Posted by: Daisy | September 26, 2008

Gawkers at Queen & Peter

I was navigating my way through Downtown Toronto yesterday and was surprised at how much had changed and yet, how much had also stayed the same on these streets.  Queen Street was buzzing as usual and I was stunned at just the sheer volume of pedestrians on Queen around 2:30pm from University to Spadina.  There were the homeless begging for money including the guy with the sign that said, “$ for Weed” – at least he was honest.  There were the artists with their pictures.  There were the super stores interspersed with the boutique stores lining all along my walk.

My goal was Peter Street and since I’m not a typical downtown goer, I had to look at street signs to know which one to turn at.  As I’m taking all the sights in, I notice a cameraman shooting up towards a building.  I am always curious as to what view the cameraman has and so I followed his gaze up.  I couldn’t figure it quite out and thought my next best thing was to look for his partner – the reporter.  Maybe it’s someone I’ve seen on TV?  No.  Not quite.  The sign on her microphone said it all – I was looking at the Naked News.

For any of you who have never heard of this company, they reveal the news while removing their clothes on camera.  I’m guessing they have an actual TV station that you can subscribe to, as well as a large internet business with dedicated subscribers.  They apparently have two varieties of naked news – one with all women removing their clothes and the other with all men removing their clothes.

Let’s go back to Queen & Peter.  The pretty blonde was wearing dark pants and a white button up shirt, except the buttons were undone and she was covering herself up waiting for the cameraman to be ready.  I would not say she looked unhappy, however, she certainly didn’t look thrilled to be there.  At this point, there were a handful of people walking by and I’m sure everyone was just as surprised as me.  I turned at Peter and went on with my day.

Fast forward an hour when I finished with my meeting, and I was stunned to see what had become of Queen and Peter.  This time around, the camera was obviously rolling as the blonde is now standing topless speaking into her microphone.  Three corners of the intersection were full of gawkers (yes, mostly guys) watching her.  It was funny that the corner she stood at had far fewer people – I guess few wanted to be seen on camera even walking by the Naked News?  I don’t know.  As I tried to cross the street (I was on the opposite corner), I felt bad for her having all these gawkers standing around at a distance.  She became an object – someone you watch from afar, and you don’t get too close because you don’t want her to see that you’re watching for fear of what she might think of you.  She is a celebrity, and in that celebrity status, instead of hearing people chanting her name, “Angelina!  Angelina!” while she’s in public, she’s an unnamed, attractive, topless women who the men really don’t care to get to know.  What a shame.

Of course, just as quickly, I realized that everything I wrote above is just my personal emotions tied to an event.  I realized my requirements and needs are that people actually walk up to me and talk to me.  You know.  Get to know me.  And I think people would have difficulty trying to get to know me if my work took me to Queen and Peter in the buff.  It’d be hard for anyone really.  Can you concentrate when there’s a topless women standing in front of you?

Based on the look on her face the first time I saw her before the crowds gathered, I do hope she enjoys her work.  I’m sure the Naked News would be a fabulously entertaining place to work – perhaps all she needs is fewer times outside in the public crowds, and more time inside in the privacy of a television crew who has gotten to know and love her, for her.

Your thoughts?

– Daisy



  1. Not that we don’t trust *you*, but a picture or two could really help here. 🙂

    I am not sure where to go with this one … we have a woman, who, without apparent coercion, decides to bare her breasts as she goes about her job, with full knowledge that’s it a gimmick to garner attention and make money. So what’s the issue? And this is the same right afforded to men, standing on the corner topless BTW. So, is the issue that North America culture has sexualized female breasts? Dunno, I guess I am missing something!

    I would also suggest, just so we don’t make this a male / female thing, that if you took a muscular man, dressed nicely, but exposing as much flesh as legally possible on the corner, that there were be an equally large and loud crowd of woman, checking out the goods. 🙂

    The issue is about her motivation for doing it. There are some people who do it because they LOVE it, and there are others who do it for the money and feel miserable. I guess my only point was that I hope she enjoyed and loved some aspects of it because she certainly did not seem to enjoy the gawking on the street.
    Absolutely agreed that if some guy were on the street, women would be gawking too. Again, it’s a function of – does the guy LOVE this? If yes, then all the power to him. (Matthew McConaughey is prime example of someone who loves baring his chest). Another difference however, is that I doubt very much, a guy would have gotten a bunch of women to actually stop and stand and watch him stand at the corner doing a newscast without hearing a word of what he’s saying. I think many women would walk by, enjoy the view and move on quickly enough. Many of the Gawkers I saw looked like their feet were cemented – so much so I had difficulty walking by/through them. I suppose you had to be there to get the full effect. Daisy

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