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I would like to challenge Heidi Lilley to be productive & help others

To The Daily Sun,

I am beyond sick and tired of hearing about free the nipple. I would like to challenge Heidi Lilley and her companions to stretch themselves a bit and maybe do something else with their time — like maybe helping others.

I don't know Heidi personally, so it would be difficult to attest to the kind of person she is. If what she primarily stands for is freeing the nipple, then I might have to think that she is self-centered, self-absorbed, narcissistic. I'd like her to consider redirecting some of her "energy" to where it could really make a difference.

Heidi, do you really believe that by having women exposing themselves, that you are helping to empower women? You really want to empower women? Look beyond yourself and what you want.

I could take days to make you aware of just a few of the struggles women here in this country and in other countries go through everyday of their lives. For women in poor countries, let's just take a random thought, water. (Yes, I am aware that there are water issues here in the U.S. that pose a problem for folks. Example: I've been to Appalachia where people have severe water needs. My husband sold his motorcycle to buy a portable well driller to drill wells there and left the unit for others to use when we had to leave. But for the sake of argument and time, let's concentrate on foreign countries.

Heidi, did you know the 663 million or one in 10 people in the world lack access to safe water, and 24 billion or one in three people lack access to a toilet? Every 90 seconds child dies from a water-related disease? Diarrhea is the third leading cause of child deaths, mostly water-related? In developing countries, as much as 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions? Half the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease? Women, and mainly girls spend, 125 million hours each day collecting water. And the water they painstakingly collect is usually not clean, but they don't have much of a choice.

Here, we get up each day and turn on the faucet. A cold drink whenever we want, hot water to wash with, a toilet to use, a bath or shower readily available whenever we choose, swimming pools to cool off in, Jacuzzis to relax in, etc. We have lots of choices. Most in the world do not.

Some of you who are reading this are probably thinking, "This sounds like when I was a kid and my parents would tell me to eat all my vegetables because there are starving kids in the world. How was not eating my carrots going to help someone across the globe?" Well, you may not be able to send your "carrots" Heidi, but you can be productive and help others.

How? Maybe you and your friends could have a yard sale, a bake sale, a car wash, etc. Use your imagination. The money raised could be sent to a reputable organization that actually does help empower women. Wells or water cisterns change people's lives. When women and girls have to spend eight to 10 hours a day just to get water (can we even possibly imagine that?), their choices for education are nil. If you give people clean water, no, not all of their problems will be solved, but it will change their lives for the better and then school becomes more than an impossible dream or idea. It becomes a possibility. Those eight to 10 hours a day can be used for working or school.

What about women here in the U.S. who need help and empowerment? Maybe you could avail yourself to help in a soup kitchen, a food pantry, the Salvation Army, volunteer at the hospital or nursing home, offer to make a meal for someone, take an elderly person out for a ride and an ice cream, etc. When you truly see the huge needs of women, freeing the nipple seems pretty insignificant, don't you think? Freeing their nipple is not going to help the women I have mentioned, but giving them water, or a life of dignity, respect, a helping hand — those are some things that can empower women.

When did something like freeing a nipple get to be so important to you? I assume that you, Heidi, are a reasonably intelligent person. Do you not think that maybe some of what I suggest you put your efforts into are just a bit more important than the cause you are passionate about? I challenge you to put that passion into tangibly helping and truly empowering women here and around the world who could use your help and caring.

Marie Ludwick
Center Harbor

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Ever think you could be exposing yourself right next to a rape victim

To The Daily Sun,

Please excuse the continuation of my previous letter, however it was pointed out to me that I seemed to have "missed" more of Ms. Lilley comments.

1. The women that yelled "nasty" at you had nothing to do with body shaming, she was referring to your display on the side of the road. She was referring to you, not your body! So please understand that clearly. And if she had kids in the car she had every right to say something, I would have done the same. A mothers job is to protect her children and if she felt that strongly about yelling that out in front of them, then that should show you she is not in favor of your "choice" in-front of her children.

2. I love how suddenly your campaign has gone from, If men can go topless, so should we, because that was the claim to fame since day one right? Now you include slut shaming, body shaming, and rape issues to your cause; where did that come from, your lawyer to make this "campaign" look better, more solid? It actuality made me laugh and made me see how far off this planet you truly are with your "views" on these subjects.

3. Slut shaming of any kind is cruel no matter how it is used. It is degrading emotionally and I agree needs to stop from both men and women. Your topless cause will never help it, it only adds to it and gives people more reason to use it.

4. Body shaming is another cruel issue. We are all not born like a super model, male or female. We age, have children, have medical conditions, etc. Shaming anyone on how they look or dress is childishness and bullying, and I agree needs to stop. But exposing yourself and causing "drama" is not the fix either. People need to love themselves and haters need to focus their energy else where. Maybe to a good cause, like helping out your fellow kind instead of hurting them.

5. Rape is a whole issue that goes on a level of darkness and horror that no female or male should ever have to suffer. Rape is a vicious, demeaning,and a selfish act. It leaves scars and pain that last a lifetime — not just for the victim, but all their loved ones, children, and friends. So even putting that in your comment shows me how clueless and insensitive you are. No one should get raped because of their gender, the way they dress, act, or behave, ever. And again your topless/exposing ways are not the attention any rape victim would want or need to be "reminded" of it ever in their lives. Did you ever think of that?

Did you ever think you could be exposing yourself right next to a rape victim? A victim of incest? Think of that the next time you sit next to, stand near, or walk by a woman, man, or child.

Good luck at, I believe, Hampton Beach, on Aug. 28 — another topless march. As I have read online many people are not happy about it, unless you're an 18-year-old boy. And I have also read, not all of your protesters are as peaceful as you claim to be.

But, I did see your following stand for pictures with their backs turned, due to censoring by local papers covering your plight. And, so amazing that the majority taking the frontal pictures were all men. Perhaps their cameras pointing down, along with their eyes, they must be showing their support for your "cause" in their own way, I guess you could say.

Denise C. Burke

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