Why is it unacceptable for a woman to take off her top in public?

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I was kind of overwhelmed by the response to Actually I’m A Boy – that image went viral on Facebook and I was stunned to see how the issue of gender clearly resonates with so many of us.

I made a hashtag on Instagram: #genderdivideisridiculous – if you have any images that highlight how strange and pointless our gender rules are, please post them on there with that tag – I would love them for inspiration!

Anyway, this is my next painting in the series. Who says a girl can’t take off her top once she has breasts, but a boy can? Are we really so different? This is a ‘rule’ that drives me insane.

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When I was in my late teens, my friend (a man) was working in the garden, weeding, when I went out to mow the lawn. It was hot. He took off his top, and worked with the breeze cooling his chest. Me, stuff it, I thought, and took off mine too. I don’t wear a bra so there was absolutely nothing. I was in my own back yard. But after a while I noticed the man next door, staring at me through the window. Do I really have to be perved at, just for mowing in my natural state? It made me feel really uncomfortable. Eventually, reluctantly, I put my top back on. And I haven’t repeated the experiment. But every time I see a guy on a hot day with his top off, I feel resentful and annoyed. That’s what this painting is about.

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