Hey jerks, before I get into things, let me just make it known that I’m aware my choice of title for this rant is kind of counterproductive. It also grabs attention.
Okay: my special lady showed me this article that a friend of hers posted on Facebook the other day. If you don’t want to read it, it’s an article about public breastfeeding. It contained this sentence:
Anytime the issue of public breastfeeding is discussed, there is always a man who makes the statement that if a woman is allowed to “whip out her breast” in public, he should be allowed to do the same thing with his dick.
It then showed some screenshots of dudes saying pretty much that, and listed some pretty good reasons why penises do not equal breasts. I commend the article for taking on such a ridiculous comparison and they did a fine job explaining why that conflation is absurd. Despite my desire to do so, I could not do a better job. I did, however, wish to have a go at the opposition to public breastfeeding in general, since I have a particularly useful point of view on it.
This is quite clever. I approve.
Aside from my idiotic brethren who spout fallacious arguments like the one I quoted above, there are still innumerable people who are a little less malicious in their wording but nonetheless walking around with asinine views on the matter. One of the most common “less aggressive” things that people tend to say is, “Why don’t women just cover up?” They are referring to nursing shawls, pieces of fabric mothers drape over themselves and the baby which allow breastfeeding to occur in a more covert manner. There are many women who prefer to do so and that is perfectly fine but nursing shawls, and the request – sometimes, the demand – to cover up centers around what I consider to be an even bigger fallacy than the penis::breast claptrap.
What you’ll hear in almost all instances – be it a woman at a restaurant breastfeeding, a woman on the subway, a woman on a park bench – is that the breastfeeding is either offending someone or making them uncomfortable. “I’m sorry, miss, but your nursing is causing these other people discomfort.” I’ve got two pretty simple words for the people who see a woman nursing and think it’s gross or uncomfortable:
You see, I used to feel the same way as recently as five years ago. I hated kids, I hated parents, I hated everything having to do with children. As an extension of those things I so loathed, breastfeeding was just another unacceptable injustice I had to endure from “breeders.” Aside from that, I was also of the opinion that it was gross. If I saw it, my internal monologue said, “Yuck, that is disgusting.”
Well guess what happened? That’s right, per my advice above, I stopped acting like a stupid child and put on my grown up pants. I’ll have you know that some things haven’t changed: I still don’t think babies are cute, I’m still annoyed when my friends with kids post pictures of those kids constantly on Facebook, and I still get annoyed by screaming children when I’m in public. The big difference is that now I just deal with it. I stopped sexualizing everything around me and moved on, like an adult.
That’s another part of the problem that society seems to have. There’s nothing actually gross or offensive about a baby nursing. If I, a person who does not find babies to be cute, sees no problem with the act then that should probably be a pretty big sign. However, large swaths of people view breasts sexually and that is the only context they can see them in. From that point of view, I guess I can see how they would then jump to such a non-sexual activity being kind of off-putting. You guessed it, though: that’s immature.
So mothers, nurse your babies in public. Here’s a nice list of the laws and such surrounding the matter.