I hate your public breastfeeding campaign and here is why: It is doomed to fizzle out and be forgotten. It won’t leave so much as a trace of change in small American minds and the way they view breasts, much less their innate force to feed. And do you know why?
Because in their attempt to enlighten society, they are instead victimizing women. Rather than empowering women, these campaigns aim to change the way the public views our actions. When in fact, real change can only be made when we all stop caring about the opinions of others. Let’s take this viralized video for example. The woman sits away from others, sheltering her little suckling. She looks uncomfortable, expecting to be reprimanded. And then, when her self fulfilling prophecy rings true, she actually apologizes. Apologizes!
No, we won’t change the perspective on public feeding by making fun or facetious jokes about our non-dairy milk jugs. But we will do so by encouraging women to feed freely and openly. To equip women everywhere with the self confidence of spitting in the face of anyone who dare tell them how to raise their children. Those who dare insinuate that my private affairs offend them had better stand back because this mama lioness has teeth and she bites.
My experience as a mother has taken place almost exclusively abroad. In Latin America, women everywhere simply flop it out and shove it in whenever their little one cries out. On demand all the time and noone would ever fathom saying anything against this. Quite the contrary, breast is best. Upon my first visit to the States as a new mother I followed suit and, without filter or hesitation, I sat at a table in Apple bee’s restaurant eating my burger while my son sucked away. The waitress, perhaps per orders of her superior or complaining customers, kindly asked me if I wouldn’t feel more comfortable doing “this” in the bathroom. My response to her was sharp and with a smile, “No thanks, I don’t think anyone really likes to eat where they shit.”
She was dumbstruck. There were not “I’m sorries” no attempts at covering myself up. And as for the waitress, I can only hope that my quick witted response left her contemplating. Because she too may be a mother some day.
Some five years later, I again found myself in a similar situation: a restaurant, a baby, two hungry mouths to feed. Only this time, when the waitress approached me, her commentary was different. She said, “Congratulations for having the courage to do that. I never did.” And that brings me closer to my conclusion. It is not about changing the minds of the public sector, it is about women everywhere exercising their right to feed whenever and wherever they damned well please. Only then will the public eye begin to change perspectives. Only then will breastfeeding loose its sexualized symbolism.
So ladies, in the revolutionary words of Nike, “Just do it.” Feed, and do it freely, do it openly and when someone flies at you with criticism, kindly respond that with “Your offense offends me, now please, mind your own business, I’m busy making a healthy future citizen who will thankfully have a far more open mind than yourself.”