Like most people, I like to eat my meals in a public toilet stall. While no dinner is complete without the ambient sounds of grunting and flushing, it’s the soupçon of poo smell and the constant shouts of “hurry up in there!” that really complete the culinary experience, amirite?
No, I’m not right. That’s disgusting, which is why I am always awed by the number of people who truly believe that breastfeeding should take place in the privacy of a foul toilet stall.
That’s one of the reasons I love the above “Private Dining” PSA. It was designed by two graphic design students at the University of North Texas as part of a mock client assignment. The two students, Kris Haro and Jonathan Wenske, created an ad campaign entitled “When Nurture Calls”, which features three women breastfeeding their babies on the toilet. The copy on each ad reads:
“Would you eat here? By law, breastfeeding mothers are not protected from harassment and refusal of service in public, often forcing them to feed in secluded spaces such as public bathrooms. To help take a stand, visit whennurturcalls.com, because a baby should never be nurtured where nature calls.”
They made it to support a piece of Texas legislature-HB1706-that would protect breastfeeding mothers from harassment or refusal of service while breastfeeding in public. This is a campaign that’s much needed here in Texas, where women have been asked to breastfeed in alleyways.
Unfortunately, I’ve breastfed on a crapper before. It was awful. I did it because I was very uncomfortable feeding my daughter in public, and on this particular occasion I forgot my hooter hider, causing me to retreat into a restaurant’s single stall bathroom. My daughter picked up on my disgust, which made her fuss and she didn’t end up getting fed anyway.
It’s ridiculous to me that people are so horrified by nipples that they shame women into water closets, and the PSA is perfect because it shows the observer exactly what that looks like-gross and uncomfortable.
People are already starting to pearl-clutch about the ads, and one of the reasons hits very close to home. You can see that the women pictured in them are young. Monica Young, the woman in the blue shirt, is 21, but that hasn’t stopped people from freaking out about how the pictures promote “teen pregnancy”.
Ugh. Even if Young were a teen, I fail to see how promoting breastfeeding among young mothers is obscene or shameful. If anything, we need more images like this. Speaking from my own experience, I felt incredibly isolated when I was trying, and every poster, picture, and pamphlet had women in their 30s breastfeeding, causing me to feel like I must be the only freak under 20 giving it a go.
There’s a saying that goes, “You can’t be what you can’t see”, and I think that applies here. I’m not ashamed about my decision to ultimately formula feed, but had I known that there were other women my age who were successful at it, I might have felt less alone in my own attempts at it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go prepare a nice Coq au Vin and reserve the big stall at Chili’s.