Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Enticing men to fornicate

Over the weekend, tired from too many errands and not enough food, The Kid and I slipped into a coffee shop to caffeinate (me) and nosh (him). Huddled into one dark corner of the shop was a woman very discreetly nursing her baby. I wouldn't have even noticed she was there, except for the stroller I had to maneuver around. And I wouldn't have even noticed she was nursing, except the blanket she was wearing seemed out of place in the 90+ degree weather. Realizing is was a nursing cover-up, I had to admire the woman's dedication to discretion. I would not have been so accommodating to my fellow patrons in such weather. Maybe a light blanket draped over the little one's head, but a full wrap-around model? No way. Too sweaty. And The Kid (then The Infant) would've just pulled it off anyway. He hated those cover-ups.

She caught me looking at her, and I smiled. "How old?" I asked.

"Three months."

The man standing in front of me glanced over at the sound of our voices. His eyes scanned quickly from woman to cover-up to woman to stroller to woman. Grabbing his iced coffee off the counter, he gave her a disapproving look of contempt, and walked off shaking his head.

"There are bathrooms for that," he muttered under his breath.

"Why don't you go drink your coffee in one," I shot back.

He scowled at me over his glasses with disgust because, you know, consuming a beverage in a public bathroom is gross. Duh. Unless, of course, that beverage is breast milk, in which case the scent of piss and sounds of defecation only make it more appetizing.

My own nursing days were marked with the same disapproving looks and rude comments. And I've gotta ask you: What the hell? What? The? Hell?

What is it about nursing in public that is so abhorrent to some people? Why do so many immediately equate it to public urination or masturbation? Why do so many seem incapable of considering a use for breasts (their true purpose) outside of a sexual context?

The, "I wouldn't be allowed to masturbate/urinate in public, so why can you nurse in public?" argument is as common as it is ridiculous. I have a friend whose grandmother told her she shouldn't nurse in public because the mere idea that bare breasts are present will "entice men to fornicate." And a woman once approached me while I was nursing in a secluded corner of a shopping mall (fully covered, I might add) and reminded me that "the good Lord wants us to be modest, dear."


Blink. Blink. Blink.

Yes. Well. If the good Lord was so concerned about my modesty, He probably should've thought to route my milk through something other than my tits.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, people. And some of you are not going to like what I have to say, but I feel that it must be said. Only in a puritanical, sexually retarded society could feeding one's young the way nature intended be deemed dirty and repugnant.

Personally, I would be happy if every woman felt as comfortable as Maggie Gyllenhaal nursing in public, without a cover-up. (Though I'm feeling a little bad for her babe, who appears to be battling that cute little jacket thing Maggie's wearing.)

When this photo was first all over the Internets, I saw it posted somewhere with the caption, "What is wrong with this picture?" I loved one commenter's reply: "Um. She's not using a coaster?"

But I digress...

The woman in the coffee shop (and myself, in my day) was being very discreet; completely covered up. There was no offensive piece of flesh showing anywhere. If you find something distasteful or immoral about that, that is your issue - not hers.

Not every mother wants to breastfeed. Not every mother who wants to is able to. Not every breastfeeding mother will choose to do so in public. But some mothers do want to breastfeed, and can, and will do so in public. And you'll just have to deal with it and, if I may be so blunt, shut the fuck up about it.

Because even though you may not like it, those mothers have every natural and legal* right to nurse their children in public. And because, NO!, for the love of all that is good and holy, those mothers will NOT nurse while sitting on a toilet in a public restroom. Thank you very much.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week. If you're interested, learn more here. If you're not, at least lay off the nursing mothers until Saturday.

*In the U.S., 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location. In addition, twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. I confess to being completely ignorant to the laws of any other country.


Anonymous said...

Hello Martini Mom. Excellent post! I breastfed my son for 18 months so I have no problem with breastfeeding moms. I can't say I ever did it in public, though, as I just wasn't comfortable with that, although I do remember several car feedings in various parking lots... But I totally agree about the bathroom thing - people that suggest a woman nurse her baby in a public restroom should go shampoo my crotch!

