To Boob or Not to Boob: Social Commentary Cartoon Criticizes Minnesota Laws and Social Norms 

by Frederick Loew

Steve Sack’s cartoon: Police lineup, toplessness edition, provokes much discussion about how we police people’s bodies. Personally, the only thing I feel particularly provoked by is the atrocious show of toes, however, l recognize that it’s very difficult to unlearn cultural norms. In Minnesota, we don’t often see female-presenting people topless outside of a sexual context. In this way, the idea of women with their breasts out in public may be shocking to some. I would like to note, however, that we see male-presenting people do the same on nearly a daily basis. My solution is this: Men in Bras 2021. Truly though, it’s strange that as a society we feel the need to restrict how natural bodies should exist.

This cartoon speaks to more than just the confinement of female nipples, also pointing out that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. The indignant granny present could be upset at a number of things: the fat man in the skimpy speedo, the hairy man with shades, the mostly-clothed breastfeeding mother, or, of course, the topless blonde beachgoer. Maybe she’s simply jealous she doesn’t possess the confidence of these individuals? Ultimately it doesn’t really matter, I believe people shouldn’t have opinions on things that don’t concern them. In the case of policing other people’s bodies, we would definitively be better off disregarding all criticism past that of a medical professional. College degrees are not required to be a cop, med school experience is nearly unheard of.

Although I personally think the common sentiment that police officers have more important responsibilities than categorizing nipples may or may not be factually accurate, I know I would be uncomfortable if an officer told me to cover up. For this reason, (except maybe pertaining to bottoms), the law should never involve a dress code. Editing dress code laws would also significantly reduce the frequency of the word “areola” in legal text.

Ultimately, Steve Sack’s cartoon comments on Minnesota cultural norms in a way that further convinces me we should reevaluate our thoughts and opinions about other people’s bodies.

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