Jodi Jaecks is a Seattle woman, a breast cancer survivor who underwent a double mastectomy. She needed to swim for her recovery. A bathing suit top caused her pain. She had no breast tissue and asked for permission to swim topless.
Jaecks, who has neither breasts nor nipples, says she wasn’t looking for a fight, simply a way to be active and perhaps get some temporary relief for her chest pain.
She was denied.
Why? There are some clothes that women are just supposed to wear:
“And that’s when they said it was a policy that they required gender-appropriate clothing … regardless if I had nipples or whatever,” Jaecks said.
And of course, there are the children to think of:
“We’re trying to protect children,” Potter [spokeswoman for the Seattle Parks Department] said. “A public pool isn’t necessarily the place to be carrying out an agenda.”
Eventually, Jaecks was granted an exception to the policy, during adult swims. The Seattle Times says,
Jaecks says that’s not good enough. She wants the dress code changed for all women with mastectomy scars. She’ll keep on pressing for such a policy change, she says, and Wednesday night was not sure whether she would take advantage of the decision in her favor.
“It’s absurd and ludicrous that they would give one person permission because it puts the onus on a specific person to ask for permission individually,” Jaecks said. “It’s going to be harder for a more reserved, self-conscious woman to have the guts to stand out and be different.”
According to Jaecks
“It started as a personal fitness issue but once they said no to me, it became a far greater overarching political issue,” she says. “I’m hoping this will change their policy,” she told the paper. “Ultimately, I want to remove the stigma that women with breast cancer have to endure. We should be so far beyond that at this point.”