Breast-feeding in public: Is it really that big of a deal? (Pro)

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

I Googled “breast-feeding in public” and found out that on April 11, a woman participating in a case being heard in a North Carolina courtroom was expelled from the premises for breast-feeding her infant son.

According to North Carolina law, a woman may breast-feed her child in any place where she is legally allowed to be.

I started with the Google search because I already knew I would find a recent example of a woman being shamed, disenfranchised, abused, or otherwise treated poorly for feeding her baby. People call it disgusting and a sex crime and go so far as to physically manhandle a woman holding a baby in her arms.

This isn’t about breast-feeding at all. It’s barely even about breasts. It’s about a society that openly, unabashedly, and avariciously hates everything about women. It doesn’t matter what the woman does, she is considered an evil thing that is destroying civilization just by her very existence.

When I hear people calling parts of my body illegal, disgusting, and evil, it insults me. Breast-feeding is no different from a great many other things that people apply an unfair, gender based double standard to, just like body hair and birth control. Breast-feeding is just one more people use to justify discrimination against women.

I know I’m not the only person on this campus who knows what it feels like to be labeled as “wrong” simply because of where they were born, who they were born, or how they were born. Like them, women have been living with this pervasive social hate for so long, we don’t even recognize it anymore.

My breasts are disgusting, and I deserve to be publicly abused for having them? Well, of course. When has that ever not been the case, right? I would ask people who believe themselves to be “against” breast-feeding how much of their “opinion” is based on them finding women’s bodies disgusting. I’m sure they’d all say “no,” and I’m just as sure they lie.

Why wouldn’t you? It’s not like you’ve been offered another option. Isn’t our entire culture directed at telling women over and over how ugly and stupid and worthless we are?

“Act how we tell you, buy this makeup, don’t eat this food, take these pills, wear these clothes, or else everyone will hate you because you’re just an ugly, worthless sex toy with a pulse, and don’t you forget it.”

Seeing a woman using her breasts for what they’re for, I’m sure, isn’t so much enraging as deeply, deeply confusing to Americans. “You mean a woman is a person, and she does things with her body that have nothing to do with me or my personal feelings? What is that about? Aren’t I the center of the universe?”

No. No, you’re not. And you don’t get to force people to act like they’re worthless just because you don’t know any better.