• Sat, Jan 19 2013

Men Everywhere, Take A Lesson From Kochie – Nobody Wants To Hear Your Opinions About Breastfeeding In Public

shutterstock_75258277Men everywhere – let this be a lesson to you. Keep your mouths shut about women breastfeeding in public. It’s natural, it’s necessary, we’re going to do it. If you say anything about how indiscreet we are – we will pummel you for it.

David Koch, an Australian news presenter known as “Kochie,” made some comments about public breastfeeding yesterday that basically pissed every woman in Australia off. From The Sydney Morning Herald:

In response to a story about a Queensland mother being asked to be more discreet with her breastfeeding at a public pool, Koch said it was ”fair enough” that an attendant had asked her to move.

He later tweeted that, while agreeing with the legal right of mothers to breastfeed in public, doing it discreetly was a ”common courtesy to others”. And he said on Sunrise: ”I’ve never seen it done in such a high-traffic area.”

Here is the offending tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 8.33.38 AM

Women are pissed – and they have a right to be. I think we’ve all had enough of breastfeeding women being sexualized and reprimanded. What the hell is wrong with the world today? On the one hand, you have nudity and sexual images selling everything from cars to socks, and on the other hand we act as if we are some puritanical society that will surely die if we see the nipple slip of a breastfeeding mother. It’s ridiculous.

Women have taken to his Facebook page to tell him exactly how they feel about his comments:

What is the difference between topless girls on the beach or girls that wear barely anything at all (which no one complains about) and mums breast feeding in public? i do not understand what the big deal is! how does BF in public hurt any one?

 

Honestly, breast feeding is a personal choice (that I strongly agree with) but if you don’t like it, be an adult and look away, don’t be so childish and rude to make a scene.

 

If you don’t want to see someone breastfeeding don’t look!! Or better yet don’t leave your house! Really rude kochie …. Did you tell your wife to cover up ? It’s really hot at the moment so it’s hard to cover up …. Don’t be creepy and look !

 

If you have a problem with a woman feeding her child – the most natural action in the world – keep it to yourself. You’re repressed, you’re an idiot, you’re not evolved, and the rest of the world shouldn’t have to bend to your whims. This is just stupid.

I have a really novel idea for you – look away.

(photo: javi_indy/ Shutterstock.com)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000300547507 Mark Dallemagne

    I couldn’t agree with you more and I am a guy. Oh wait does that count as giving my opinion and should I have just shut up? I am soooo confused right now. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      ahahhaha!

    • Lisap

      I’m a woman and I totally agree with Koche. Women don’t not want men’s opinions, they just won’t listen to opposing ones on this issue.

      Where I live breast feeding has been declared a human right and it is illegal to discriminate against women doing it in any scenario. Though I personally disagree, it is law and should be obeyed. The main problem I have is the author’s argument that it is “necessary”. This is simply not true, it is a choice women are increasingly making; to doing something many people consider private in public instead of excepting the constraints a new baby puts on their lives.

      It is completely possible to organize your schedule around feeding times, to pump, and to use formula in a pinch. My mother had 6 kids and managed to do that for all of us so it may be decreasingly popular but it is in no way impossible or even that difficult.

    • Jendra

      And so if your baby needs to breastfeed every two to three hours– that’s from the time you start feeding, not when you’re done, and then you may need to change your baby before you leave your home, you could easily need to feed while you’re out, you know, living your life and not staying indoors all the time. PPD can be exacerbated by isolation. Mothers actually require the ability to go out. Depression is no small matter.

      And I mean, really? Go out around your feeding schedule? So, for an hour at a time, with travel time included? To do what with said precious sliver of time before you have to haul butt home? And if you use formula, you can compromise your milk supply. Your body adjusts to demand. In a pinch? So, like, every day unless you want to be chained to your home as the price you pay for delivering the goods to keep your kid healthy as recommended by the world health organization?

      Sensible adults should never put their feelings above the physical needs of infants. Feelings can be changed by growing up. As for the babies, they’ll grow up soon enough and eat solids like the rest of us in due time. Chill out, man. I will never understand grownups being disturbed or upset or flustered by a nipple. We all have them and we see men’s nude nipples all the time. Women’s nipples are not inherently obscene.

    • grandmother

      I don’t even know how to respond to your remark ( to pump, and to use formula in a pinch.) —— WOMEN ARE DISCREET – no such thing as “in a pinch” why should a mother spend 20min expressing because people don’t know how to mind their own business, or use inferior formula when she has perfectly good and natural breast milk. I object to people walking down the footpath stuffing their faces with food, but you don’t hear anyone complaining about that. JUST LOOK AWAY. Does anyone complain about skimpy bathers where just the nipple is covered and everything else overflows? Get a life people and STOP complaining

    • K.

