Opinion & Blogs » Letters



Letter Condemning Public Breastfeeding Stirs Response

I was flabbergasted to read J. Tyler Ballance's skewed perception of Style's Oct. 26 article, "Loupassi Defends Accused Masturbator, Angers Residents" ("Enough Exposure to Go Around," Letters, Nov. 9).

Obviously speaking without any apparent social awareness or even a modicum of intellect regarding the case, Ballance actually blames the mother who reported this event, referring to her as a woman "who decided to spy on the man accused of masturbating." He then followed up this insult by asking if she "ever thought it was none of her business." I have a news flash for Mr. Ballance: Just days after an election that clearly rode on the issue of dealing with sexual offenders, the people of Richmond and the state of Virginia have indicated that, yes, it is indeed everyone's business.

To compare this behavior to public breastfeeding is so ridiculous that it immediately eradicates any point Mr. Ballance may have been attempting to make. He might have possibly made a case that public breastfeeding makes some people uncomfortable. Now that it's been likened to felony behavior, he's lost any chance. You'd have to search long and hard to find even one parent who would prefer their child be exposed to public masturbation in lieu of witnessing a mother feeding her child.

The perpetrator, who has pleaded to and been found guilty of a misdemeanor charge (exposure to the adults) in this case, with felony charges still pending (exposure to the two minors), has a string of occurrences that precede these particular charges. If Mr. Ballance has children, or ever plans to have children, perhaps he should be thanking Kristi Smith instead of ridiculing her.

He can play the "natural act" card all he wants, but when masturbation is taken out of the home, and done with the sole intention of violating people and making them uncomfortable, especially in public places where children are present, it becomes anything but "natural." The person committing the act becomes a sexual predator, and it is against the law.

Jodie D. Strum

Mr. Ballance, do you not recognize the word "feed" in breastfeeding? Babies deserve to eat, period. Get over it.

Jennifer Kuimjian

As I was nursing my 4-month-old son, I read this realizing Mr. Ballance is one of the unfortunate Americans uninformed of the benefits of breastfeeding. Young infants nurse nearly every two to three hours during the day. No mother I know makes a point to leave a public place to nurse. We carry on what we are doing as our child happily nurses. It is empowering to say to the public that I am doing what my body was designed for and what is best for my baby. I have walked up and down the aisles at Ukrop's nursing my baby boy, and that is not the least of the places I have nursed.

Breast milk is the best nourishment for infants. Breastfed babes are healthier, have stronger immune systems, fewer ear infections, are smarter and have healthy futures. And Mom benefits as well, with relaxing hormones rushing with each feeding and a lower risk of osteoporosis later in life. These are just a few of the many benefits.

Virginia legislation states: "No person shall be deemed to be in violation of [indecent exposure] ... for breastfeeding a child in any public place or any place where others are present."

When I nurse in public, I do not wave my boob around for everyone to see, but if someone around catches a glimpse, so be it, my baby was hungry.

Mary Jackson Young

There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding a baby. Perhaps if the mother had not breastfed the baby, the letter could have been written about mothers who let their hungry, innocent babies cry while watching those around them eat. I think that the comparison between a man [charged with masturbating in public] and a mother feeding her baby is off-base and very poor, and the judgment of Style Weekly for publishing Mr. Ballance's letter was even poorer.

Allison Burton

Taylor Behl Story Appreciated

Thank you for your kind, nonjudgmental article about this tragedy ("Dreams Unfulfilled," News & Features, Nov. 2). Millions of us who never knew Taylor Behl wish we had. It's so sad that curiosity often kills more than just the cat.

Richard Mestler

New York

Mold Needs More Attention

Just because standards do not exist for mold levels does not mean it is not very dangerous ("Manchester Mold Sickens Woman, Suit Alleges," Street Talk, Nov. 9). Nothing to be fooled with. Governors all over this country have had their mansions remediated, costing millions of dollars.

The only reason there have been lawsuits is because landlords usually just ignore the problem and leave tenants very ill. Believe me, the lawyers are not standing in line to get these cases. It is very difficult to get a lawyer that first knows about mold or is willing to spend the money involved.

The only reason scientific evidence is not available is because it is easier to look the other way. I have been ill for seven years and since that time have read about courthouses, police stations, firefighters, schools — the list goes on, with serious mold and people very ill. Insurance companies have paid record claims. You would think someone would do some research to get that scientific evidence.

Linda Delp


Letters to the editor may be sent to: letters@styleweekly.com

Add a comment