Cover Up

Seattle Officials Reconsider Ban on Topless Breast Cancer Survivors in Swimming Pools


Two takeaways here:

1. How is the parks spokesperson's retort that Jaecks "made it clear she wanted to show her scars as a 'badge of courage' ..." an argument against allowing her to swim topless?

2. I can swim topless in Lake Washington?!
thank you, cienna, for quoting Dr. Dawson. she is my breast surgeon, and, as the kids say, totally awesome. she is the absolute BEST breast surgeon in the whole world, and the go-to doctor if you need breast surgery of any kind.
Yeah, best of luck winning that one, parks dept. Keep up the good fight, Ms. Jaecks.
Dynamite quote from Patricia Dawson sums it all up. And thanks to Jodi Jaecks for her fearlessness.
Since the Seattle Parks spokesperson admitted:

"She made it clear she wanted to show her scars as a 'badge of courage' and wanted to use the pool to spread her message," says parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter.

It makes it clear that absent lewd conduct it is a 2nd amendment free speech rights case. Another public agency being sued for dumbassed behavior by a middle manager.

here it is in a nutshell: "ensuring that people from different cultural backgrounds feel comfortable swimming."

Islam is the answer.

Woman need to wear hijabs remember. Its why they have a hijab swim day at the public pools. ( not a joke, they put up sheets on all the windows. )

Cultural tolerance is a nifty goal, but it should go both ways. If the parks has so much money that they can support a dedicated swim for people who believe exposing the hair of a woman incites rape, they they should be able to accommodate other lawful expressions of belief during regular business hours.
Whether her intent is to shock people or avoid uncomfortable swimwear, it seems pretty clear that the Parks Department is merely enforcing their policy. There is no effort to "politicize women's breasts" on their part.

This article, on the other hand, is clearly politicizing breasts. And with good reason- the Parks department shouldn't have a policy which is so far out of whack with the City, although "behavior that causes a reasonable person affront or alarm" is entirely subjective and essentially meaningless in its open interpretation.
This is frustrating, of course, but we ARE making progress.

This morning I was listening to Norman Lear and Kathleen Turner on the Diane Rehm Show, and somebody mentioned Turner playing Chandler's dad-in-a-dress on a Friends episode (short clip). The jokes around gender identity and what's under the clothes are obviously dated and clumsy, though this was just a few years ago.

It's taking some time to get our heads on straight, but maybe just a few more turns of the wrench will do it. Thanks to Ms. Jaecks .
Um, just a note about that hijab swim day - it's actualy a private party once a month at Meadowbrook pool, though it is paid for by a non-profit that gets a lot of its money from government sources. Okay, just saying.

Kudos to Jaecks for living bravely.
who can i email at the parks dept to complain about this bullshit policy?

do you have an address, cienna?
1) Huge props to this woman.

2) "BLAME ISLAM" zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
So a man with breasts can swim topless, but a woman without breasts can’t. Sexism much?

Since she lacks penis/has vulva, leading to her designation as a woman upon birth, she has to live by a different set of rules.

I support what she’s doing completely. The only thing I think she should have done differently is to not have asked first. I’m a big supporter of “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission”.

Good for you, Ms. Jaecks. Good luck, good fortune, good health.
@9 sorry, its called "women of the world swim" and the advertising for it features women in hijab prominently. Its also pretty easy to infer its subsidized as it gives priority to "highpoint" and "greenpoint" renters, both feature large islamic refugee communities.

@11 I am not blaming islam, I am blaming the parks departments reaction to a cultural group making demands on a public resource, like I said cultural tolerance should go both ways, rather than tripping all over ourselves to keep people from being offended.

I have a personal negative opinion of all secular groups that create an unequal drain on public facilities, and tax dollars in general.

If its legal to be topless outside the pool, why should it matter inside?

Dewey's Boss:
BTW if you send a comment to the parks department please be civil but make a good case for what you believe.
@5 SECOND amendment??? I hope that's a careless mistake, not a stupid threat.

I like guns as much as any mostly sane person, but they have no place in a discussion of this subject.
I want to show off my scars from colon cancer, so I can spread my message. Who's with me!?
Busting with pride and admiration for my friend Jodi.
Ok I'm a dumbass I meant 1st amendment
Her swimming topless is much less offensive than creepy dudes in speedos.
Ms. Jaecks is both courageous and beautiful. I do hope she prevails.
Women should be allowed to swim topless. Until then, however, I don't see how she's exempt from the pool rules. Bathing suit rules are prudish, yes, but not "stupid and misguided".
Way to go Jodi! I've been with you ever since you first told me your story. Stay beautiful and brave, we all benefit from it!
I wish I had known public toplessness was legal at last year's Hemp Fest! It was so hot out and I just wanted to diiiiiiie!
This woman is amazing, as is the stupidity of Dewey Potter.
I think that a woman should be allowed to be topless anywhere a man is.

