VISITORS' COMMENTS

 

Here's where the discussion may be polite or heated, sensible or something else. We've omitted all the comments like "Great site!" because they're not really useful. Often TERA has replied, and sometimes you'll see how.

Keep in mind that this page is in progress. We have lots of comments but not much time to post 'em. Still, send yours and we will try to include them.

Names are not indicated unless a commenter gives permission. In some cases, you may wish to guess whether a comment is from a woman or a man.

Comments

Breastfeeding
Malaysian topfreedom
Kayaking
It's an insult
On roving 'round barechested
What about Texas?
Such a marginal isssue
A serious issue of women's equality
She's a bitch
Just a bunch of pervs
Time to grow up from prudery and lies

 

BREASTFEEDING

2004 August 19, from Elaine Edenfield in Atlanta, Georgia, partly in response to a campaign to get the Starbucks chain to allow breastfeeding in its stores throughout the USA

Even though I'm childfree by choice, I want to voice my opinion about why mothers should never be discriminated against when they nurse babies in public or privately owned places. I am related to several women who have breastfed babies, and I have current and former co-workers who are or were breastfeeding moms.

Breastfeeding protects against many diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, childhood leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkins disease, heart disease, strokes, obesity, inguinal hernias, osteoporosis, respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, ear infections, ulcerative colitis, crooked teeth, and lower IQ scores.

Breastfeeding moms who are diabetic can lower their insulin intake. Breastfeeding helps moms avoid getting urinary tract infections, and it also helps to contract their uterus after the pregnancy is over.

Breast milk is free, while infant formula costs at least US$1200 a year. Breastfeeding infants and toddlers will help to prevent about 9000 deaths in the United States every single year. When the USA improves its breastfeeding rates, then we can encourage mothers in poor countries to breastfeed their babies and toddlers. That will prevent 1,500,000 infant deaths in these countries every year.

Babies and toddlers should never have to eat their meals in a bathroom, because it is unsanitary. Do you eat your meals in the bathroom? If you are offended by the sight of an infant being breastfed, then you should either put a blanket over your own head, look somewhere else, or leave the scene.

Infants should never be required to nurse under a blanket. Many refuse to. They can also get distracted and come off the breast and look around. They don't realize that an immature sexual pervert is going to be too easily offended by the sight of a female breast.

Being offended by the female breast because people have oversexualized it way past the point even of insanity is the number one reason why some dislike breastfeeding going on in their presence. If you are offended by women nursing babies in public, then you should be shutting down the nude dancing bars and adult book stores, prohibiting low-cut evening gowns, banning pornographic magazines and movies that are rated R or NC-17.

If you are offended by the sight of bare female nipples, then you should ban male nipples from public view, because they are the same body part. If you have a double standard about this, then you are being very sexist. Grow up, people! You are acting like a bunch of morons and you really need to get a life.

I don't have a problem with breastfeeding moms who are customers or employees of companies feeding their children there---at Starbucks or any other business. Breastfeeding moms could even be the owners of businesses such as Starbucks, and it wouldn't offend me at all.

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TOPFREEDOM IN MALAYSIA

2002 December 15, from Jenny Kim in Kuantan, Malaysia

I use my time to be topfree as much as possible. My boyfriend accepts my decision. My younger brother saw me once and didn't bother much about it.

In Malaysia there are a few places where topfreedom is quite accepted, like on some beaches. For most of the indigenous population, topfree is a common view. Nonetheless, topfreedom is easier on beaches with a lot of Western tourists. They just do it and nobody dares to complain; but on public beaches where the local people are numerous, it is not such a good idea.

I will go barebreasted when I'm at home with my female housemates. They are supporting me because of the idea of equality, even though at first they frowned upon my decision. Then they started to go topfree a few times!

I think more Malaysian women will enjoy this freedom, as Malaysia is a hot country. As long we are in a private setting, no one can do any harm to us.

Women interested in topfreedom in Malaysia should contact me!

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KAYAKING

2001 November 11, from a kayaking enthusiast in Saint Paul MN

I came across your site as a link from from some naturist sites. I applaud your actions and just wanted to pass along my support. While the world certainly has more pressing issues at this trying time than availability of nude recreational venues or topfree equality for women, I feel there is little logic or historical reason for what is clearly a sexist position of denying women the same freedom men have on hot days or sunny days, to go without a shirt (though I have had ultra-conservative so-called Christians dress me down for going "topless" in public places!).

