Topless Protester Sues Daytona Beach

     ORLANDO (CN) – The City of Daytona Beach unconstitutionally arrested a woman repeatedly for baring her breasts at places where it does not arrest men for doing that, Elizabeth Book claims in Federal Court. Book says she does not expose her breasts for commercial gain, as a professional, or as an entertainer. She bares her breasts “in a non-commercial context.”
     Book claims Daytona Beach unconstitutionally arrests women, and has arrested her, for baring her breasts, on public places such as the beach, and on private property such as her yard, but does not arrest men for that.
     In 2006, the 7th Circuit upheld a Volusia County judge’s opinion that book had the right to protest topless on Daytona Beach’s Main Street Bridge. That ruling came after Book was arrested in 2004, and fined $253. She was arrested again in 2005, in a topless protest in front of Greek-style statues, which also bared their breasts.
     Daytona Beach’s ordinance permits women to bare their breasts only if they are breast feeding. Book says the ordinance classifies women’s breasts as a sex organ, which is ridiculous.
     “Scientific studies show that because of having to cover their breasts I places and at times when men do not have to cover their breasts, women are uncomfortably aware that their body is being objectified in a way harmful to themselves and to other women, girls, boys, and men, contributing to the pervasive problems of sexual assault, domestic violence, and sexual harassment,” the complaint states.
     “Scientific studies show that by baring their breasts in a non-commercial context, Ms. Book and other women can exercise more control over themselves regarding economic and other societal interests, and not feel so compelled to submit to unsafe surgical procedures to alter the shape and size of their breasts in conformance with arbitrary and mythical standards.”
     She wants the law declared unconstitutional and the city enjoined from arresting her for baring her breasts in a situation in which it would not arrest a man for doing that. She is represented by Mark Tietig of Merritt Island, Fla.

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