Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nursing in Public: Horror of Horrors? Maybe Not

Nursing in Public with my breast friend. Copyright 2007 JSH
Ah yes, the image of a mother sitting on a bench at the mall, sandwiched between Hollister and a free-standing kiosk where some creepy dude asks if he can see your nails. Scores of teenagers walk by, clad in high top sneakers and neon short shorts (wait, did I just write that in 2012? Did we time warp back to 1987?), eyes and fingers glued to iPhones. Sure, we could get offended that a 13 year old girl just walked out of Hollister wearing a tank top that shows her ample perky cleavage, with the back of the top made out of see through lace and a pair of shorts that are so short that you can see her buttocks clinging to her thighs for dear life as they fear they may fall to the ground without any support. Across the way, Victoria's Secret's music is thumping and you can see four posters up on the windows showing underweight models with breasts the size of GMO watermelons pouring out of bras that promise to lift, define and change your whole fucking life. One of the models has her body twisted in a pose that not only shows her heaving bosom, but also reveals her airbrushed taut ass being barely covered in a lacy thong. All of that is fine. We're not going to call a security guard because some 13 year old girl is barely covered in her clothing or because there are posters showing mostly naked women seductively staring at you from behind the bra shop window. We don't care that Hot Topic is blasting some song about someone wanting to fuck someone else. No, we care that the mother sitting on the bench is committing such a terrible sin - nursing in public. That's right. She's sitting there with her baby sucking on her breasts. In public. I mean, you can't even see her boob because she has one some sort of clothing that prevents that, but you know what she's doing. If you get close enough to scold the mother for her indecency, you may even hear the baby making swallowing noises as he eats. Isn't that terrible? Of course, you don't want to get too close or you and your children might just see a nipple. Did you know there is an epidemic of people dying because they see nipples? I didn't, either.

Puh-fucking-lease. If this is you, the person who gets oh so offended over seeing a mother nurse her child in the mall or any public place, please do the world a favor, get on the right side of history, and get over yourself. I have zero tolerance for individuals who call security guards and cops on women who are feeding their children. It's 2012. We all know by now that nursing is normal. We all know that people don't die when they see nipples. For fuck's sake, Mark Wahlberg's three nipples hung above Times Square forever and no one died. Why is a nipple that feeds a child any different? Obviously, a nip slip while a mother is nursing is actually quite rare and the most anyone will see is the top of her breast, maybe some side boob or underboob. Sorry, none of that is offensive. You see more titty on teenage girls. You see more titty on grown men. Don't like it? Don't look. For god's sake, use your neck and turn your head. Blink. Look elsewhere. Babies eat from boobs. It's not about you. It's not about someone trying to offend you. It's about feeding babies. Get over it.

Really - you feel the need to take a cop off the street, from protecting the public from real crimes like rape, burglary and murder just to tattle on some woman who is breastfeeding in public? Damn, better pay me a few bucks, because you just wasted my tax dollars for that frivolous cop call.  Sitting at home on your Facebook, playing Farmville and flagging other Facebook members for posting nursing photos or videos? Life called, it wants you to get in on it.

Before you call the cops or before you report some Facebook photo, take a moment to get on your knees and pray. Pray to God, Jehovah, Jim, Flying Spaghetti Monster or Gene Roddenberry - I don't care. Just pray and say thank you. Thank your God that your life is so darned fucking perfect that the only thing you can find wrong with it is that some mother dared to breastfeed somewhere within your optical field. It must be really nice to live in such harmony where a mother who feeds her child in the most normal way is the only damn thing you can find wrong in this world.

I am not here to condemn you, despite my obvious hostility in this post. I am here to help you. You seem to lack a broader world view and that can lead all sorts of narrow-minded shenanigans, such as soliciting law enforcement to make a baby stop breastfeeding at Applebees. I want to assist you in finding other  things wrong with the world. You seem to want to help make this world a better place. You seem to have a need to be mad at something. By now, you must realize that shaking your fist at nursing in public isn't the answer. So, where can you turn that self-righteous indignation? Let me show you the way. Here are some real problems that should make you want to take action.

1 in 7 Americans lives below the poverty line, with more than half of our citizens experiencing true poverty by the age of 65. 1 out of every five children lives in poverty. The same amount of children, 1 in 5, goes day to day wondering when or where there next meal will come. 48 million Americans - 16 million of those are children - struggle to feed their families each day. Get pissed about hunger.

In America, a person is raped every 2 minutes.  How many people have been raped since I started writing this ten minutes ago? 1 in 10 men have been raped. American women are 10 times as likely to be raped than to die in an automobile collision. 1 out of 7 college women has been a victim of rape, yet 90% of them never report it. In fact, of all the rapes in this country, over half do not go reported. 1 in 15 rape victims will become infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Only 3% of rapists actually go to jail. Get pissed about rape.

Everyday - every mother fucking day - more than five children in this country will die of child abuse. When you go to bed tonight, don't think of the nursing mother at the mall, think of the 5 children who were alive 24 hours ago but died at someone else's hands. 80% of those children who died were under 4 years of age. Of the children who survive the abuse, 30% will grow up and will abuse their own children. There is a report of child abuse filed every 10 seconds in America. I couldn't even write this paragraph without breaking down. Get pissed about child abuse.

Over 42 million Americans have been sexually abused as children. 500,000 of the children born this year will experience sexual abuse as children. 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused. 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused. I want to vomit. Get pissed about child sexual abuse.

Count to 9. Are you done? In those 9 seconds, a woman was beaten. When you go to bed at night and you think of the 5 children who died as a result of abuse today, please add on the 3 women who die each day at the hands of a husband or boyfriend and the one man who dies each day at the hands of a girlfriend or wife. 10 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year - half of those kids will grow up to become abusers and continue the cycle.  6 million men are victims of domestic violence. Get pissed off about domestic violence.

That's just a sample of things in this country that are truly wrong. If you're reasonable, you'll see that these things are worth way more of your energy than worrying about a mother nursing her child somewhere public. Focus your energy into solving these problems and not harassing some random breastfeeder at Denny's. Good? Good.

Statistic Sources:

How you Can Help:
Bread For the World - Hunger
The Hunger Site - Hunger and Poverty
RAINN - Rape, Abuse, Incest
Darkness To Light - Child Sexual Abuse
American Humane Association - Child Abuse
Every child Matters - Child Abuse
National Network to End Domestic Violence  - Domestic Violence


Anonymous said...

you must not live in florida - breastfeeding in public is allowed by law. has been since 1993. perhaps your state needs to look into this.

orlando, fl

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Over 40the states have a law protecting a mother's right to nurse in public. However, a large portion of the public is unaware of the law - this includes law enforcement. This is why women still find themselves being harassed. Furthermore, despite laws, mothers do not have much legal recourse when they get harassed in most states. They can say they have a legal right, but they have more of a battle if they want to take legal action against the person who trued to report them.

Anonymous said...



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