Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Is it legal to wear nothing but body paint?

The clothing retailer American Eagle posted an advertisement for spray-on jeans on its website last week, calling the product "our skinniest jeans ever." The ad appears to be a prank, but painting models is now old hat. Is it legal to appear in public wearing nothing but body paint?

It's a gray area. Most antinudity laws are silent on body paint, leaving police to make judgment calls. A decade ago, body painters were arrested with some regularity. In 2000, for example, a Chicago woman who painted herself to resemble a tiger in protest of a circus was arrested for public indecency, even though she was also wearing panties and pasties. But as early as 1995, Entertainment Tonight aired an interview with a model wearing nothing but paint and faced no repercussions. Local police are also showing increased restraint. Recently, officials have stood by as body-painted (or even completely nude) environmentalists rode their bicycles through American cities in protest of our dependence on oil. In 2011, New York City officials allowed artist Andy Golub to paint otherwise nude models in public spaces as long as his muses wore bikini bottoms during daylight hours. Public officials can still be pushed too far, though, and rampant body painting in a locality often leads to a tightening of laws. Following a proliferation of nearly-nude or body-painted coffee baristas, the city of Federal Way, Wash., amended its laws to make clear that "body paint, body dye, tattoos, latex, tape or any similar substance applied to the skin surface, any substance that can be washed off the skin, or any substance designed to simulate or by which by its nature simulates the appearance of the anatomical area beneath it" would not be considered equivalent to clothing.

The Federal Way ordinance is an exception; state and local antinudity laws are usually deliberately vague. Many statutes use the word expose to define what constitutes nudity. San Francisco's 2012 antinudity law, for example, notes that a person "may not expose his or her genitals, perineum, or anal region." It doesn't make clear whether body paint is an acceptable covering, giving police broad discretion in deciding when to arrest, when to caution, and when to ignore painted exhibitionists in the city. Other antinudity laws are more specific, seemingly giving body painters a pass. The Code of Federal Regulations, in banning public nudity in certain national parks, notes that nudity is the failure to "cover with a fully opaque covering the genitals, pubic areas, rectal area or female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola." Several states, including Idaho and South Dakota, use similar definitions of nudity. (It should also be noted that many states prosecute public nudity only if paired with lewd or lascivious behavior, which would likely trigger an arrest with or without spray-on clothing.)

There's not a lot of public opinion data on this issue, but small-scale surveys suggest that people perceive body paint a form of clothing. In 1995, a student at Missouri Western State College showed study participants a series of nude, painted, and lingerie-clad models. The subjects made no distinction between the painted and clothed models when assessing the picture's propriety. Five years ago, after officials at a Washington Nationals game told a shirtless man he had committed "indecent exposure," an ESPN columnist surveyed Nationals fans about their attitudes toward scantily clad peers. While completely bare-chested men were judged acceptable by between 54 and 82 percent of the respondents, more than 90 percent felt that men who covered their otherwise bare torsos with paint should be allowed at baseball games.

Comments
State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

FORT MYERS — One swing.That's all it took for Carrollwood Day's historic season to come to an end.With two outs and two runners on in the third inning of the Class 3A state semifinal against Tallahassee North Florida Christian, Patriots starter...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
No. 2-seeded USF falls to Wichita State in AAC tourney opener

No. 2-seeded USF falls to Wichita State in AAC tourney opener

Second-seeded USF was greeted Wednesday morning at the American Athletic Conference tournament by a bright sky and bracket poised to burst.Yet on a day the Bulls (32-19-1) could've made real noise in this eight-team event, their bats elicited nary a ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Woman, pushing stroller, struck by vehicle on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

Woman, pushing stroller, struck by vehicle on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

TAMPA— A woman, pushing a stroller, was struck by a vehicle near Bayshore Boulevard and W Knights Avenue, according to the Tampa Police Department.The woman and child were hit by a northbound car at 11:43 a.m. Both were taken to a hospital with serio...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Top 5 at noon: Gasparilla Bowl moving to Tampa; Lee Roy Selmon’s closing in Tampa; and more

Top 5 at noon: Gasparilla Bowl moving to Tampa; Lee Roy Selmon’s closing in Tampa; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:GASPARILLA BOWL MOVING FROM TROPICANA FIELD TO RAYMOND JAMES STADIUMThe Gasparilla Bowl is heading across the bay. The annual college football bowl game is moving from Tropicana Field to Raym...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bayport Pier reconstruction on hold as Hernando commissioners grapple with budget shortfall

Bayport Pier reconstruction on hold as Hernando commissioners grapple with budget shortfall

BROOKSVILLE — The concept of a multimillion dollar budget crisis and the reality of one are two very different things, as Hernando County Commissioners learned Tuesday.Faced with an $11.5 million shortfall going into the new budget year, they discuss...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — While rain chances will decrease over the next two days, it is only a relative calm before a broad low pressure system moves into the Gulf of Mexico, producing strong storms across an already drenched Tampa Bay for Memorial Day weeke...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays put Jake Faria on DL, call up Vidal Nuno

Rays put Jake Faria on DL, call up Vidal Nuno

The Rays, as expected, are placing RHP Jake Faria on the 10-day DL with a left oblique strain that he sustained during Tuesday's game.Somewhat unexpectedly, they are calling up LHP Vidal Nuno to take his place.Nuno, 30, has pitched parts of five seas...
Updated: 1 hour ago
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Updated: 1 hour ago
CareerSource Pinellas bought a science center. Now the bill is coming due.

CareerSource Pinellas bought a science center. Now the bill is coming due.

In 2014, Tampa Bay jobs chief Edward Peachey sought to save the failing Science Center of Pinellas County.He asked a small panel of CareerSource Pinellas board members to let him acquire the educational center for $100.The Science Center, he said, ha...
Updated: 2 hours ago