There's actually an activist group dedicated to this topic:
You know what else makes families uncomfortable?

Missing limbs. Missing ears. Scar tissue of any large amount.

Those folks aren't made to cover up the bits that make families uncomfortable.

We are weird about breasts in our country. Fine.

But to cover the area where breasts USED to be?

That is just odd.
Nothing to cover up equals no cover. Let her swim.
let's be grateful she didn't have hemorrhoid surgery.....
Hey @25 and @14, cool it re. Dewey Potter--she's just the Parks Dept spokesperson saying what her bosses told her to say. That said, hopefully the controversy will lead to the end of this dumb policy, which I think would wither if attacked in court.

Good update for THIS case... but what about others? .....

Woman should be allowed to swim topless no matter what. And this is coming from a gay man.

HEY USA! (in this case, Seattle Parks) ...get over your damn fear of everything + grow the efff up
Having a women with double mastectomies swimming without a top isn’t going to upset a family friendly environment at City of Seattle pools, what is a bigger problem is rambunctious teens playing around during family and general swim, if families have small children in the pool..

Much like in the locker rooms which I have changed thousand of times for workouts at Seattle pools, one isn’t checking out other people naked, as much as it is a changing area, to put on a speedo, or to shower off, one becomes oblivious of being around naked bodies, (or for me naked male bodies)

I think it is fine and far from a nuisance in what Ms. Jaecks wants to swim without a top. I think I would actually encourage it, to help other breast cancer survivors. I am swimming in my skimpy speedos, but I don’t go to the pools so I can wear speedos, as much as to workout.
"Where are you taking this....thing?"
@13, re: "I have a personal negative opinion of all secular groups that create an unequal drain on public facilities, and tax dollars in general." Do you mean sectarian? Secular means having nothing to do with religion. Also...if a private group (sectarian or secular) rents the facility, aren't they actually contributing financially to the facility by paying rental fees, as opposed to creating a drain?
Women should be forced to swim topless. I'm just sayin'.
brave lady, ridiculous that this is even a topic
You can be a breast cancer survivor, showing courage while keeping your clothes on. Yes, I imagine the post mastectomy suits are heavy, she could still wear a top. Like a light weight exercise tank top. The comfort of others is also important.
You can be courageous breast cancer survivor, and still keep your clothes on. I do imagine the post mastectomy swimsuits are heavy. No one said she had to opt for one of those. Why not wear a light weight exercise tank top? That surely would weigh no more than a regular top. Certainly, she does not walk around all day every day nude from the waste up.
@27, I agree. Her surgeon did a nice job - I have more grisly-looking scars on my knee, ankle, & hip. I've never been asked to cover those up.
@41 Why do you care? Do you expect the same for men who work out topless? What's the problem?
I don't understand the issue .....the wet swimsuit hurt nerve endings? yet the cool water touching directly on the skin surface (without a cover) did not hurt the nerve endings?

I hate to say this but this is a lot of attention grabbing behavior..."the scars are a badge of courage" .....give me a break!!!.....

I have over 6 feet of scars including foot and half long scar along my chest..... all as a result of my legs and pelvis crushed in a car right foot was severed as well. I swim with a full sized Speedo at all times. The only aches and pains I suffer is when I don't get to the pool to do my swimming and physical therapy.

I know several male and female swimmers who have had open heart surgery and double mastectomies and all of them wear their swimsuits. ......I feel sorry for the employees of the pool, incidents like these put them in a bad light or as villinas....when, I am sure, they daily go out of their way to help the disabled swimmers who use that pool. this situation is much ado about nothing.
I don't have any problem with this. I am far, far more offended by the gigantic lard asses at the public pools than a bare chested woman (with or without tits).
@44 I'm thrilled for you that you didn't experience any nerve damage from your surgeries but just because you didn't doesn't mean that others have the same experience. The weight of water is definitely a different experience than that of a full sized speedo, you should feel the difference yourself sometime.
I can't believe I didn't know it was legal for me to topless swim/sunbathe. I feel like I've been missing out for all these years.

I love it. Texas is more liberal than Seattle. BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
Go Jodi! You do it for all of us. Be well and live a long, wonderful life!
This is silly. Of course she COULD wear a top, but if she doesn't have to, why on earth would she? She no longer has the parts that are supposed to be covered.

