Artist Seeks Transparency on Rules on Partial Nudity ({{commentsTotal}})

Fideelia-Signe Roots
Fideelia-Signe Roots Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

A woman recently arrested for walking topless in a town in northern Estonia has contacted the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner to draw attention to what she says is a grey area.

Artist Fideelia-Signe Roots wrote this week to the official, Mari-Liis Sepper, telling that she wants to bring about real as opposed to theoretical gender equality.

"I want it written specifically in the rules governing public order whether being topless is or is not an infraction and whether it only applies to women or men as well," said Roots.

Roots said if such a statute only applied to women, it would be against the Gender Equality Act.

"As it is, I'm confused: my behavior was considered a breach of public order, but the law that I violated is non-existent," she said. "My question, why was the police called and why did they act as if I were a criminal?"

Roots's stunt was part of an action she designed namely to draw attention to this grey area at the time of her arrest.

It worked. As it happened, she was more than halfway into a 150-odd-kilometer walk from Tartu to Karepa when the incident - or non-incident, as Roots would have it - on August 10 was phoned in to the police by good citizen Indrek Kesküla, elder of Väike-Maarja municipality, among others.

The police decided not to press the case, but documented the incident as a breach of order.

Roots considered unraveling the legal threads of that seeming contradiction, but after consulting a lawyer, decided to take the case to Sepper. She is seeking an official position from Sepper, which is expected to take at least several weeks

Kristopher Rikken.

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