The only real point here is that women, just as men, should be the ones in charge of the decision to bare the relatively innocuous but quite beautiful parts of their bodies. Those who, for some reason, think it's wrong or sinful don't have to do it (or look at those who do), but they certainly should not be in a position to tell others that they cannot do so.

My life mate and I often go kayaking in very private settings in the buff (completely for me, topfree for her). We both feel the extreme freedom of this setting and the great comfort afforded by the absence of fabric over the upper body. Paddling a kayak with clothing on is really a great restraint and actually darned uncomfortable. I really wish we did not have to risk arrest and significant fines and stigma for enjoying this freedom.

Please keep up the good work.

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IT'S AN INSULT

2001 August 19, from Evangeline Godron (address below!), in response to the two ads on our photo page

Dear TERA,

It's an insult to my civil rights' integrity, seeing female nipples and areolas covered and male nipples and areolas uncovered.

What's wrong? Mine got a disease? Theirs clean and mine dirty? Whatever the rationale, I don't think it is rational and I feel insulted to see the double standard in magazines, on TV, and in other media. Someone should picket the media for their double-standard default!

If you really think of it, if all you see of a person is the nipple and areola, much of the time you cannot tell if they belong on a female body or a male body.

Has someone forgotten that it is the diaper area that defines us as card-carrying members of one sex or the other? Not the nipple and the areola!

Evangeline Godron
from Planet Earth, currently Canadian pinpointed
Vancouver BC

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ON ROVING 'ROUND BARECHESTED

2001 July 27, from Lynette Browning-Brock in Birmingham AL

Rarely do I stand behind a feminist issue---most seem to be about proving female superiority rather than unilateral equality---but TERA really tickled my fancy. I like it. It's a group with a single, clear-cut agenda leading to one well-stated goal. Here are a few of my comments.

"It's indecent!" In many societies, women's bare breasts are considered functional, non-erotic areas. I recall in particular a friend of mine who went on a Christian missionary trip amongst Romanian gypsies; they laughed when she wouldn't take off her shirt on a hot day, but were offended and outraged by her shorts, which bared her legs and outlined the shape of her crotch. Only in this western country, it seems, will a bare-chested woman attract any attention at all.

"A half-naked woman would be harassed!" I think that statement speaks more on the mindset of men in this country than for any concern toward a woman's well-being.

"Women's nipples are erogenous and should be kept hidden!" Women's nipples may be no more sensitive to sexual contact that many men's, and men are allowed to walk about bare-chested almost anywhere. (It's never the ones we want to see with their shirts off, either.)

"Men don't want to see unattractive women's breasts!" Sexist, true, but probably the heart of the matter. See the parenthetical aside above.

"It will make children ask questions!" What kind of questions could a child have that a mature adult couldn't answer? Q: "Mommy, why doesn't that woman have a shirt on?" A: "It's too hot for a shirt." Q: "Mommy, why is that woman feeding her baby right out in public?" A: "The baby's hungry."

"People will stare!" Well, this is very likely true. People will stare. People stare at damn near anything. They stare at cops on horseback and amputees and women with quintuplets and large tattoos and antique vehicles and anything they don't see every day. People are some starin' fools.

If you're a woman topless in public, people are going to look at you. Some will be shocked and probably very vocal. If you can tolerate a little eyeballing and gossip, keep it off, girl; keep the movement going. If you can't, put your shirt back on. It's as simple as that. Every little gesture helps, but if going topless for any reason just isn't your idea of a good time, then don't.

As for me . . . this summer [2001] my husband set up a blacksmith's forge in the backyard. All his friends came over to help break ground. And I did too, of course. It was June in central Alabama; humidity was almost total. "Do you guys mind?" I asked. Nobody minded. I took off my shirt with the rest of them, did my share of hauling rock and getting grubby, and had a beer with my husband at the end of the day.

Shirt went back on when the mosquitoes came out. We got the job done. It wasn't political.

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WHAT ABOUT TEXAS?

