The percentage of men who actually expect to have sex with these women is higher than we thought.
What comes to your mind when you think of Gasparilla? For some, it’s the traditional fare of extravagant parade floats, pirate garb, and beautiful beads. For others, it’s wild parties, women flashing their breasts and the craziness that is the Pirate Festival.
Gasparilla is a historical celebration that dates back over 100 years, and was intended to be a celebration of the apocryphal legend of José Gaspar (Gasparilla), a mythical Spanish pirate captain who allegedly operated in Southwest Florida. The hedonism that we see portrayed in the media is completely separate from the real intent of the celebration. Flashing is not considered to be part of the tradition of Gasparilla, but rather a phenomenon that surrounds the spring break mentality of those who get a little too inebriated and make impromptu, alcohol-infused decisions.
So why exchange beads for exposing a body part?
The act of bearing one’s breasts for beads originated at Mardi Gras in the 1970s, but drastically increased from 1987 to 1991. Many women attribute the flashing of their breasts to their mass consumption of alcohol. They also report pleasure from violating the expected norms of society as a whole.
A study found that 68 percent of men and 63 percent of women had at least 5 or 6 drinks at the Gasparilla festivities. About one quarter of the men reported having at least 16 drinks while attending Gasparilla! Wow.
The study also reported that 42 percent of men expect to have sex with somebody they meet at Gasparilla. A third of all attendees surveyed did, in fact, say they had sex with someone that they had met at the festivities, and about one half said at least a few of their friends did too (yea…sure they did). We could easily compare the wild times at Gasparilla to the activities that take place in New Orleans. Clearly there are a lot similarities between the two.
But what happens at Gasparilla does not necessarily stay at Gasparilla
In actuality, the craziness is often videotaped or photographed. This can come back to haunt people. It’s widely known that media outlets target Gasparilla flashers on Bayshore and follow drunkards throughout Ybor city during the Knight Parade. One female flasher even found out that video footage of her flashing her breasts showed up on a ‘Girls Gone Wild’ video.
Breast flashing and wild behaviors could also be attributed to the concept of mob mentality. With a little inhibition and the large crowds that exist, a drunk person could feel that their behavior is normal and not necessarily picked out of the crowd. One can feel anonymous amongst a large crowd of people they do not know, and thus, more prone to show the goods.
Some Fall Into The Tourist Trap
Another interesting fact is that many of the revelers are from out of town. Many of the partygoers tell interviewers that they are at Gasparilla to “escape” their daily lives. They have the daily stresses of work or school, and feel like they need to let off some steam by going to Gasparilla and completely letting go. For the most part, people’s behaviors at Gasparilla are completely opposite from the behaviors that they display on a daily basis.
Tim Spires, a longtime resident of Tampa states, “The tourists are the ones who majorily participate. Nobody in Tampa knows them so they can do things, be sneaky with it and have a good time. When they go home, no one knows what they have done.”
Although once the act has been done it cannot be erased from one’s past (or from the internet!)
The reason women flash is to feel liberated and free. It’s a time of complete escape and abandonment of daily duties. A group mentality also exists that allows people to feel free to express themselves. Mix in large amounts of Captain Morgan and Gasparilla suddenly becomes a place of utter abandonment of life stressors!