The Associated Press reports that the bill, which is headed to a floor vote, would change the state’s definition of “private parts” to include “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast.” The bill stipulates that the punishment a woman receives if she exposes her breasts depends on why the woman did so. “Depending on whether such exposure is judged to be ‘for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire,’ the woman could be charged with a felony, punishable by up to six months in prison for first-time offenders. More mundane exposure would be a misdemeanor meriting up to 30 days in jail,” the AP reports.
The co-sponsor of the bill, Rayne Brown, says the move was sparked by complaints from constituents over topless protests in Asheville for women’s equality. While many cities in the state already have ordinances banning topless women, Asheville does not.
“So, Rep. Brown is so disturbed by equality that she's trying to push legislation to shut women up? Come on, it's ASHEVILLE! If you take nudity away from them, what will those awesome hippies have left?” commented Jezebel writer Laura Beck.
The AP reports that the House Judiciary Committee in North Carolina “voted to recommend the bill to the House floor...The measure would still need approval from the Republican-controlled N.C. Senate before heading to the governor's desk.”