Stop Throwing ‘Skanks’ Under Your Pro-Breastfeeding Bus
If there’s one thing that gets me worked up, it’s people acting like breastfeeding in parks or restaurants or stores is some sort of boob-jiggling, milk-spraying, public menace. Every woman should be able to feed her baby when and where she needs to, and it shouldn’t be anyone else’s business. However, the bone I’m here to pick today isn’t with the people who routinely show up to complain about how their lives have been ruined by sharing the local Olive Garden with a nursing mother. Today, I’m here to start some shit with the people who are purportedly on my side in this fight. Do you support a woman’s right to breastfeed in public? Then shut the hell up about how breastfeeding should be okay because ‘skanks’ and ‘sluts’ already walk around ‘with their boobs hanging out’.
During the last few breastfeeding-related stories I’ve written, I’ve noticed certain trends in the comments. Namely, someone inevitably emerges to complain that with the way those harlots are walking around with their business all hanging out, no one should care about mothers breastfeeding in public. Ugh. Here’s a tip: if you want to support one group of women, try doing it without throwing other women under the societal-approval bus. To some extent I blame life in the patriarchy for the internalized misogyny leaking from each of these comments; but come on, ladies, at some point you have got to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and take a good hard look at what you’re saying. Things are hard enough without women beating each other up fighting totally meaningless battles to die on this pointless skankier-than-thou hill.
Listen up! What a woman chooses to do with her body is her business and precisely no one else’s, whether she’s choosing to nurse her baby with it or to dress it in a Brazilian leopard-print bikini. Your right to breastfeed in public is not a zero-sum game with another woman’s right to wear a mini-skirt. Instead of tearing her down for her scandalous assertion of her own bodily autonomy (you know, the thing that you are also trying to claim to despite nay-saying from obnoxious busybodies), here’s a wild idea: why not support her?
If more women were interested in sticking up for one another, rather than pushing each other down to try to climb to the top of the pile for scraps of social approval, maybe we’d all have more energy to fight some new battles. Instead, we’re stuck clawing at each other and fighting the same fights over and over again. Want to call yourself a feminist? Think you support other women? Then put your money where you mouth is – and where your boobs are. We’re all in this together.