      So…we should withhold food from babies because it makes some prudish adults uncomfortable.
      “This is simply not true, it is a choice women are increasingly making;
      to doing something many people consider private in public instead of
      excepting the constraints a new baby puts on their lives.”

      Uh, yes it IS a choice, but guess what: most women make it on the basis of what’s healthiest for their babies and what’s best for their sanity. Which includes leaving the house. Sorry if we don’t factor YOU into the equation, but you know, you have choices too–such as to look the other way.

  • Michelle

    Personally, I like to be discreet. I don’t normally wear shirts that show much cleavage to begin with so I would def not feel comfortable having anything exposed. I would never, ever complain though about someone going about business feeding their baby. If it has nothing to do with you and you can easily look away wtf does it matter?

    Only BF moment that made me stop and stare was a lady at universal in Orlando whipping out her boob and letting her child walking next to her to feed while they were still power walking.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      That’s impressive!

    • Tinyfaeri

      Wow. Either she was really short or that kid was really tall. And how did she reconcile the bouncing motion with teeth? I have enough problems with those while side-lying, I can’t imagine adding walking to it, I have quite the bouncy walk.

  • Blueathena623

    I have still yet to hear a rational answer to the question “why not look away?” I don’t understand why I have to go to so much effort and hassle because someone can’t exert .00001 calories to move their eyeballs.

    • Andrea

      Depending on the situation, sometimes it is just not possible NOT to look. And also, why should the onus be on me and not on the BF mother. And I say this as someone who BF’ed and in public too if I had to. Being discreet is not easy sometimes, but 9 times out if 10 you don’t HAVE to whip it out in the middle of everything. You can find a semi-private way of doing that will ALLOW people not to notice unless they REALLY want to look (pervs)

    • Blueathena623

      Wow, where do you go where women nurse one inch from your face? Because that’s the only way I could not look at something.

    • bumbler

      haha seriously. I see people picking their noses in public, and eating the boogers! Funny how no one says anything to them, and can just look away even if they’re right in front of you. When you feel ‘powerless’, you manage, but when you feel superior (vs a mother), suddenly everyone’s got an opinion and tunnel vision, lmao

  • Lisap

    I have very, very rarely heard a sexualized argument for why people are uncomfortable with public BF. There seems to be a lot of “this is ridiculous, food comes out of my boob there is nothing sexual about BF” defense but most often not in cases where that was the reason people were uncomfortable with it.

    Yes, eating is a normal body function and BF is the natural way of feeding a baby. Defecating is also a totally normal, natural bodily function but that is not considered appropriate to do in public. No one argues that pooping has been overly sexualized and if a grown women popped a squat to do her business and then pooper scooped up after herself and disposed of it that would not be considered an acceptable public activity.

    I think of BF as a private issue. I would never, ever ask someone I was not intimate with if they were breast feeding or using formula and I would never, ever offer up my opinion on their choice either way. I feel it is only appropriate that that be left as a personal, private matter for the mother, any other parental figure, and their health care provider to discuss. So I feel it is only appropriate for mothers to try and BF privately as well. Pumps are now readily available, if you are going to be out and about take advantage of them.

    • bumbler

      when private breastfeeding rooms with private breastfeeding stalls are as wide spread and available as bathrooms for pooping are, I’ll accept your analogy. If you think that’s ridiculous then why don’t we start carrying around glass jars to sh!t in so restrooms don’t need to be provided (that’s the same as pumping into a bottle, right?). I’m not saying this as pro or anti breastfeeding, I only mean to highlight the lack of sense in that statement.

    • Cody

      False equivalence. An aversion to seeing someone defecating in public (and an aversion to poop in general) is backed up by the fact that poop is highly unsanitary and can spread disease, even if you look away from the person doing it, and even if they “pooper scooped” it up afterward, there would still be bacteria left behind. An aversion to seeing someone breastfeeding cannot be backed up with the same reasoning.

    • K.

      Are you seriously equating breastfeeding with shitting in public? Do I really have to spell it out for you? Sheesh:

      1. Pooping in public is unacceptable because it’s a public health problem. Breastfeeding does not threaten public health.

      2. Pooping is not for the benefit of someone else. Breastfeeding is done to keep an infant alive.

      3. Yes, pumps are available but they will add 20-30 minutes to feeding the kid, which is not nothing if you have 1-2 hours in between each feeding and the ones worth using are in excess of $200 a pop, which is not financially viable for everyone (same goes for formula).

