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Bottom line: I want my daughters to have same choices as boys

To The Daily Sun,

I find it amazing that in our current time, whereas society as a whole has generally transcended its prudish and ignorant ways of old to recognize and accept people who are different in all ways from their sexuality, race and handicaps, some New Hampshire residents and even local politicians are up in arms about women having an equal right as a man to go topless at a beach.

Free the Nipple isn't about Bike Week, isn't about breastfeeding and it isn't about trying to freak out your family on Gilford Beach. It's about women's rights and I cannot believe that in a state whose motto is Live Free or Die we are dragging our feet on this. Time to mature, people.

Brenda Baer has lived a long and interesting life and I respect my elders so I will try to go easy on her, but saying, "It's disgusting" really threw me for a loop. A woman's body is disgusting? A woman who just wants to feel the sun on her chest or swim without some tight contraption strapped to her is disgusting? Wanting to have the same choice and rights as a male is disgusting? I believe this statement is really a window into how she feels about her own body.

I understand that the older crowd out there believes that showing your breasts may be immoral or improper, but my parents always taught me that our bodies, while very different are all beautiful in their own ways and we should accept them for what they are and love yourself.

As a soldier, I traveled abroad for years of my life and remember feeling excited to go to the famous topless beaches of France and Spain as a teenager. Let me tell you something, the spectacle quickly wore off. To see women of all ages and body types topless was not a novelty, but the norm and after a brief period, my thought process returned to normal, and I was just as comfortable there as at a beach here. There is nobody forcing you to stare at these people, and if you cannot teach your children to be proud of their bodies while being properly behaved in public then perhaps you shouldn't be bringing them out. You could use any nudity as a catalyst for dialogue on how to respect your own body as well as others.

As a father of two daughters, I admit I first cringed at the thought of either of them going topless at a local beach. Of course I don't want young boys gawking at them. But the more I thought about this I came to realize, I would much rather have boys sneaking glances at them if they decided to go topless then having my children being thrown in jail and charged with a crime. Bottom line, I want them to have the same choice as those boys.

Thomas Lemay

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Errors were made but there's no need to demonize our selectmen

To The Daily Sun,

During the last few months, in this forum, it has become quite apparent that there is an element in Gilmanton bent on demeaning, belittling and undermining the credibility of the Board of Selectmen. Recent elections didn't play out as they had hoped, so an agenda has developed to be as obstructive to the current selectmen and town administrator as possible. It's unfortunate that this is the tact they choose, to address grievances they may have.
Errors by the selectmen may have been made and exacerbated in their attempts to correct them, but there is no need to demonize, question motives and qualifications of those willing to serve the community. These types of attacks usually have more to do with ego than anything else.

After witnessing and reading of this heated debate, I've come to realize that with age comes a kind of temperance, both in how we express ourselves and how we listen to opposing viewpoints. And I've learned we can get along with people we disagree with. Despite the high-decibel exchanges we witness in this forum and at selectmen meetings, yelling and name-calling gets us nowhere. Loud doesn't mean right.

Humans are defensive creatures, but if we can keep the flame on simmer, we can keep the conversation from dangerously boiling over. Hard as it is for most of us to believe, we're not the only ones who feel passionately about an issue. None of us is perfect, and none of us is always right (despite what we may think).

Jack Schaffnit

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