Women breastfeed their babies. They’ve done it longer than restaurants have been in existence, longer than public parks have been in existence, longer than Western society has been in existence.
Breasts. Breasts. Breasts. Maybe if I say it enough times you won’t blush. Breasts.
For longer than your family’s last name has been around women gathered around and breastfed their babies. In America, granted, breasts are very sexual. Thus, most women who breastfeed their babies in public do so discreetly. It’s a grace they give.
Incidentally, you should know that in at least 47 states women can breastfeed in public without being charged with “indecent exposure”. There is nothing indecent about a baby eating from the God-given best source of food man has ever discovered.
This isn’t about women’s rights or “women’s lib.” Well, it is about women. But primarily it’s about children’s rights. I believe a child’s right to live, and in order to live they must eat, and in order to eat well they must be given every opportunity to eat naturally. And not every woman is in a position to not work but stay at home and breastfeed with other women whose husbands also make enough money to support an entire family. And even if you can “stay home” full time, you should still be able to go out and do things. And little babies have to eat more than three times a day. People in third-world countries don’t see breastfeeding as gross, and it’s not because they’re “savage” or whatever else you want to call them. The rich should not have the right to make up which values society should cling to.
I’m not writing about this because someone complained to my wife. Rather, I’m speaking primarily in response to a story that echoes a number of experiences women have had, from the perspective of a father who has seen his wife feed our child numerous times. The story is here:
A woman is breastfeeding in an Applebee’s as discreetly as she can. But a patron complains she is guilty of “indecent exposure”. The first problem here is that an Applebee’s patron could be capable of making judgement calls about what is in good taste.
The second problem is that if you don’t want to see it, don’t look at it.
The third problem is that it’s a restaurant, a place where you eat. Why would you segregate babies from this? Nobody complains that a mom is changing her baby’s diaper in a bathroom, because that’s where people use the bathroom.
The fourth problem is that the restaurant manager didn’t have the jewels to tell the complaining customer to leave, but asked the mother to leave. People in restaurants don’t have extra rights because the complain. If they’re a jerk, you kick them out.
So the woman left. Then she did what any good mother would do. She “turned the other cheek”, in the spirit of the teachings of Jesus (or should we say, “turned the other teat”?). To turn one’s cheek means to restrain from meeting your oppressor with his own methods, while also refusing to be tread on. To turn the cheek is to be defiant in the face of oppression by non-aggressively challenging the oppressor’s oppression. And how did she do this?
She organized a nurse-in. Several other women entered the Applebee’s and began nursing their children. Discreetly, of course. And note that they did not violate any Kentucky laws in doing so. What happened? The restaurant apologized, and allowed women to breastfeed.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, so I won’t conclude that this is all part of a move by corporations to sell more formula. It wouldn’t make sense anyway. You can bottle feed breast milk. In this case, the powers that be are actually in favor of protecting these rights. We just have some people to work on. And I’d love to see the statistics about how many complains about public breastfeeding come from teenage brats wearing skirts that throw up more red flags about “indecent exposure” than Janet Jackson’s Superbowl extravaganza. Perhaps I’ve only reached this conjecture after viewing one-too-many episodes of 16 and Pregnant, where teenage girls, surprised that they became with child, determine that they would never breastfeed—it’s gross.
Are you uncomfortable with the very nature of public breastfeeding? I’m not talking about exposed breasts or women breastfeeding seven-year-olds. I’m talking about women feeding their babies in public like they’ve done for eons. Well, let me tell you what you can do. You can go crawl out in the desert and dehydrate.
Then, just as you’re about to croak from thirst, you’ll realize that society doesn’t need you one bit, that it will continue without you and your bogus opinions, and that you need water more than anything, and that you’d do anything to get it and you don’t care where it comes from, and you’ll start to feel something like a baby does when it wants its mother’s milk. Then, call me, and I’ll come get you. I don’t want you to die. And I don’t care how “indecent” it looked, I would do what I could to revive you. Unless I’m wrong. Maybe we should outlaw mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, because I mean, people shouldn’t see people kiss in public.
Look—just—don’t be a boob, all right?
“Turn the other teat.” LOVE IT!
Haha, good write up.
I agree with what you say. It sounds like the Applebee’s thing was resolved well. What we must avoid is government forcing businesses to permit or prohibit breastfeeding. The owner of the establishment has the right as owner to make the rules according to his or her values and desires of the market. If he forbids breastfeeding, he loses those breastfeeding customers at his own expense but perhaps for the gain of customers who share those values. Or if he permits it, he risks losing the business of those who don’t feel comfortable around breastfeeding at his own expense but gains more mothers and families.
Some owners see a market advantage in permitting customers to use their bathrooms, others see it as a disadvantage. They’re at liberty to make that call, but proper, peaceful pressure from the market will nudge them the right way in these types of issues, such as what happened at Appleboob’s.
haha you said Appleboob’s. And that’s the great thing about performance activism. It puts pressure on society to reconsider it’s moors rather than just nudging legislators to make people behave the way we want them to.