Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nursing in Public is Offensive

Before my pro-nursing friends spit fire I'll get right to it...

Nursing in public (NIP) is offensive...but should that matter?

There's a mentality going around that NIP isn't offensive. So what if it is?  I find scantily clad women to be offensive (seriously, it's okay if your skirt covers your butt...) and have been called "anti-woman" because of it. (Because women have the "right" to show off their bodies) 

If you are in your own home you have the right to limit the offensive material that enters it. You can ask someone to go in the other room to breastfeed, you can ask someone to stop smacking their food at the table, or you can request someone put on a jacket if their outfit offends you. In public, however, you can't. You have to accept that when you leave the house you will be presented with things that offend you. 

When I go to the zoo I accept that there will be pro-evolution rhetoric everywhere (and "old Earth" stuff). I don't get mad at the zoo...if I didn't like it I would leave. If I get offended at the amount of skin I see at the store I'll leave. "But I'm trying to do my shopping and she's flaunting it." I can all but guarantee that she's not "flaunting it" when she's nursing. (If she's following you around screaming "LOOK AT ME BREASTFEEDING!!!!!!" then I'll retract my statement)

Now this is where people will say (and have said to me) "You have to be respectful of people. If it offends someone you shouldn't do it." or "If it could arouse someone you shouldn't do it." These kind of go hand in hand (because the line is kind of thin between the two).

Here's a list, off the top of my head, of things that pertain to my appearance that could possibly offend people when I leave my home:
- I cut my hair
- I have pink in my hair
- I wear makeup
- I wear pants
- I speak in a loud voice (some people do believe that women should only speak in meek, small voices)
- The language I use ("lame" is offensive apparently)
- I don't cover my head

Do I take any of these into consideration when I leave the house? Nope. Should I? I don't believe so. 

There will always be something that offends *someone* in the world. The only way to be 100% sure that you're NOT offending someone is to never leave your house...and even then people will get offended that you keep turning them down when they invite you to things. 

What about arousing men? Should I be afraid that my NIP is arousing someone? No. I have no control over that. My stand-by phrase for this comment is this: "People have foot fetishes and I still wear sandals." 
There was actually a study done on fetishes...
It was concluded that the most common fetishes were for body parts or for objects usually associated with body parts (33% and 30% respectively). Among those people preferring body parts, feet and toes were preferred by the greatest number, with 47% of those sampled preferring them. Among those people preferring objects related to body parts, footwear (shoes, boots, etc.) was most preferred (64%) source
So you're not even "safe" if you wear shoes! The mere act of leaving your house means that someone, somewhere, will be aroused. That isn't your responsibility.

I'll end this long post with one of my NIP photos! Me nursing the baby at the zoo.


  1. As a nursing mother I get tired of all the "press" NIP gets. Even before I was a mom I never blinked an eye at a mom nursing her baby (or toddler). Can't people just leave women alone to mother how they see fit? Why does everyone have to 'get all up in our business'

    I'm not saying anything against your blog post at all, I just feel like telling people get over it. It's a boob, it was created to feed children. If you don't like it look the other way and take all that energy you have to protest breastfeeding and use it to tutor innercity kids, or something that will actually make a difference.

  2. When I have flown trans-Atlantic with a nursling, I got alot of comments from people next to me "Wow, he is so quiet! What a good baby, he has been! How did you keep him so quiet." I have asked them if they noticed I nursed him every hour or so (11 times on one flight). Mind you with the crowded conditions on planes, we are touching....and no one ever said they saw me nursing. I didn't use a cover but I also wasn't hanging out, and no one knew. The only people I ever saw gave me knowing smiles and one woman even came up to tell me that she always nursed during flights too.

    I really don't understand why the assumption is that you are "hanging out" while nursing.

  3. I had a flight attendant ask me if I needed to heat water for a bottle... it wasn't until I said "no thank you, I'm covered" that she realized I was nursing.
    I've also had people ask me,while nursing, if the baby was mine. My own husband can't always tell when I would nurse!



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