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Monday, December 31, 2012

Moms kicked out for breastfeeding - again

At least two reports have surfaced this week - one in the US, and one in Canada - that breastfeeding mothers were harassed and asked to leave when they were seen nursing their babies in a public space.

Brittany Warfield was nursing her baby, with a jacket covering the infant, at a Houston-area Hollister store when a manager accosted her and asked her to leave. According to Warfield, she was sitting in chairs near the front of the store, with her baby covered, when the manager approached her and made a scene, to the point where others were stopping to look at what was going on.

As usual, the comments spark controversy. Basically, if you aren't runway-model perfect and drop dead gorgeous, they assume you're a "cow" and don't want to see you nursing your baby, because, after all, breasts are primarily sexual tools and serve no other function whatsoever.

The mom appropriately noted, however, the scantily-clad mannequins posed in the windows as she was getting yelled at for having the indecency to nurse her baby.

Interestingly, the same chain received a complaint back in 2010 because a manager kicked a shopper out for nursing in the fitting room. Which sort of blows that whole "You need to do it in private!" argument right out of the water. I can understand if there were dozens of people waiting in line to try on clothes, but really - I kind of doubt this was the case.

Another mom in Nova Scotia, Canada, was shopping in a mall on Christmas Eve when she asked an employee at Claire's for a chair so she could sit down, at the back of the store, and nurse her baby. Even though she reported that her baby was covered by her husband's coat, the manager of Claire's kicked her out of the store. Of course, the comments were inane as usual, including one person who harps endlessly on the fact that the woman had the audacity to ask for a chair. I'm guessing that if this were anyone else (like an elderly or disabled person), that would be okay, right? This one kills me. It's her fault because she wanted to shop on Christmas Eve, with a baby! Oh, the NERVE of some people! 

Funny how when you're harping on chairs in aisles and public safety, not once do you consider the potential unsafe conditions of feeding a baby in a dirty bathroom. It's like we've suspended all disbelief for a moment!

It seems people really don't like to be confronted on their views that they consider the breast's primary function to be a sexual one. They will often come up with a million other reasons why it's wrong, unclean, inappropriate, etc. often finishing up with, "But breastfeeding is a basic human right!" (As long as you're doing it in a way I deem appropriate) It underscores how comfortable (or tolerant) our culture is of breasts that are performing their sexual function in a public place, but not when they're being used to feed a baby. Asking themselves, "Why do I feel this way?" would cause them to examine their own ideas about it and might possibly make them look like a fool. I mean, really, if our breasts are innately designed to produce milk, then ... what's the problem? It would force them to admit that they don't understand the mechanics of it (like why it "spilling" on the clothes is not really a credible threat) or why our culture is so against it (and why you see so few women doing it in a public space). Many dissenters' arguments just don't hold up to logic.

Once upon a time in America, you were considered weird if you
didn't breastfeed. These women apparently don't give a crap that the
person next to them has just "whipped it out" and is feeding her child.