AskDefine | Define topless

Dictionary Definition

topless adj
1 having no top; "a topless jar" [ant: topped]
2 having the breasts uncovered or featuring such nudity; "topless waitresses"; "a topless cabaret" [syn: bare-breasted, braless]

User Contributed Dictionary




topless (no comparative or superlative)
  1. lacking a top
  2. In the context of "especially|of a woman": Not wearing a garment covering the top half of the body; naked from the waist up.
    • The council voted to allow topless swimmers on the beach.
  3. Involving women that are naked from the waist up, often strippers or dancers.
    • Only her closest friends knew that Jenny was working at a topless bar to help with college expenses.
    • Fred didn't tell his wife that the convention had involved a fair amount of topless entertainment.
  4. a convertible car having the top retracted or otherwise open



Extensive Definition

''This article deals only with female toplessness. For male toplessness, see barechestedness.
Toplessness refers to the state of partial female nudity in which a woman or postpubescent girl has her breasts uncovered, with her areolae and nipples visible. The adjective topless can refer to a woman who appears, poses, or performs with her breasts so exposed (a "topless model"); to an activity or performance that involves exposing the breasts (a "topless dance"); to a graphic, photographic, or film depiction of a woman with her breasts uncovered (a "topless portrait"); to a place where female toplessness is tolerated or expected (a "topless beach"); or to a garment designed to reveal the breasts (a "topless swimsuit").
Many indigenous, non-Western cultures, such as those found in parts of Africa and the South Pacific, consider it culturally normative for both males and females to go without clothing on their torsos. Because "toplessness" can imply sexual licentiousness or deliberate defiance of cultural taboos, the term should not be applied to women in societies where breast exposure is the norm. Nudists may also object to the risqué connotations of the term "topless" and may prefer the adjective "topfree."

Cultural and legal issues in the Western world

While it is fashionable and culturally acceptable for women in Western cultures to display cleavage, particularly when wearing swimsuits or dressing for social occasions, concealment of the lower portion of the breasts, including the nipples and areolae, is a sociocultural norm of postpubescent female modesty in the Western world. Additionally, in the interest of public morality, a few Western juristictions have enacted legal statutes that define the act of publicly displaying the female breast as indecent exposure. The topfree equality movement opposes such legislation, arguing that since men may expose their anatomically analogous chests and nipples with impunity, prohibiting female toplessness constitutes a form of sexual discrimination.
Heated debates have taken place on the issue of public breast exposure, particularly when nursing mothers have been prosecuted for breastfeeding their babies in public. In response to campaigns promoting the health benefits of breast milk, many jurisdictions now permit public breastfeeding while retaining indecent exposure laws, essentially differentiating the lactational from the sexual functions of the female breast.
Western prohibitions on breast exposure are generally relaxed in appropriate gender-segregated areas such as women's locker rooms, changing rooms, or communal showers, or in specific zones such as beaches or saunas where public female toplessness is deemed acceptable (see below). However, in response to sociocultural, religious, and legal norms, women will conceal their breasts at other times. As such, public toplessness in the Western world is mostly confined to sunbathing and occasional acts of exhibitionism.

Zones permitting toplessness

Either through legal statute or through established precedent, many societies exempt some zones from prohibitions on female toplessness. A notable example is the topless beach (which may also be called a top-optional beach to clarify that topless sunbathing is a woman's free choice or topfree beach to disassociate topless sunbathing from sexual connotation). Found in many liberal parts of the world, topless beaches are especially common in Europe and Australia, where they are mostly uncontroversial. A mid-1990s survey found that 88% of Australian university students (of both genders) considered it socially acceptable for women to go topless on public beaches, although the majority disapproved of female toplessness in other contexts (Herold, Corbesi, & Collins, 1994; 1995). A topless beach differs from a nude beach or naturist beach in that beachgoers of both sexes will keep their genitalia strictly covered. Women who sunbathe topless generally do not consider themselves as nudists.
Other zones where female toplessness is tolerated or expected may include the Finnish sauna and carnivals such as New Orleans Mardi Gras, where it has become customary in recent years for women to expose their breasts in exchange for strings of beads.

Entertainment and media

Specific adult-only venues often employ women to perform topless as a form of commercial erotic entertainment; these can range from downmarket strip clubs to upmarket cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge. In many Western cultures, female toplessness is also regularly featured in magazines, calendars, film, television, and other media.
In the United Kingdom, following a tradition established by The Sun in 1970, several mainstream tabloid newspapers feature topless female models on their third page, known as Page Three girls. The tradition has sometimes caused controversy, as when feminist Member of Parliament Clare Short campaigned vigorously but unsuccessfully to have Page Three girls banned, but is generally accepted as inoffensive and even amusing.


topless in Danish: Topløs
topless in German: Oben ohne
topless in Spanish: Topless
topless in French: Seins nus
topless in Italian: Topless
topless in Dutch: Topless
topless in Japanese: 上半身の性の問題
topless in Polish: Topless
topless in Portuguese: Topless
topless in Russian: Топлес
topless in Simple English: Toplessness
topless in Finnish: Yläosattomuus
topless in Swedish: Topless
topless in Vietnamese: Cởi trần

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Olympian, aerial, airy, altitudinous, ascending, aspiring, bare-ankled, bare-armed, bare-backed, bare-breasted, bare-chested, bare-handed, bare-headed, bare-legged, bare-necked, clothesless, colossal, crownless, decollete, disrobed, dominating, elevated, eminent, en deshabille, ethereal, exalted, garbless, garmentless, half-clothed, haughty, headless, high, high-pitched, high-reaching, high-set, high-up, in dishabille, lofty, low-cut, monumental, mounting, nudish, outtopping, overlooking, overtopping, prominent, raimentless, skyscraping, soaring, spiring, steep, strapless, sublime, superlative, supernal, toplofty, topping, towering, towery, unattired, uncased, unclad, unclothed, undraped, undressed, ungarbed, ungarmented, unrobed, uplifted, upreared
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