Liberals applaud the new contract designed to protect women on campus from rapacious men by insisting on consenting signatures for every step of the mating dance. They applaud the trigger warnings that have been implemented in our educational institutions to warn the young and innocent that politically incorrect words may appear in some of our greatest works of literature and traumatize them. Yet when it comes to thrusting the young into the midst of topless hustlers in a part of town that abounds in stores and entertainment designed specifically to attract children, liberals are strangely blasé. In the SundayTimes lead editorial of Aug 22nd, the writer opines: “….being shirtless in the city is perfectly legal….the people who flock around the painted women in Times Square do not seem terribly offended. And those who are can walk away.” Columnist Michael Kimmelman labels the mayor’s statement that he finds this exhibitionistic hustle inappropriate for one of the busiest squares in NY as “prudish grandstanding.” And, in an interesting twist reversing the emphasis of who is being victimized, Ginia Bellafante informs us that the painted ladies of Times Square are part of an old NY tradition: “The people soliciting there with their clothes off…are mostly immigrants. Many speak little English….The women didn’t fear getting kicked out of Times Square necessarily: they feared getting deported.”
Throughout the city, we have zoning laws designed to separate school and play areas from the seamier places set aside for adults. There are no bars or strip clubs in the proximity of school children and playgrounds in city parks are locked at night to discourage adult activities from taking place there. Similarly, movies are rated to allow and encourage parents to choose material that is suitable for minors; the trailers that accompany these films are also selected with that criterion in mind. Using the Spanish word “desnudas” to describe the topless women of Times Square does not make them a bi-lingual educational experience for children, nor does their immigrant status change the issue of why they’re allowed to ply their nudity for profit on the sidewalk instead of in a topless bar.
People bring their children to Times Square to visit Mme Tussaud, Broadway theaters, a huge toy store and cartoon characters circulating in the plaza. The naked cowboy and the topless women have managed to subvert the intended gentrification of what is now a pedestrian street. 42nd Street used to be neighborhood for theaters showing porn, for sleazy parlors where you paid to watch nude women gyrate through a glass window and undoubtedly, for many other sexual activities for which money is extracted. Now it’s all out in the open, pretending to be just clean fun. Where is the voice of liberal feminists who railed so strongly against the dangers of a skinny doll with big hair and unrealistic measurements as a role model for young girls? Will the Times, which has spent the past few months proselytizing us to mainstream transgenders into “just plain folks”, succeed in its cynical discarding of community values by promoting the rights of “desnudas of Times Square?”
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