More French women are avoiding nude beaches in fear

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Women of France are slipping into something a little less comfortable on the country’s famed nude beaches.

Just 19% of breasted sunbathers in the country now say they feel comfortable removing their tops at the beach. Compare that with 2009, when 34% said they do, or in 1984 with 40%.

Around half of the respondents cited concerns that perverts would attack, harass or otherwise violate them while topless, reported Le Parisien.

French pollster Ifop conducted the survey in conjunction with “World Topless Day” on Thursday, which includes responses from over 5,000 Europeans, including 1,000 French women.

For 48% of French ladies, physical safety was the primary concern; 46% also said they feared photos of their bare chests might end up on social media.

Women are also exhibiting a healthy fear of skin cancer as 53% said they opt to cover up to avoid unnecessary sun damage.

Despite the country’s reputation as a haven of nude beaches, only about one in five French women say they’ll sunbathe topless, according to a new poll.
AP

The French are notorious for their unrepressed sexuality as long depicted in the media and reflected in pop culture. In step with the women’s liberation movement seen across the US and Europe, topless sunbathing was popularized in the country in the 1960s as a response to the double standard — arguing that women had a right to sunbathe their bodies just like men.

As French starlets such as Brigitte Bardot were happily photographed (with consent) on the shores of Cote d’Azur, conservative establishments, including the Vatican, denounced the act of going topless in public.

sunbather
The topless tanning trend is waning faster in France than in other European countries, such as Spain where half of all women feel comfortable with the practice.
Moment Editorial/Getty Images

So, naturally, French youth became even more attracted to the indiscretion.

Lawmakers attempted to draw a hard tan line on the issue when a proposal to ban nudity at beaches was introduced in the 1970s. Upon the bill’s landmark defeat, topless sunbathing became a point of pride for the French progressive zeitgeist — a movement that appears to be evolving with the age of consent.

While the new survey suggests that times have changed for the French, that is a trend seen less so in other countries. Nearly half of Spanish respondents said they still sunbathe topless, and 34% of Germans said the same.

Despite the apparently waning tradition, some French called it a “threat to our culture” last year when three beachgoers in Montpellier were ordered to put their tops back on — after a nearby family on their vacation complained.

Said Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister at the time of the incident, “It was wrong that the women were warned about their clothing. Freedom is something precious.”

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