Bobbi Janay said...

That man is an ass, I don't understand why people find something that is natural repulsive.

Anonymous said...

hell... to...the....yes!


MindyMom said...

I am so with you on every point you made. People need to get an f'en life! Dude in the coffee shop needs carry a baby for 9 months, then sqeeze the baby out of his penis, have to nurse it himself - in the bathroom - and get mastitis before he can make any kind of remark to a nursing mother!

I'm glad you were there to stick up for that mom.

Cat said...

Amen sister! I've never had a problem with it, but I can quote my state's laws on it just in case :-)

Sassy Pink Boutique said...

Check out this post- it's hilarious...and so true!

Sassy Pink Boutique said...

argh- don't think the whole thing got on

Nicki said...

As far removed as I am from that stage, I remember the struggle to keep feeding the girl 'G' rated. Wish I had been as brave as Maggie.

Martini Mom said...

Thanks for all your comments. I knew there was a reason I loved you guys!

Sassy Pink Boutique: Great link, and so true!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post. That man can go "suck it". Seriously, what is WRONG with some people? The good Lord was breastfed, too.

Single Mom Seeking said...

LOVE this post -- and what you had the nerve to tell that guy about drinking his coffee in the bathroom. Ha!

I'm proud to have gotten my baby into the Guinness Book of World Records for a breasfeed-a-thon in Northern California. (How many babies can latch onto mamas at the same time? Fun! It was in a theater, women only.)

wandermom said...

Excellent post!
My boys are much older now (9 + 13), but in my day, I did nurse in public without a cover. I think I successfully managed to stare down anyone who even thought of saying anything nasty. Noone should ever be prevented from nursing her child whenever, wherever and however she wants.

@dawn2u said...

Thank you, thank you, Martini Mom, for yet another excellent post. I never covered while nursing (Maggie all the way). And, I nursed my son much, much longer than most in public. It got to the point where I pretended I didn't speak or understand English. That really seemed to send them round the bend.

Juggle Jane said...

Excellent post!

I enjoyed breastfeeding and did it as long as I could (7 months). Luckily, no one ever gave me flack for it.

Thanks for celebrating this NATURAL way of feeding our children.

Smiling, Beguiling said...

Dude, you rock! A) for this post and B) for calling that a*hole on his bullshite comment right to his face b/c he deserved to be called out on his stupid comment.

I wasn't able to breastfeed, but oh, I soooooo wanted to. And man, if I ever saw someone giving a nursing mom a hard time, I'd probably be a lot less diplomatic than YOU.

Good one mama!

Momma Sunshine said...

I breastfed both of my girls until they were about 2 1/2. Breastfed my first daughter all the way through my pregnancy with my second daughter, and tandem nursed the two of them for several months (never did them both at the same time, wish I would have, if only for the photo op). I breastfed in public whenever and wherever I wanted - no cover up. (Correction - I tried doing the cover up thing for a few months with my first daughter but gave up because she just yanked it off anyhow).

Obviously, I fully support any breastfeeding mother's right to feed her child wherever that child happens to be when he or she is hungry. :)

Oh - and breastfeeding in public is legal in Canada, too. :)

Great post.

T said...

You go girl!! Woohoo!

This post made me want to get up and yell!! But oooo, it would hurt me to do that right now.

I love what you told that guy. Hee hee! Wish I could've seen that.

Devilish Southern Belle said...

"Why don't you go drink your coffee in one," I shot back.

Excellent comeback! I'd have probably just muttered "What a d***" under my breath. But then again, I am not quick-witted enough for an intellectual and snarky comeback.

I agree 100%, too. If men are enticed to fornicate by breastfeeding....well, let's just not go there.

Devilish Southern Belle said...

"Why don't you go drink your coffee in one," I shot back.

Excellent comeback! I'd have probably just muttered "What a d***" under my breath. But then again, I am not quick-witted enough for an intellectual and snarky comeback.

I agree 100%, too. If men are enticed to fornicate by breastfeeding....well, let's just not go there.

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