After my interview with Walter Gray went viral in late August, 2013 and was covered by news medias all over the world, the intent of the video was often lost in translation. I made another video trying to explain it and sent it to the Ellen show but never heard back. Here are the two videos as well as answers to most of the questions that were sent to me. If there’s a legitimate question I haven’t answered please send me a message through the contact page and I’ll answer it.
Why did you act so unprofessionally as a reporter?
Despite the worldwide headlines calling me a reporter and a journalist, I am neither of those. I am a columnist, a talk radio host and I occasionally make funny videos.
In conjunction with my column questioning why it’s socially acceptable for men to go topless and not women, I decided to ask the mayor as to the legality of it as Go Topless Day and Women’s Equality Day approached. Since I don’t like to do my video interviews normal, I asked him questions in my own silly way to add humour while still proving a point.
Why were you so disrespectful to the mayor?
I wasn’t. Prior to sitting down I asked Walter Gray if he would mind if I removed my top after I asked him what would happen if I went topless in Kelowna and he laughed and said that would be fine. I also let him sign off on the video prior to posting it to YouTube. He thought it was funny and thought it made a point about societal gender inequalities in it’s own unique way. I was pleasantly surprised he said yes in the first place since my perception of him was that he was a stuffy, conservative politician.
Why did you pixelate it? Doesn’t this make you a hypocrite?
I had to pixelate it so it would be palatable for mainstream media and YouTube. If I hadn’t, it would have been reported and shut down. On it’s second day on YouTube after it started going viral, it was suspended for two hours, perhaps because it had the word “topless” in the title. Luckily it was re-activated and conversations about the issue of toplessness continued.
This wasn’t an exercise in me wanting to expose my breasts, but rather expose the double standard that exists, even in countries like Canada where it’s legal and just harshly frowned upon. If our society doesn’t want to see the bare chests of women because they’re too sexual or indecent, we should change the laws to reflect that and ban toplessness across the board for both men and women.
Where is the uncensored version?
In a vault.
A woman’s chest is sexual, a man’s is not.
That may be the general misperception in North America and in many other countries, but that is only because we’ve been conditioned to think that. Men’s chests can be sexually and physically stimulating to women as well. Think about the guy with the well developed pecs and chiseled 6-pack who has all the girls looking? Shouldn’t he have to cover up all that sexiness?
Anything can be considered sexually distracting or indecent if we’re told it is and we choose to believe it. During the Renaissance and the 19th century, a woman’s bared legs, ankles and shoulders were considered much more risqué than her exposed breasts.
And then there is the issue of men who have moobs that are bigger than some women’s boobs. Why is it okay for them to bare theirs while a woman feels forced to cover up hers?
Why don’t you stop putting energy into something so trivial and tackle something more important?
Along with many other issues, I think this is important as well. Gender equality will only be reached if we are able to empower women, and shaming them into thinking they’re indecent, unladylike, attention-seeking, slutty and whatever else for simply wanting to exercise their right to go topless wherever a man can go topless is a shameful way to treat women.
I realize not everyone shares my view that a woman should be able to exercise her constitutional right in Canada, and I also understand there are millions of people who believe a decay of society would happen as a result. I do not.
Australia and many countries in Europe where chests are just chests regardless of gender, age or physical esthetics have proved the exact opposite.
I believe North America is headed in that direction, and it’s nothing to fear.
Toplessness has no relevancy to equal rights.
It is very relevant. It’s about women having the same rights men have. In clothing, education, voting, pay, etc.
Why is go topless day important to you?
Because it reminds people that women should have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public. If a woman must cover up, a man should have to as well, and on Go Topless Day, many men wear bikini tops or pasties to cover their nipples as an example of what women must do in our society to be considered acceptable.
I know women who understand they have that equal right in Canada, but they don’t need to be topless because they’re classy and intelligent.
Women should be able to exercise equal rights without being called classless and stupid, or any other derogatory word. If they want to discriminate against women being topless in areas where it’s acceptable for men to be topless, then the rules for men should be re-examined.
If it’s legal to go topless what are you protesting? This video is obviously irrelevant.
It’s not irrelevant if women are still discriminated against when exercising their legal right.
Unfortunately, so many women are afraid of the cultural backlash and stigma that would occur if they fully stepped into all of the equal rights that men already enjoy. We can still be moral, acting with respect, care and protection for one another, without an unequal moral code that condones male toplessness but forbids females from doing the same.
If our constitution says that people should be treated equal, then we should expect that, and act in turn by embracing the equal rights without being shamed.
Was this a publicity stunt?
No, it wasn’t. I’ve produced and written hundreds of videos and columns over the last four and a half years and this style of storytelling is consistent with my humor and presentation style. I have had mayors in previous videos, but had I known all I needed to do was take my top off in front of this one and show my pixilated chest to get world wide attention I would have done so sooner.
You used the Mayor as a cheap way to promote herself.
Cheap? That video cost me good money to film and produce. And the mayor and the city are benefitting from the international exposure this video brought. I should send them a bill 🙂
Were you truly nude or wearing something under the pixelation?
Whether I was truly bare or wearing Janet Jackson pasties or something else, I’ve purposely left a mystery.
The message in the video isn’t intended to be about me. It wasn’t an exercise in me personally wanting to expose my breasts, but rather expose the double standard that exists, even in countries like Canada where it’s legal and just harshly frowned upon. Whether Walter Gray got an eye full of nipple action is beside the point. Or points 😉
Why won’t you just post the unpixelated video? Are you embarrassed of your body?