2000 January 15, from a man in eastern Texas

My wife is an avid believer that women should have the same right to go without a top as men do. She was wondering how to try to get this into legislation in Texas, to see if she can get a law passed making it legal, as did New York.

TERA replied:

Thanks for writing.

The New York situation is not quite what you imply. An appeal court there simply overturned a law as it applied to banning women's uncovered breasts.

In Texas, an associate writes as follows:

Texas state law does not criminalize female breasts uncovered in public. Various Texas cities have ordinances prohibiting the public display of bare female breasts, but in the instances where those local measures have been specifically challenged, they have been struck down.

In the early 1970s, an enlightened Austin city council removed from its ordinances any mention of female breasts that are bared in public. The justification was gender equality. It wasn't that they specifically allowed it; rather, they stopped specifically disallowing it. The distinction is significant.

In Austin today, women can be topfree in public legally, but few choose to do so. An uninformed public and uninformed public servants often make the experience an unpleasant one for women who are bare chested in public.

I recommend that you get in touch with the Chair of the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) of The Naturist Society. He wrote the words above. It appears, however, that the law is more favourable in Texas than you had thought.

City ordinances are often worded badly and can be overturned, but this takes time, money, energy, and courage---and preferably more than one person. But if your city has no ordinance, you may have nothing to fight.

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SUCH A MARGINAL ISSUE

2001 April 25, from someone in Dallas TX

I find it sad that our intelligent Canadian neighbors are fighting with the courts over such a marginal issue. You and your country persons have allowed government officials to register and confiscate your firearms, leaving your women with no way to defend themselves other than baseball bats and harsh language. You are reduced to calling the police so they can clean up the mess left by better armed criminals.

You are now left to squabble over whether exposing a woman's breast s creates equality with men. Even though I agree with your arguments, surrendering basic rights to your government has led you to being treated like disobedient children. I guess it's the difference between being a citizen and being a subject.

Best wishes to you and your cause.

TERA replied:

Thanks for writing.

Canada is an independent country with its own constitution, whose wording is, I think, clearer and better than yours.

Some people think our issue is marginal. It may be for them; it is not for the women involved, and the issues are connected to matters of power and control that are very big. Matters of legal rights are, moreover, rarely marginal and cannot be determined by how many people think they are.

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A SERIOUS ISSUE OF WOMEN'S EQUALITY

1998 May 13, from someone near Toronto

I have just heard about your group via the internet, and I am very glad to know that such a group exists. Last summer, very close to where I live, a young woman who was washing cars while topless in order to raise money for a trip was forced to stop by police on the grounds that while she was allowed to BE topless in public, she was not allowed to make money from it. Apparently, her labour in washing cars was negated by the fact that her breasts were bare.

I am incensed and more than a little alarmed by the lack of intelligent dicussion of this issue in the media. I have written several letters to the editor of the Toronto Star, but have not succeeded in getting one printed.

I believe this is a serious issue of women's equality. The fact that so many people believe that sexual assault will increase if women are allowed to go topless in public astounds me in light of the number of experts who have testified, over and over, that rape is not primarily a crime of sex, but a crime of power.

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SHE'S A BITCH

1997 September 5 and 9, from someone in NJ

It is quite obvious to me that women and men are as different as night and day. They should not necessarily have the same rights because they are not the same. Aside from the obvious--men cannot give birth and men cannot breastfeed babies, women's breasts ARE sexual. Why are there so many strip bars and why have so many women felt the need to get implants? Mainstream does not separate sex and nudity. The only people who are not sexually aroused by bare women's breasts are homosexuals. I refuse to believe that anything other than this is truth.

I'm certain that many many teenage girls would be flaunting big time, especially when given the opportunity to piss off a woman walking with her husband. There is nothing positive about this. Lesbians and feminists would also seek to offend and annoy.

There may be an extremely small percentage of women who would do it without the intent to upset anybody---but look who is out there doing it in the streets so far---lesbians and hookers---both groups want to offend people.

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I see nothing innocent about the women who started this issue. One 19 year old punk--deviant and defiant--who did break the existing law that most people wanted in place and in another case one lesbian feminist bitch in New York City who is working for the Devil.

Furthermore, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Koran all say that men are to be in charge.

