s difficult to explain. I don’t mind the temporary exhibition of the man’s trouser snake if it is a necessary step towards getting into the shower in his birthday suit but I do not see any reason why I should change my gear with his genitalia dangling one metre away at the level of my face (since I am seated and he is standing in case you are asking!). All that to show that even j’accuse can be prone to a bit of prudity every once in a while.

But back to the beaches. I found the prohibition on torsal exhibition discriminatory. I mean they’re breasts for heavens sake.most of us get to suck on them for a while when we are small. True anthropologists have told us that the breast has replaced (or compensated) the attraction to colourful buttocks available to not completely erect primates (and I am not talking about the Darth Vador of the inside leg). But at the end of the day they are not THAT difficult to get used to (j’accuse avoids another smart crack here). Parents wanting to keep children away from the embarassing possibility that they point at another person’s breasts and bring them to the attention of the beach should have the opportunity to do so.

In my usual liberal way of thinking I think that the way forward is not prohibition but rationalisation. Different beaches should be designated as topless or non-topless. In any case it should be a suggestion – let the people do their bit. We do not want to end up having exclusive beaches. What I mean is that you could have a sign which says that “This is a beach where it is preferable to swim with your top on because it has been designated as a family area” (or something of that sort – although I am not happy with the family bit since it implies something ‘adult’ about bare breasts which is not the point anyway – how about Area for Prudes?). Where beaches are large enough it would suffice to havepart of a beach designated as”Possible to Sunbathe Topless Area”.

One final suggestion. If we do get down to doing all this… we should have a little watchtower area over the topless bathing area… just as a complementary offer to the various officers of the law to pause while on their patrols and rest their watchful eyes for a second on the subjectively interpretable beautiful beach views that lie before them.

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One response to “The Law is a Tit

  1. Well said. What a complete waste of manpower this case proved to be! Why is topless sunbathing still such a hot issue in this country of ours? Evidently, people who find a bare-breasted devotchka offensive still abound, but shouldn’t that mentality be on the way out? Unless said person’s endeavouring in a lewd act in public, I can’t see what the problem is.

    A nipple is a nipple is a nipple (because let’s face it, many bikinis only just barely cover the bosom). Men have nipples too… perhaps we should start going round with little elastoplasts taped over them?

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