Women are now free to "free the nipple" in Fort Collins, Colo. A federal judge blocked a city ordinance banning women from showing their breasts in public Wednesday because it discriminates against women. City officials say the law put in place in 2015—excepting women who breastfeed—protects children, while an assistant police chief testified that bare female breasts would cause traffic accidents. But US District Judge R. Brooke Jackson wasn't buying those arguments. As a breast is one of the first things a child sees, "children do not need to be protected from [it] … but from the negative societal norms, expectations, and stereotypes associated with it," he wrote in granting a preliminary injunction, reports the Denver Post.
The law "perpetuates a stereotype ingrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not," Jackson continued, referencing testimony from a psychologist suggesting the sexualization of female breasts leads to higher rates of sexual assault. A final decision is needed in the case, but Fort Collins officials say they'll stop ticketing topless women for now, reports the Coloradoan. That's led members of the Free the Nipple campaign who fought the ordinance to call Wednesday's ruling a "historic victory" and "a huge relief," though they recognize it simply gives women the same right men have always had. Under the ordinance, women faced 180 days in jail or $2,650 in fines for exposing their breasts.