New Hampshire

Misdemeanor Nipple Exposure and Misogyny in New Hampshire Politics

A young female lawmaker speaks out against making toplessness a crime and gets harassed by male colleagues on Facebook.

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Free the Nipple/Facebook

A proposed law in New Hampshire would charge women with a misdemeanor for exposing their nipples in public, with an exemption for the act of breastfeeding. Toplessness is currently legal for both women and men under New Hamphire state law, although some local ordinances forbid it. 

When state Rep. Amanda Bouldin (D) learned of the proposal, she posted a link to it on her (non-work) Facebook page with the comment: "YES, all the sponsors are men. And Republicans. So much for 'smaller government'… ." She followed up with a comment suggesting her colleagues "should scrap it entirely," but "if you're not willing to do that, the very least you could do is to protect a mother's right to FEED her child."  

Here's how her colleague, bill co-sponsor Rep. Josh Moore, responded: 

Rep. Al Badasaro—who refers to himself as a "Liberty Conservative family values guy"—also joined in: 

Baldasaro followed up by declaring "it will be a cold day in hell that I let you turn our beach's into a nudity perverts land of OZ." Moore subsequently deleted his first comment, but not before Bouldin had a chance to screenshot it. 

"Being a female state rep doesn't always come with these challenges, but when stuff like this happens, I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on it," says Bouldin, who moved to New Hampshire from Texas in 2009 as part of the Free State Project and was elected to the House in 2014. "In 2016, the level of public discourse between elected officials should have a higher standard."

Rep. Moore's bill would update the state's indecent exposure and lewdness statute to include "a woman [who] purposely exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act."