The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 24, 2012

Ojanpa: In-the-buff ban gets it right


The supervisors who opposed the ban weighed in by saying that allowing public nudity is a sign of progressive governance. I suppose that’s true, if one’s idea of progressiveness is to sanction the undress code of Stone Age people.

And this from a guy named Stardust, who said the legislation sends the wrong message because “it’s telling people they should be ashamed to be naked, and that’s totally wrong.”

Memo to Stardust: If you want to be taken seriously, your first order of business is to stop calling yourself Stardust.

Other people argued that banning public nudity is a restriction of personal freedom of expression.

To be clear: Brandishing purple hair is personal expression; brandishing pubic hair is not.   

Though the new ordinance prohibits public nudity for anyone over 5, it does stipulate that naked breasts for any age or sex are still OK.

Which reminds this guy of an incident in Mankato circa 1985, when two young women failed miserably to bring a little bit of San Francisco to town.

The guy looked out the front window of his house one day and saw the pair playing Frisbee in the downtown-area Washington Park. Topless Frisbee.

They flung that disc around for 10, 15 minutes as people walked by the park and cars drove past, including a police car that didn’t break stride.

All were oblivious to what was going on, including an older guy walking through the park who strolled right between the two women and was only concerned about not getting hit by the Frisbee.

I learned later from a co-worker acquainted with the women that they had staged their little act to publicize their quest: That women be granted the same topless-in-public rights as men.

But alas, their waist-up nakedness couldn’t even get them noticed, let alone arrested. What a crushing ego blow that must have been.


Brian Ojanpa is a Free Press staff writer. Call him at 344-6316 or email


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