Thursday, December 29, 2011

Breastfeeding In Public - The Debate Continues

The debate between those FOR and AGAINST breastfeeding in public is a topic that has been going on since the dawn of the breast. More often than not, if the conversation goes on long enough, it becomes quite heated.

Recently, I read a news story on CNN that has garnered national attention. In my home state of Texas, Michelle Hickman, 35, was at a Target store when the need to nurse her 5-month-old child arose. Trying to be somewhat discreet, Ms. Hickman found what she referred to as a "remote area" in the store and covered herself with a large blanket. According to Hickman, no one but employees came around where she had decided to feed her infant and that several of them harassed her about it, insisting she go to a fitting room instead.

Texas law allows breastfeeding in public and Hickman says she told the employees this. Still, they insisted she move it to the fitting rooms. Target spokeswoman, Jessica Carlson, told CNN, "Guests who choose to breastfeed in public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable."

Women in at least 6 states have started staging "Nurse-In" protests to show their support for Ms. Hickman. There's even a Facebook page with over 7,000 members giving their support. It was after reading through comment threads on several news sites covering this story, that I decided to chime in.

As is often the case with me, I can see both sides. Maybe my calling is to be a mediator and not a writer. I'll let fate decide. Anyway, in this particular case, I fall more along the lines of supporting Michelle Hickman than the Target employees in question. This, however, is not always the case and it is here where the debates usually start.

In my opinion, there are two three types of women who breastfeed in public:
  • Those who make an attempt to cover themselves and/or find a private area
  • Those who take the law at its face value and basically use little-to-no common sense or decency
  • Those who do it in shows of solidarity and/or protest
This entire post's purpose is to target (no pun intended) those in the second and third groups.

Those who take the law at its face value, etc:
This group tends to make me roll my eyes and/or shake my head. This group includes those who make no effort to cover themselves or hide what they're doing. This group includes those who will do it in the middle of a crowded restaurant. This group (usually) includes the kind of women that "couldn't care less what people think"...about this or anything else.

Look. I understand that when an infant's hungry, it's gonna raise hell until it gets the boob. I get that. Where my issue starts is when you decide that, rather than make those around you deal with a crying baby for a few minutes while you gather what you need and find a private place to feed him or her, you either lift your shirt or lower your plunging V neck sweater and whip out the tit and proceed as if it's as dubious as blowing your nose.

Please, please, please don't start with the whole "breasts' sole purpose is for nurturing an infant" or that if it offends people, "those people are just wound too tight!" ...or even the "It's not my fault guys get all excited when they see a breast!" Give me a break! One: The anus' sole purpose is to spew solid waste and noxious gases but takin' a dump with the stall door open, just because it's legal, doesn't make it right! There are some things people simply do not want to see...regardless of how "natural" it is! Two: Any part of the body (that is generally covered while fully dressed) that suddenly becomes quite visible, usually offends people. They are not in the minority! Three: If your boob suddenly flopping free causes a few rusted zippers, chances are that nudity isn't common where your chesticle is currently making its appearance!

On that sexualization note, men are not the sole reason that the female breast has been somewhat sexualized. The fact is, regardless of how "wrong" it is, western society has presented the breast as something that only bad girls show and good boys deserve to see! Women themselves are partially to blame. "What?!?" you say? Well, who is it that buys push-up bras? Who is it that buys padded bras? Who is it that buys string bikinis? Who is it that is well-known for showing their baby-feeders in exchange for 69-cent plastic beads at Mardi Gras? Who is it that despises their own appearances when those puppies hit their knees? WOMEN!

Those who do it in shows of solidarity and/or protest:
Granted, I have my own preconceived opinions about those who go out and protest things that aren't literally "life and death" situations, but I digress. This is aimed at those who do their protesting without small blankets, shawls and the like to cover their modesty. To you women, I say, "Get a frigging grip, you hussies!" You're likely the same type that doesn't need liquid courage to get your (yet another witty euphemism for breasts here) out for those beads mentioned earlier. Either that or you feel that shaving your armpits and legs is only something brainwashed, man-pandering, weak-willed women do. I'd wager to say that at least 80% of this type are either (ex)strippers, wear tie-dye t-shirts, don't wear makeup or possess boobs that would make most people choose to tongue-kiss their uncles rather than see!

On a serious note, if you've been following this blog for over a day, you know I make a lot of my points in the ol' tongue-in-cheek fashion quite often. However whimsical my approach, I firmly stand by my opinions in each and every article. That being said, I'm not afraid to admit when someone makes me see things in a different light. It hasn't happened on this blog yet, but if and when it does, I'll freely admit it. I never say never. ;o)

Until next time...

If this article is still online, I'll still reply to any and all comments that warrant it. Never feel like an article you view here is too old to bother with. Comments are always welcomed!
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