People have the right to feel offended by whatever they choose, but that does not obligate the rest of us to go out of our way to shield their delicate sensibilities.
National coverage!! Well done on the reporting, Cienna, and cheers to Jodi for baring the truth and reality of life after breast cancer. Much love and healing to you!…

National coverage, woot! Well done on the reporting, Cienna, and cheers to Jodi for baring the reality of adjusting to life after cancer. Much love and healing to you!…

Also - breast cancer survivors seeking post-cancer products (prosthesis/mastectomy bras/etc) should visit Mary Catherine's in Northgate. They specialize in breast cancer care, and provide unparalleled service and unconditional love for their clients. They are extremely knowledgeable on the different products available to you, and all staff are Certified fitters. They handle all insurance billing for you, as well as correspondence with your doctors and medical team. Your well-being is their top priority. Check 'em out!
I know I would feel uncomfortable at first if I was in the same pool with her, or in the locker room. However, I expect I would catch myself staring, look away abruptly in that way people do, and get used to it.

About swims for Muslims -- there is (or at least a few months ago there still was) a Saturday swim, late in the afternoon, at Medgar Evers Pool. I was told by a guard that they rent the pool, not that the pool itself schedules it.

I've never been to a gym that allows a man to workout topless. I would imagine boxing/MMA style gyms would, but no "family" gyms.

By the way, this rule is REALLY fucking stupid.

@ wl: "It makes it clear that absent lewd conduct it is a 2nd amendment free speech rights case."

First of all you're probably referring to the 1st amendment. Secondly, the 1st amendment was drafted to cover political and expressive speech. It's not a catch-all for any behavior that anyone wants to engage in.
Liberals are silly.
Nobody has an absolute right to "not feel uncomfortable" from time to time. That comes with living in society. Trying to drive out or hide anything that makes you "feel uncomfortable" is self-centered and immature. Instead, you should examine that uncomfortable feeling and DEAL WITH IT.
Ok....Just cover up, please...Just because you can fight a battle doesn't mean you should. I really don't want to see that and I'm a woman. My goodness, PUT A TOP ON.
So a flat chested female gets a free pass to swim topless? Stupid.
Yesterday I heard this joke that'l really knock your tits off....

Sorry, guess you already heard it.
Good for her!!I feel the same way.My chest looks just like hers...and after months of chemo,2 operations I am lucky to be here. This is my second time with cancer. Clothes do not fit the same and I can not and would not have implants.The cost of *special* made tops insurance or not is too much.And as my Dr. said for my second operation,I am fixing your CHEST you no longer have breasts. So for my fellow SISTER IN PINK you go girl! God Bless
I've got a story that'll make her laugh her tits off!

...oh, I see she's already heard it...
@57: I don't want to see heavy guys sporting moobs and big beer bellies...can we make them cover up? Or is it just stuff you personally find unsightly?
Serious comment: I have a belly and not a great body. I don't go in public without a shirt because others don't want to see this shit. Regardless of my own comfort, I keep it covered. Why can't she? How about a sports bra instead of prosthetics?
@63: You missed the part about the pressure of the fabric on her skin being uncomfortable because of nerve damage. Stuff not designed for swimming in will probably be worse, not better, because it tends to absorb water and cling. I'm guessing from your comment you've probably worn a tee shirt into a pool, so you're probably familiar with the way wet fabric can chafe.
I think that she's a brave lady. Having a double mastectomy is traumatic at best and most women just want to hide away afterwards. Someone close to me had that done and it saved her life. I'm glad to have her in my life still.
I am an Amputee and am now without most of my right leg. When I go to a public pool or park where there is swimming I wear regular swim trunks. But I see people looking at my stump like I'm hanging my private parts out for all to see. (I'm not) I see the revulsion on their faces and have actually had people ask me to cover myself.
To them I say it's not me, it's you. You have a problem and I don't. This is my body after the bone tumor and you should just adapt.
I'm waiting for Arthur Ziffarelli to show up and blame this whole problem on malt liquor and cocaine.

Seriously, though, this policy needs to bge scrapped and I support Jody Jaecks and all others who are challenging it.
If people think a topless wounded person is shocking, they should try being infused with a poison so toxic it is a derivative of Mustard Gas. And then live a long time if you are lucky, with the side effects.
Now that's shocking and something to be discussing.

These people who have no idea that wearing ANYTHING on top is a bow to society ,because everything hurts or is uncomfortable enough to ruin your fun, need to get a life. An empathetic one while they are at it.

As far as society getting used to our scars,how is this different from not giving a burn victim a hard time, or a person who had had amputation/s? If more people saw the results, more people would have at least a small bit of understanding that they are looking at a warrior for one thing. And awareness  would increase. Far more effective then a "run" probably. Funding could increase.  I'm incensed it's ok to for example: have boobs where none were meant to be, (fat guy), but not ok to be wounded and scarred from having yours amputated in order to survive. No wonder there isn't enough funding for progress/ cure. All the victims are hiding !  People don't realize how many of us there are.
This was truly a great article about a heinous double standard and the perceived problem with "breasts" in our country. It is a little ridiculous. I'm glad that the system is being challenged and changing.