I am writing in response to your From the Editor column where your stated intention was "to shed light on [topless dancing] ... so people could better understand it" and "to build a relationship with the community by ... being an objective eye." The dictionary defines understand as "to grasp the meaning of; comprehend," and objective as "relating or dealing with facts without distortion by personal feeling or prejudices." If your goal is for your readers to gain objective understanding, they must be provided with a circumspect view of the topic.
Consider the myriad tiers of those affected by a topless bar scene, and then reconsider whether the article brought objective understanding to our community. First, the topless dancer. Research shows that topless dancing often leads to alcohol and drug use simply to get through "work;" dancers are often recruited into prostitution through their job; they suffer physical, emotional and verbal abuse leaving them with scars for years to come; self-esteem is insidiously eroded, affecting all these women's future choices and relationships.
Second, consider whether the man in the bar, likely a member of our community, walks away unaffected. Research shows that pornography often begins as an escape, a small affair of the mind, and then the man craves more and more, leading to personal, physical and financial chaos, which ruins marriages and families. What chance of trust and intimacy can this man have with his wife when he is not only harboring secrets, but also has filled his mind with silicone fantasies that his real-life wife, with real-life problems and stretch marks, cannot possibly fulfill?
Lastly, consider the wife, also from our community, who cannot compete with these other women whom her husband is, in essence, choosing over her and the children. What feelings of anger, resentment and loneliness are created? What if the man's fantasy ends in an affair that infects his wife with an STD?
I haven't even mentioned the rotten deal the dancer's husband will get one day, or the devastating consequences on our impressionable female readers who may also need some fast, easy cash one day, not to mention their future husbands and children.
If you aim to provide "objective understanding," allow your readers to see all the facts and all the lives affected. When you do, we will stop supporting topless dancing, but rather will rally together to offer real help to those who feel they must give up their purity and their futures to make a living.
The Jaime Silva Family, The Jonathan Marsh Family, Payson