Aussie actor fumes over topless bathing complaint: 'There's children around'

·4-min read

An actor has been given a "warning" at a swimming bath in Sydney for sunbathing topless after a man complained there were "children around".

Actor and content creator Kathleen Ebbs, 24, said they were relaxing by Dawn Fraser Baths on Monday with their sisters when a lifeguard sheepishly came over.

"A lifeguard comes over — don't shoot the messenger, I felt very sorry for them — and was like 'can I pull you over for a chat?' I was like what is this, Love Island UK?" Ebbs said on Instagram. "I was like, is this about my boobs, I don't need to be escorted aside, I'm not in f***ing primary school."

A photo of Kath Ebbs sitting in the car and another photo of them topless at the beach.
Kath Ebbs has shared how a man at Dawn Fraser Baths complained about them being topless. Source: Instagram/kathebbs

When the lifeguard responded yes, Ebbs pointed out that none of the men were wearing tops, at which point they told that "someone complained because there's children around".

Completely flabbergasted, Ebbs took to social media to share the "hilarious" reasoning, which highlighted a larger issue.

"Children are probably the only f***ing individuals that aren't sexualising my boobs," Ebbs explained to their almost 80,000 Instagram followers. "Because kids don't see gender and sexuality and bodies in that way. It's not until we get taught.

"Your parents will literally let you get dressed in public and then you hit a certain age, like 10, and then all of the sudden there's this emphasis on covering up your boobs. All of the sudden your 'private parts' aren't yours anymore. Why? because the f***ing patriarchy and because of the male gaze and because of the society we live in."

The actor, who was cast as the first ever non-binary character on Neighbours, mentioned how they don't feel the need to wear a top at the beach when "men don't have to".

"Also as a non-binary person I personally feel more sexualised and dysphoric when I have a bikini top on," they said. "But that's besides the point."

Actor slams man's reasoning as excuse

Ebbs found out that the complaint had come from a man and claimed his reasoning was an "excuse" for how he really felt.

"The man that f***ing complained used the kids as bait for his uncomfortability," they said. "My genderless tits are an issue to you and you can't just admit that, instead you have to use kids as ammunition for why I have to cover up."

"I also find it hilarious that it was coming from a f***ing dude that was wearing a speedo, as I could literally see his penis."

No explicit policy for nudity at Dawn Fraser Baths

After the warning from the lifeguard, Ebbs continued spending time with their sisters at the baths until another "poor lifeguard" came over.

"It wasn't their fault because they've been told by their manager to deliver this message — but the thing was that the pool's policy is that you have to be clothed" Ebbs said.

"Firstly, I couldn't find the policy anywhere and until that happens there shouldn't be an issue with me sitting here with my genderless boobs out having a merry old time, as well as probably teaching kids that they shouldn't be ashamed of their body, they shouldn't be ashamed of their chest. And just because you have boobs doesn't meant they're innately sexual."

Yahoo News Australia has reached out to Dawn Fraser Baths for comment about their policy and the incident.

Social media user applaud actor's response

Ebbs' explanation was praised by their Instagram followers, with many commenting on the unequal standards they know all too well.

"I have 2 boys (8 and 11) and this would have been a great conversation starter for me to explain that bodies are just bodies and if that person is comfortable, then it's none of our business," one mother said.

"Children perceive boobs as like life force milk-making nourishment bags for most of their little lives before being eventually conditioned," said another. "In no way were you offending any child there gosh."

"This is so frustrating and upsetting," a third person said. "Being in Europe and being on beaches where families were naked and nobody cared about bodies or posing was very freeing for me. I wish Australia would get over this purity culture and misogyny and let bodies be bodies. Love to you."

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