Q & A
The question was asked and readers responded. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts.
Last week's question was: Do you think it should be against the law for women to be topless in public? Why or Why not?
"I have seen many women that are breast feeding just pop the breast out and feed, I know the baby needs feeding however it makes some people feel uncomfortable. I feel it is a private issue and should be done in a private place. Women that like to show there breasts for other reasons should be banned."
-- Debra (PA, USA)
"I don't see why people are so stuck on the fact that a woman's breasts are just sexual. As far as I'm concerned and several other people I know, there isn't anything wrong with any kind of nudity. It's the actions of people themselves that is the problem. I'm sure most people can look at their significant other with clothes on and think sexual thoughts. Just like many of us can look at somebody in the nude and not think anything about it. We were all born the same way. Also, how can they complain about somebody breast feeding their child, when every time you look around there are half nude women and men on TV, in ads and banners and so forth? If women are made to wear shirts and bras all the time. Men should be forced to also. Let them see what pain a bra can cause."
-- Pam (?)
"I do think it should be illegal for women to be topless in public, except for on designated beaches or park areas. This is my reasoning: Public safety. Men are incapable of not looking at naked breasts. They can't help themselves. It's hard-wired into them that breasts are sexually attractive, as are buttocks. This sexual attractiveness is part of how men are attracted to women and helps to assure propagation of the species. Watch the David Attenborough special on sexual attractiveness - he explains this very clearly. Plus, if men are busy looking at breasts they aren't paying attention to other things they should be (driving, sawing, whatever) which could be very dangerous. Plus, let's face it, not all breasts are attractive, and this applies to men too - there are a lot of men who should NOT be going topless! That said, I am definitely in an favor of breast-feeding babies in public, with some discretion. "Letting it all hang out" is not discrete. A flash of flesh or nipple is part of the process, but it is possible to feed while having most of the breast covered. I have done it myself. I don't believe baby and all have to be covered by a blanket. In California, the law states that women are allowed to nurse their babies anywhere they choose, which is good."
-- Deborah (CA, USA)
"I don't think women should be fined for breastfeeding in public, because it is one of the most natural things a woman can do, if she chooses. Now women being topless is totally different in my opinion. I would not want to go places where women could choose to be topless or not. If it was a place noted for being topless, then I could choose not to go if I didn't want to be part of it or not see it. Women who breastfeed are usually very discreet and most people would not even be aware that a woman was doing it if they did not have experience with it themselves. When I pass a crying baby in a mother's arms and see the mother making adjustments to herself and the baby, I know that she is trying to get to a comfortable place to take care of her baby. I know this because I nursed both of my children and did it very discreetly, not to show others my body but because my baby needed to eat. I only nursed in public for the first few months while the baby was indeed an infant and not yet on any kind of schedule. I can't imagine nursing a 2 year old in the middle of the mall.
When I nursed, I always made sure that I had a diaper, burp rag or cute little nursing blanket draped over my shoulders and my baby's head. I sure was not anywhere near topless. I should hope that there would never be fines imposed on a woman who was breastfeeding. Studies have shown that nursed babies have a better defence system and it certainly is the healthiest way to feed a baby. I'm not so sure about the benefit of providing a boost to the immune system as both my children have allergies. Even though they both received all the great benefits of being breastfed (not to mention the bonding that was done), I don't discount boosting the immune system because both my children are light haired and blue eyed, both of which are common in people with allergies. So maybe the allergies would have been much worse had they not been nurse!
I see nursing in restaurants, stores, church and never think twice about it, except to grin at the "momories" of my own experiences. If I saw a topless woman in any of those places, I would be dismayed, shocked, embarrassed...I can't answer for my husband or other males, but I think it should remain outlawed in public places."
-- Trish (MD, USA)
"In most of Europe being topless whilst swimming or sunbathing is a completely accepted practice. Nobody cares because it is completely socially accepted behaviour. Men don't leer or walk abound scraping their knuckles and beating their chests because it is nothing to get excited about. Nobody is walking down the street topless or walking topless around the supermarket to buy groceries (It would get damn chilly in the freezer department for one thing) in Europe being topless is reserved for sunbathing activities. As far as the breast feeding issue goes... breast feeding babies is a natural part of the cycle of life. Once a child is on solid food then it is a mothers responsibility to stop breast feeding and allow a child to grow independently. Women who breast feed beyond this point in my opinion are mentally unbalanced and are bordering on child abusers. There are worse things to see in this world than boobs. There needs to be a reality check!"
-- Tracy, (Reading, England)
Thank you again for taking the time to comment.
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