      Hon, I could make the argument that smartphones are now readily available, if you’re disturbed by the sight of some woman breasfteeding, take advantage of Angry Birds.

      PS–I find it laughable that in one breath you say that breastfeeding is
      intimate and that you’d never offer your opinion on formula and that
      it’s a personal choice etc. etc. and then feel like it’s your place to
      then dictate how and when a mother feeds her child AND that you don’t
      recognize the irony that if it’s so freakin’ private to you, then why
      don’t you respect their privacy and NOT LOOK??

  • Jendra

    I have never once seen a women whip an entire breast out while feeding. I’ve noticed a lot of BFing mothers, however, and I live in a world class city with millions of people in it. Fact is, most women are discreet (i.e. not letting an entire breast hang about willy nilly) and most who take issue with it are spending too much time looking and not enough time minding their own business.

    And my god, fecal matter and urine are not comparable to breastmilk. For starters, anything meant for oral consumption is practical for the public. Nipples are not urethras or anuses. All bodily fluids are not equally gross or “ungross”. If a man can expose his nipple on the beach, a woman can briefly expose a nipple for a far nobler and more practical purpose. I don’t know why people are willing to give men a pass on these things for hot weather when women actually need to be able to access their nipples from time to time in their life.

  • Shane

    This reminds me of the irrational rantings of some Muslims whinging about a movie they didn’t like. Its an opinion, you don’t have to agree with them but its pathetic to get so worked up over one.

  • bumbler

    I think if you’re in the right and you’re confident of that, then you shouldn’t fear any outside opinions. Of course people are going to disagree with you, but if you’re right, then it shouldn’t be much trouble to shoot them down. Considering that men are half the population (and arguably 80% of the power) in this world, I wouldn’t be so quick to brush them off, since women need them for support and as allays in this debate. I think it’s wise to instead call men to stand up on the behalf of the women they care about and respect. Don’t make is us vs them. Breastfeeding is a woman’s issue, but public decency laws are decided by men and women alike. Should only handicapped people get a say in laws concerning accessibility Should only gay people get to vote for or against gay marriage? My point is, people get an opinion and a vote, even if it’s actually ‘none of their business’. Democracy, amirite?

    • Jendra

      I remember when my Catholic high school voted on whether or not to allow girls to wear pants as part of the uniform. We voted as a school, but they gave girls and boys different ballots because the girls’ opinion was more important because they were directly affected and the boys were only visually affected. The girls overwhelmingly voted pro pants. The boys voted no. The girls won.

      A person in a wheelchair should have more say about accessibility. They know what they need. Gay people are being denied rights and need to be heard above straight people who are not affected personally. And breastfeeding mothers or women in general who may breastfeed one day or have done so need to be heard more than men. Men are great allies, but when they start working against the needs of women and their babies to suit their own emotional sensibilities, they need to be reminded the world does not actually revolve around them, despite all their power and privilege.

  • Maggie

    My cousin recently had something very disturbing happen to her: she was at the mall with her husband, toddler, and infant who she is still breast-feeding, and her hubby took the toddler to play so she took advantage of the moment and sat on a bench, out of the way of everyone else, and started breastfeeding. She wore a cover-up over the baby and her breasts and was near the children’s play area, and a man walked by and said “If you HAVE to do that in front of everyone, you could at least let us see both of them.” As in both of her breasts. She hollered for her husband and he confronted the man, and they ended up calling mall security because this jerkoff felt he should be able to openly stare at my cousins’ breasts because “she put them out there.” It’s disgusting that people still have attitudes like that towards breastfeeding, and that this vile piece of crap turned a quiet Mom and Baby moment into something sexual. If you’re so preoccupied that you can’t look away from a breast-feeding mother, then chances are you should take a step back and have a good look at yourself and how you value women in general.

    • Amy S

      I can’t help but think that it’s the kind of implicit attitudes that this guy was displaying explicitly that lead to most objections of public breastfeeding.

  • K.

    I can’t help but think that the reason some people are so uncomfortable with public breastfeeding is because it’s the one time that a woman’s breasts are NOT sexualized. We’re conditioned to accept breasts as candy for the male gaze; we’re freaked out when they’re purposed for something else.

  • Thomas
  • Unfortunately Placed

    Guh, the wanker lives in my street. I’m tempted to put photos of women breastfeeding in his letterbox every day for a month, despite that this was all 9 months ago. Actually, it’s kind of perfect.