I had almost forgotten in all of this that last year I started January as Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month. I have written many posts in the last few January's about the amount of shame and condemnation women get about nursing in public, five in fact. I am going to link them all here, since I feel they are all worth a second read. First of all here are the 4 posts that lead to my declaring January Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month.
Here is the post I ran last January declaring January "Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month".
So You may be wondering if there have been any new stories of women facing prejudice against nursing in public this January. Actually yes there has been. Quite a bit. First of all there was the event in Las Vegas where Breastfeeding spokeswoman and guru Jessica of The Leaky Boob, was asked to cover up in a LasVegas cafe just feet from where they were handing out naked ad cards. The head of the hotel and cafe profusely apologized though which at least does help make the situation a tad better.
In Bakersfield Texas, a woman was asked to leave a Holister store while breastfeeding. She filed a complaint after asserting her rights.
In Australia a woman was asked to leave a pool center and cover up. In response to the outrage at this a popular Australian TV Host David Koch made rather absurd remarks, saying women needed to be classier about it, and more discreet and cover up. In response The Leaky Boob has called for a nurse in outside the Sunrise Studios, which host his show. Ironically his show begins every morning with "The Bikini", which is supposedly dancing women in bikinis.
I have noticed though that when I wrote about breastfeeding shaming in 2010, there was almost nothing being done in backlash, when I wrote about it in 2011... there was more outcry but not much. In 2012... we got angry.... and now in 2013... it seems every small infraction of our rights is met with a swift action and so it should be lest we start to slip backwards in the freedoms we've gained. Breastfeeding is natural, normal and wonderful. It is not gross or weird. It is our right to do it anywhere, covered or uncovered and the laws protect us. I can't wait to join my nursing moms again. Until then I am with you in heart.
In closing I would like to share with you a story of the first time I dealt with really strong prejudice against breastfeeding, although this was 09, so things had not come this far yet. I was sitting on a public bench outside a grocery store when a manager came out and asked (politely at first), if I wouldn't be more comfortable in their break room or restroom. At first I was shocked, then I felt well maybe she means well and really does want to make me comfortable. Yet I was plenty comfortable where I was and Bug was already happily eating. So I just as politely said "No thank you". She then rolled her eyes and got a lot less polite and told me, she really must insist I move to their restroom or breakroom, because customers could see me. Now as Bug was only about 3 weeks at this time, I was fully covered. I didn't yet feel comfortable enough to not be. I just stared at her, still a quite young mother, a first time breastfeeder, with a 3 week old... I felt like this was a game of chicken I couldn't afford to lose. I told her, "This is a public bench, and by law I can feed here." She huffed and stormed away. I was hurt and outraged but at the time I didn't have any recourse. Now I glad to know that if in August when my newest little wonder arrives, if that happens again I can instead take swift action.
Happy Breastfeeding Prejudice Awareness Month, and remember be aware of your rights and use them.
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