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Tongue in chic: Scouting for girls

Long, languid days bathed in Instagram-filtered light; the first bite of a sausage hot off the coals (and the ensuing meat feast).

Scout Willis topless in New York
Scout Willis topless in New York

Giving your jacket the finger because you don't need it anymore, even though you know come autumn you'll quite literally crawl back into its arms like a celebrity's vagina to John Mayer (say).

Summer has always been my favourite season, but there's one thing preventing me from enjoying it as much as I did as a jelly-sandaled child. And it's not my inability to fit inside an Early Learning Centre paddling pool.

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Rather, it's the creepy men whose wintertime semis have been jolted to life by the sun and the sight of bare skin. This is the time of year when women are heckled most, simply for dressing in a weather-appropriate manner.

I remember how disturbed I was during my first post-pubescent summer to be letched at by men two, three, four times my age; how embarrassed I felt when a group of twentysomething guys shouted 'NIPPLES!' at 14-year-old me because I'd dared to venture outside in a vest top without a bra.

Last summer while on holiday a man casually told my boyfriend that he could never forget my legs, as if that was acceptable stranger-to-stranger conversation. Last week some guy followed me up a street when I was walking by myself to tell me he really liked my backless dress ("No, I mean, I really like the way it looks on your body") before turning around and walking back the way he came. Thanks a lot mate, there's nothing quite like a dose of fear to accessorise a sundress.

Of course, women everywhere deal with this type of behaviour year-round on a daily basis, but it's amplified at this time of year because we've taken our bloody jumpers off.

The act of wearing a pair of shorts or a mini-skirt is interpreted by some as an invitation to stare greedily at or pass comment on our bodies. Sadder than the fact we're subjected to it is that we're completely used to it; accepting of it, almost.

Sometimes covering up feels like the most attractive option when you can't be arsed dealing with the hassle you'll otherwise receive.

I know, obviously, that not all men are pests, and equally I know that women can be sleazy too. But while a man can take a leisurely topless stroll through the city centre without causing a stir, a woman doing the same would be front page news. Society can barely handle a woman discreetly breastfeeding her baby in public, for goodness' sake.

To protest this, Scout Willis decided to cut about New York with her boobs out a few weeks ago (and in doing so, replaced Sadie Sandler as my favourite celebrity offspring). Scout explained that she wasn't trying to make a case for mandatory toplessness but instead was arguing for a woman's right to choose how she represents her body, and for that choice to be "based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her".

When I read that, I instantly sprouted dreadlocks and leapt from my seat shouting "RIGHT ON, SISTER!", which really confused the dog. I'm probably not going to go for a wander round the Glasgow Barras sans blouse, but I will be making an effort from now on to

1) wear whatever I feel like wearing, whenever I feel like wearing it and

2) not feel self-conscious if my nipples or pant line are visible.

Because there's absolutely no need to feel ashamed.

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