I see no reason why all citizens should not have the chance to vote on this issue in a democratic society. There should have been a referendum. Miss what's her name in Toronto was by no means innocent. She knew it was against the law and the fact that she was hot is bull.She meant to be defiant. She's a bitch.

I see no way to work this out; women are either naked in full public view or they're not. There has to be a law to back this up, or are you talking anarchy? I'm sick of feminist bitches constantly comparing men and women and saying everything has to be equal. Feminists have done great harm to the United States.

I think that "top-free" is just your first step. You probably intend to have that extended to nude in the future. I will do everything that I can to make sure that you do not succeed.

It seems to me that the brat in Toronto did break the law and the original judge did do something about it and all was well. Evil has taken hold upon the land for now, but it will not last.

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JUST A BUNCH OF PERVS

1997 July 9 and 12, from a man

You people are all just a bunch of pervs with a stupid excuse! If every part of the body were referred to as merely extra flesh, we'd all be walking around completely nude. I'm 22 to boot. See, you don't have to be an old geezer to have morals. Get your act in gear, you bozos. This isn't a woman's rights issue, you morons. This is a morality issue. You can't legislate morality, eh? Yeah, well just remember that when I kick you in the teeth and you try to make legal charges.

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I would just like to apologize for the tone of my letter that was sent the other day. I can state what I think without calling people morons or threatening to "kick them in the teeth." I have very strong beliefs on this subject of toplessness. Obviously you do as well.

My goal would be to show that this can actually be a form of bondage to women. The pornography industry thrives in Europe. I call it toplessness because it represents, to me, a step backward for women, rather than freedom. You should know by now that people, especially guys, are evil at heart. Otherwise, why all the pornography, especially the S&M and other stuff we are starting to see now? You as well as I must be tired of all this kiddie porn people are doing. We want a feeling of freedom, but "freedom" comes at a price.

The slide to a depraved society is very subtle. For the sake of argument, I am willing to keep my top on if anyone is offended, and if women would think this was "equality" of some sort. We need to come to our senses before it's too late. None of us can do this on our own. Like it or not, we need Jesus Christ. Nobody who walks with Jesus is ever disappointed.

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TIME TO GROW UP FROM PRUDERY AND LIES

1997 June 17, from a man in London ON

I am not a naturist, neither nudist, not a gay, just a straight, happily married father of three. I am a European and a "new Canadian."

Considering a topless man as "non sexual" and a topless woman as "sexual" is simply stupid and proves only how limited in his mind the speaker is. Women do consider a topless man "sexual"!!! It is only us---men---who do not consider it "sexual" (perhaps except growing in number gay community---and what about them? Would they also agree with a topless man as a "nonsexual" one?).

Ignoring women's feelings in this matter is simply unjust and discriminating!!! This alone, as simple as logical, should solve the problem and allow women topless in the same places men are allowed. This is simple rule of justice. If we say that we are equal, and that our rights are equal regardless the gender, then we should prove it the same way other democratic countries did many years ago. On beaches and in public pools of Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, former Yugoslavia, Australia, and many more countries of the world, the problem of topless women is not a problem.

What you see in a downtown of one of metropolises of Europe: nobody cares or is excited by a topless young student sunbathing just on the right from my little daughter. People are reading books on the left, or sitting and talking on the bench, or simply chatting (a group of school kids). There is also a man passing through the grass. Nobody is alarmed, nobody is hostile. Just peace and hot summer day in Hamburg. And so it should be!

The problem of crime, and sex based crime, is not related to topless issue. Moreover, allowing topless girls to our parks and on the beach is most likely to change our society in a most positive way. It is high time to grow up from prudery and lies. Most of our kids learn crime and cruelty from the screen of the TV. Show me one day on TV without a murder on the screen! Show me one news broadcast without murders as a main menu! This is what we are teaching our kids! No one has ever seen topless sunbathers fighting . . .

My German friends who visit us ignore some of these stupid rules and simply change clothes on the beach, or sunbathe topless---if they want, the same way as thousands and millions do on the "old continent." If we don't want tourists from Europe---banning topless on pools and beaches is one of the best ways to "repel" them. How silly of us. We should have made that change and allow topless many years ago. Now it would be better for our own sake to do it quietly, and rather pretend that this way it was always here . . .

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