Bare-chested refers to the state in which a man or boy is not wearing any clothes above the
waist, usually in a public place, exposing the torso and arms. It is also known as "stripped to the waist", or "being shirtless". A bare-chested woman or girl is usually referred to as toplessor, less frequently, as topfree.
Throughout history, many men, especially labourers such as
farmers and miners, have worked bare-chested. This still is particularly normal in warmer climates, with the exception of very hot climates where protection from sunlight becomes more important than ventilation. But various times and places have been more strict and uneasy about the practice.During the Victorian period, polite Western society deplored nudity of any degree, even bare-chestedness, and people took great pains to cover themselves up. In many societies so affected, attitudes began to relax in the 20th century. Going bare-chested in public was again acceptable. At first, the rules relaxed only for men on beaches and at swimming pools — in New York City, a man could be fined for removing his shirt in Central Parkas late as 1960 — but permissiveness gradually grew and crossed gender lines. Most recently, it has become quite common for women on beaches in Europeand the Caribbeanto go topless, though it is by no means universal. It is still unusual on most beaches in North America. In Europe and North America, people who take offense at bare-chested men remain, and some businesses refuse to serve bare-chested people, having policies of "no shirt, no shoes, no service". Still circumstances vary: in countries with a beach-oriented lifestyle, such as Greece, any seaside business will gladly cater to a customer in the skimpiest of swimwear. In relatively permissive Western societies, posing shirtless (or, the suggestive variation, with open shirt) is generally regarded as an acceptable display of the male physique, generically known as beefcake.
South Asia, men traditionally wear a loincloth-type garment, often bare-chested. In some parts of Asia, bare-chestedness in either men or women is generally disapproved of, and may be highly offensive, even at the beach. In many of these regions, most adults still swim almost fully clothed. Some countries, such as Thailand, though they disapprove of women being topless in public, condone it in order to keep attracting European tourists.Fact|date=August 2007 In 2004, a British man carrying packs of ecstasy pills in his trousers was arrested in Thailand, but charged for not wearing a shirt. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3444565.stm Thais stop topless drug smuggler] - BBC News] In Muslimcountries, women are encouraged (or required, as in the case of Saudi Arabia) to cover nearly all of the body for religious reasons.
Some American communities have laws against men being bare chested in public. [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jygs3LCnW5biOyjwX2zJFsvWyRXgD939FEO80]
In informal sporting matches, such as a game of football or soccer in the park or playing cricket on the beach, players will often be ill equipped regarding separate shirts or bibs for the two teams. In these situations, a common option, at least for male teams (e.g. in
soccerand basketball), is to play " Shirts and Skins": one team goes bare chest and are hence said to be 'Skins', whereas for reasons of identification the other team keep their tops on and are called 'Shirts'. Men are also seen bare chested when running or jogging.
In some sports, the male standard-attire is bare-chested, especially in most aquatic disciplines such as
swimming, diving, surfingor water polo, and in the beach version of other sports, such as beach volleyball, and various activities in or on the water, as swimwearis generally appropriate.
Many boys and men go bare-chested when doing yard work or when they are outside, e.g. cutting the lawn. The motivations for doing so are usually comfort-related, most commonly to facilitate loss of body heat in warm weather. Also, some may wish to get a suntan or showcase their bodies. This is not as common in America as in years past likely because of skin cancer concerns and changing attitudes.
Many men prefer to sleep without wearing a shirt. Weather conditions, personal preference and family tradition will usually determine if a boy or man wears a shirt to sleep, but most American males between the ages of 16 and 55 sleep shirtless. [http://www.cottoninc.com/lsmarticles/?articleID=382]
Sociology of clothing.
* Topless (females).
Naturism, including nudism.
* [http://www.shirtlessmenworld.net/ Shirtless Men World] A site about bare chested men, with article on why to go bare chested, where to do it, and famous people who do it.
* [http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/shirtless_lifestyle/ Shirtless Lifestyle] This group provides a forum in which members can discuss the shirt-free lifestyle, assist others in gaining the confidence they need to lose the shirt, and exchange stories of their shirtless experiences.
* [http://www.tera.ca Topfree Equal Rights Association]
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