Some day I won’t write another thing about breastfeeding in public. Because I won’t have to. Eventually, some day, everyone will have grown weary of the debate and realize just how silly it is. Mothers feeding their babies will be left alone, in peace to care for their children by meeting their needs for food and comfort. In time the fact that message boards and news broadcasts filled up with comments arguing about the “appropriateness” of feeding babies in public will seem ridiculous and celebrities that dissed women that breastfeed in public will be dismissed as ignorant and intolerant. In a lesser but similar way that we feel looking back at other civil justice issues and wonder how in the world anyone could ever have had any question about where people sit on a bus or what water fountains they drink from, breastfeeding in public debates will be an embarrassing mark on our social history. As a society we won’t bat a collective eyelash at a woman breastfeeding in public whether she’s using a cover or not. The idea that a women is permitted or not permitted to feed her child in public will seem as archaic as women not being permitted to vote. There won’t be polls posted on news affiliate sites and Facebook pages won’t explode with heated arguments that resort to name calling to prove one’s point about how inappropriate/appropriate it is to breastfeed in public. Instead, it will just be normal and nobody will even care any more and maybe they’ll take up some more important issue to pour their passionate energy into. Some day. Apparently, not today.
Please don’t tell me it could all be avoided if women just had some “decency” and used a cover or went some place private. That’s not the issue nor is it the solution, women should not be ostracized from society for feeding their babies and covering is a personal choice much like clothing choices. Not that it helps, plenty of women are harassed for breastfeeding even when they choose to cover.
The comments in those online threads often quickly turn to comparing breastfeeding to some other bodily function that people find disgusting and “nobody wants to see.” Comments like: “If breastfeeding in public is acceptable then I should be able to just piss anywhere I need to!” “That’s disgusting, why can’t they just pump and use a bottle? I don’t want to see someone getting a blow job while I’m shopping and I don’t want to see breastfeeding.” “We go to the bathroom to take a dump and don’t just crap on the sidewalk, women can go to the bathroom to pull out their boob, we don’t have to see it.” “If a woman can just whip out her boob and stick it in a baby’s mouth, I should be able to just whip out my dick and jerk off.” And more, so many more. I usually roll my eyes and move on dismissing the writer as someone that doesn’t understand some very basic and crucial differences that flaw their comparison rendering it completely invalid and not worth my time. Moving on is also to keep me from commenting “well, when you’re ready to prepare a bottle of piss or serve up some human shit in a beautiful dish for your dinner guests and when grocery store shelves are stocked with products claiming to be ‘as good as human urine/feces’ then I might hear your point.” But then it happened in real life and I couldn’t bite my tongue and roll my eyes in time to not decidedly educate the poor individual that would dare to compare breastfeeding in public to taking a dump in public in my presence. As it turns out, maybe people really are confused on some of these basic differences. I decided to see what a larger sample size thought of the issue and how breastfeeding in public compared to these body functions commonly argued as being equally as disgusting (their words, not mine) as breastfeeding in public. To gather some admittedly biased information considering my poll group consists of fans of The Leaky Boob (and some got very confused that I’d even ask such a question, a few were a bit upset, they didn’t expect to see that kind of question there and I can’t blame them) I asked the followers of TLB FB, Jessica The Leaky Boob Facebook page, and my own personal friends to vote which was the most disgusting: urinating in public, defecating in public, sex in public, blow job/masturbation in public, and breastfeeding in public. The results:
In case you’re wondering, breastfeeding didn’t make it on the graph. Nobody in our unscientific and poorly constructed poll voted for breastfeeding as being the most disgusting option of the 5. But since not everyone followed the directions (to only pick one that was most disgusting) we ended up with another pie chart illustrating how many of those polled think urinating in public, defecating in public, sex in public, and blow job/masturbation in public is more disgusting than breastfeeding in public.
While it could be argued that this sample is biased and not indicative of the general population given that they were drawn from a breastfeeding support community, I still would argue that they all make a good point that even those not in favor of breastfeeding would find valid. However, in case some have yet to understand how it could possibly be that breastfeeding in public is considered less gross than defecating, urinating, masturbating, oral sex, or intercourse in public I created two tables and some notes in order to help clarify. You can find those here. It would make me very happy if you went and checked those out, I actually made myself sick doing the research for those puppies. Reading that much about poop while pregnant and dealing with HG is asking for trouble.
Some day my dream will be a reality and I will stop writing about breastfeeding in public. Nurse-ins will be a thing of the past and idiotic celebrities won’t be concerned about the PR nightmare they create for themselves simply because we’ll have all moved on and they won’t be saying stupid comments about breastfeeding in public. Kasey Kahne and Kim Kardashian (what’s with the Ks?) will be cited as examples of ignorance regarding breastfeeding and society’s attempts to control and shame women for their bodies and mothering for future generations. For now though, I’ll keep talking about it even though I’m tired of saying the same things and I’ll be grateful for moments of sanity in rational mainstream media articles like this. But to keep it interesting I’m going to have to start making fun of the people ignorant enough to be serious about certain comparisons. I just can’t help it, when someone confuses urine or feces for breastmilk or thinks there’s something similar with breastfeeding and masturbating in public, I have to laugh at the absurdity or I’ll go crazy.