I quite like my breasts and wouldn’t mind showing them to the world if it was going to be helpful in some way. To make this an ogling spectacle over my breasts would be counterproductive to the message. I’ve had thousands of requests to show them, and I’ve been offered a lot of money several times for the unpixelated version of the video and naked pictures, which makes me believe there may be an opportunity to do some kind of funny, fundraising campaign for a worthy charity. But those are just little thoughts that have sprouted in the back of my brain and we’ll have to see where all of this goes from here. Perhaps I’ve been a little over exposed already??!
Are you a nudist?
No, I’m not. And I don’t care about going topless myself. But, again, this video wasn’t about me. I just want women to have the freedom to go topless wherever a man can go topless without judgment and disgust from others.
By encouraging women to go topless, you are encouraging rape.
On the contrary. In European countries where women’s toplessness is no big deal, they have the lowest rape rates in the world. Men recognize women’s value aside from just how sexy their breasts are.
I think it’s insulting to men to think they can’t control their urges and would just have to touch, attack or rape because they saw a pair of bare breasts. A beautiful smile and the tone of a woman’s voice can result in the erection of a man – yet we’re not wearing masks over our faces and told to stop talking. Our biggest sexual organ is our brain. Perhaps we all just need to get rid of that? 😉
Breasts are sexual. Why are you trying to diminish their sexiness?
North Americans are so obsessed with the sexual aspect of breasts that they forget that breasts actually have an even more important function and that’s feeding our babies. In our culture a nursing mother is still expected to hide her breastfeeding in a private area or under a blanket so as not to upset or offend anyone. Yes, breasts are sexy as well as functional, but that’s not an excuse to hold back rights and freedoms that translate into respect and protection when they’re practiced. A man’s chest can also be very sexually stimulating and distracting. Or earlobes. This video was my humorous way of relaying that belief.
The video accomplished nothing.
The video brought attention to the important issue of gender equality – and not just at a local level like I anticipated, but on a world wide level. It sparked conversations around the globe, and communication is always a good thing. Particularly when the opinions are so polarized and expressed with such passion.
What about children? Do you want them going topless too?
Young children do go topless. And then female children are told they must wear tops to cover their chests even though the boys don’t have to. In countries in Europe a bare chest is a bare chest whatever the age, gender or esthetic. Everyone is treated as equals in this respect.
Do you have any regrets because now you’ll forever be known as the topless reporter who hurt a politician’s reputation?
I’m proud of taking a stand for women’s equality and doing so in my own humorous style. If Walter Gray’s reputation was hurt in the eyes of some, it was certainly helped in the eyes of many more. He has had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. People have been impressed with his gender equality beliefs and appreciate his fun human side they didn’t necessarily know existed.
How are you going to top this? No one’s going to care about you in a couple days.
I’m just going to continue doing what I do: storytelling and discussions through my column, radio show and possibly more videos. And of course there will be people who will care about me. Hopefully all the people who cared about me prior to the video going viral will still care about me.
Are you an extreme feminist? Do you consider yourself the poster child for Go Topless Day?
No. I consider myself a human activist who will always stand up for the equality of all people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, financial status, mental or physical abilities, or esthetics.
Only good looking bodies should be allowed. Going topless should be a privilege, not a right.
Beauty is subjective and irrelevant to the law. Equal rights need to extend to all people not just people based on their appearance. The esthetics of a person should be far less important than who they are as a person.
Go Topless day is a joke. People just go to gawk and take pictures.
Lots of people do that, yes. But it’s okay because the women participating are expecting it and feel confident that people will look and possibly see the reality of the situation. The female form, whatever it looks like, is beautiful and it they are exercising their right to take their tops off like men do, they give people an example of how normal this should be. One day the act of a woman going topless won’t be considered courageous… it will be considered no big deal like it is in other countries.
Why don’t you women stop forcing men to wear big baggy bathing suits? They’re very uncomfortable getting out of the water with all that fabric around our legs.
Men can legally wear a speedo if that’s what they prefer to wear. If they are ridiculed for doing so, they might be able to identify partially with what women go through when they remove their tops and are then judged harshly. Probably no one will call the cops on them, though.
Isn’t this embarrassing to your children?
Not so far. I have taught my children that we shouldn’t feel shameful of our bodies and that the only reason our society makes a big deal out of nudity is because of societal conditioning. They watched the video and thought it was funny and are proud that it got millions of people talking.
You are a shameless self-promoter and your self-aggrandizing is disgusting.
It is completely true that I lack shame about promoting myself. I think most writers, singers, artists and entertainers have to promote themselves or hire someone to promote them in order to enlarge their audience. Anyone who doesn’t care about that must have enough money in the bank to afford them that luxury. Or perhaps they’re that rare individual who wants to create but wants to keep what they create to themselves.
I don’t believe I self-aggrandize though. I think I’m well aware that I’m not any more important than anyone else. I share my life with people, not because I think I’m special, but because I think I’m typical. Getting my work noticed on a global level wasn’t something I felt entitled to. It was what I call a happy accident.
You are pathetic, desperate and attention seeking.
I can’t disagree with that. But aren’t we all to some degree? I think at the end of our lives we all want the same thing: to have loved, and to have been loved. Having some fun and putting some good energy into the world while we’re here is just a bonus.