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Women Stopped for Riding Topless in Canadian Province

Three sisters were asked to to replace their tops in an area where it's legal for women to go topless

Image: Tameera Mohamed

Three sisters are planning to file a formal complaint after they claim a police officer stopped them for cycling topless in a Canadian Province.

It has been legal for women to expose their breasts in Ontario since protests broke out in 1991.

However, when Tameera, Nadia and Alysha Mohamed removed their tops when riding in Kitchener, Ontario, on a hot Friday, they say they were stopped by an officer.

According to reports, the police officer asked them to replace their shirts, and Tameera Mohamed replied: “It’s our legal right in Ontario to be topless as women.”

Tameera Mohamed says that the police officer only began to backtrack when her sister Alysha began to record him on her smartphone.

Staff Sargent Michael Haffner has said: “We’re doing an internal review on the situation. It is a current law that if a female chooses to go topless, that is their right.”

The women plan to file a formal complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

Nadia Mohamed told reporters: “When men take off their tops in public, it’s clearly because it’s a hot day and clearly it’s for their comfort. Women should be given the same freedom. Even though legally we have that right, socially we clearly don’t.”

This Saturday the women will hold a rally to support the desexualisation of women’s bodies.

We’ve looked at the sexualisation of women’s bodies before, particularly when the Columbian women’s cycling kit turned into a media circus simply because in some lights the gold on their skinsuits looked flesh coloured.

The idea that women’s bodies cannot be displayed without being in some way sexual is also being attacked with the use of the popular and semi-humorous social tag – #LiveTweetYourPeriod.

#LiveTweetYourPeriod: Liberation or Too Much Information?

The tag came about after an artist uploaded a picture of a woman in a blood stained nightdress on Instagram and it was removed for being “offensive”.

As Jenna Wortham so neatly explained in the New York Times: “[The hashtag seems to be] a micro protest against a modern paradox. Social media is saturated with images of hypersexualized women, but these are rarely considered as scandalous as content that dares to reveal how a woman’s body actually functions.”

What do you think – who shouldn’t women be able to go about their daily business topless, when it’s perfectly acceptable for men to do so? And would you ride a bike uncovered?

Featured image:  SEBASTIAN CASTAÑEDA/AFP/Getty Images

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