An Open Letter to the Attention Seeking Breast Feeder:
You did it in public.
You said your kid needed fed.
And you just whipped out your tit like no one else was there. No blanket. No nursing bra. No two tank method. You just let the girls hang out totally exposed. Not a thought in the world about discretion or that a nipple would show.
And when someone complained and told you to cover it up, you ignored their request, as if they should shut up. People were staring and gasping and outright disgusted. And there you sat, like you had a right to offend each and every one of them. There was no mutual respect.
And your audacity when even the management tried to comfort the crowd. Your defiance was loud.
Finally the press showed up. And photos started circulating all over the web. My news-feed was congested with your size C cups. All in my face and surrounding my scroll, your kid latched to your breast was being shoved down my throat.
Comment after comment revealed what so many seemed to know. That you needed a lesson on what’s appropriate in our culture. That you were a person without class or self respect. That you’d forgotten about modesty and times and places for “that”. That you seemed to believe you were entitled to do it. Even though so many others never seemed to have to.
Comment after comment on how you failed to be prepared. You could have pumped and put it in a bottle. You could have gone to a bathroom or anywhere more private. You could have removed yourself from sight or draped a napkin upon your chest. There was no reason you had for doing what you did, except to further an agenda. It was glaringly obvious. That’s what they said.
You wanted attention and you sure as hell got it. An exhibitionist thinking it was okay to whip out a breast. In spite of all the haters chastising you and all the negativity in the press.
And then you responded that you’d do it all again?
No modesty or care for the intimate bonding it is? No swaying from your resolve to just whip out a tit? No second thought — even when the masses shared their offense?
To that, to you, I’ve just one more thing to add:
Thank you brave human. You are making a difference.
Forty nine states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia all protect the legal right to feed a child by the breast in public. Federal law protects the right to breastfeed all on government property.
We are mammals. If this confuses you, visit the Smithsonian.
Additional in depth reading on the stigma in the United States culture and how vital normalizing is for families:
- How Fear of The Female Nipple Led To Censorship of A Child’s Finger: The Embarrassing Broadcast Decision That Stigmatized Breastfeeding.
- Overselling Breastfeeding? How One Author Exploits The Majority To Silence Minority Advocacy.
- Mammalia. The documentation of the multitudes of incidents of harassment and discrimination in 2015.
- The Reproductive Rights Discussion No One Is Having.
This piece originally published on April 12, 2016
Elizabeth Grattan is a broadcast talent and writer who has covered current events, human interest and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her loves are the strong, gentle arms of her best friend, reasonably priced blended reds and her dream come true little man. Find & friend Elizabeth on FB or follow along on Twitter.