Ladies vs. Women: Breastfeeding Smackdown

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In the August issue of Glamour, National Review contributor and Independent Women's Forum Policy Director Carrie Lukas explains, in very small words, why breastfeeding moms should keep their nips in check:

There are lots of things that we aren't allowed to do in public. People can't walk down the street naked or have sex or even drink from an open container of alcohol….Of course infants should be fed when they are hungry, but nursing mothers should compromise by using the ladies' room.

The weirdest, and by far the most enjoyable aspect of this debate (other than the lactivists themselves), is the opportunity to watch socially conservative women try to take down serious, often stay-at-home mothers–normally posited as paragons of womanly virtue–rather than the usual sparring partners, academics and manly flight attendants.

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  1. As the father of two kids, I would certainly have wanted them to be fed in public toilets as often as possible. Didn’t work out.

  2. Of course, I can still make them eat in the john if I get takeout . . .

  3. I first took notice of this issue while in high school in the early 90’s. At the time, I had the same reaction as any teenaged boy: whip ’em out girls.

    I say the same now, but mainly because women have joined the workforce in greater numbers as other halves of dual-income houses, and keeping your baby with you is probably much better for it in the long run than pawning it off on some incompetent day care center. If your spawn is non-disruptive, then carry it around with you and when it’s hungry, give it a tit. That is after all the primary use of one’s gazongas, and it’s little more than our society’s long-held puritanical squeamishness at the naked form that even makes this a debate in the first place.

  4. “Indedpendent Women’s Forum” is the most inaccurate activist group name I’ve seen yet. They’re not independent, either as a group, or in the philosophy they espouse. Their leadership includes men, and they don’t advocate for women, thus negating that statement that they’re a Women’s group. And it’s not a forum, defined as a space for competing ideas to be aired and discussed.

    Sort of like when you see the words “Democratic People’s Republic” in a country’s name.

  5. …heh…heh…gazongas…heh

  6. Excellent post Kerry.

  7. As far as the Ladies Against Women’s comparison goes, both sexual exhibitionism and public drinking carry with them an implicit threat of disorder. Who hasn’t seen a crowd hooting at a girl showing off? Or a drunken fight/brawl/riot/whatever?

    On the other hand, how often is there a disruption caused by babies eating breastmilk?

  8. I really can’t fathom what people are objecting to with breastfeeding in a public place.

  9. are they proposing legislation about it yet?

  10. You know, with how little clothing some young women are wearing these days, have a baby attached to the nipple may actually be covering up more skin than was previously covered.

  11. Wasn’t this an episode of Married With Children? Is a breast ever less titillating (no pun intended, it’s just a bonus) than when a woman breastfeeding? Why is this an issue? I’d rather have a child eating than screaming like a banshee because it’s hungry.

  12. They’re not independent, either as a group, or in the philosophy they espouse.

    How so? Who are they “dependent” on, and are they any more dependent on them than any other group? And what is their philosophy dependent on? I’m not sure that claim even makes any sense.

    Their leadership includes men,

    So?

    and they don’t advocate for women,

    What does this mean? That they don’t advocate for some verson or other of special treatment or special privileges for women? From what I’ve read, they are all for social and legal equality for women, and they have rather old-fashioned ideas that manners and mores can be protective of women in a way that is positive, not negative.

    And it’s not a forum, defined as a space for competing ideas to be aired and discussed.

    Their ideas compete with leftist feminista claptrap, the purveyors of which have called for them to be silenced by barring them from, say editorial pages or college campuses. Plenty forum enough for me.

  13. Oddly, it’s the children in public who aren’t breastfeeding that are most objectionable.

  14. I’m disappointed that this thread has degenerated into a serious discussion of breastfeeding, feminism and public decorum while completely ignoring the issue of hot airline stewardesses.

  15. Stevo-
    Good thing. If this thread descends into sexual banter Mona might cancel her subscription.

  16. RC,

    The group itself is dependent on the same handful of conservative funders who bankroll the rest of the right wing blab industry, of phony think-tanks-that-aren’t-actually-think-tanks.

    The philosophy they espouse is that women should be dependent on men.

    Something that bills itself as a “women’s” something or other should actually consist of women, or it’s not actually “women’s.” Quick, who doesn’t belong in a “men’s” room?

    “Their ideas compete with leftist feminista claptrap, the purveyors of which have called for them to be silenced by barring them from, say editorial pages or college campuses.”

    You mean like how Cathy Young and Kathleen Parker can’t get published in national newspapers?

    “Plenty forum enough for me.” Yes, the public sphere, the press, the government, and the universities do function as a forum, in which advocates of one position can make their case. But one of the collections of advocates banding together to make the case of one particular viewpoint is not a forum, as the Ladies Against Women claim to be.

  17. Mrs. Hugginkiss (yes, I’m a dude) picked up the copy last week and laughed out loud when she read the article. Breastfeed in the bathroom — where are you gonna sit? On the crapper?

    I don’t find breastfeeding objectionable but one thing I would ask of the ladies, however: a little warning would be appreciated. I was at my boss’s house one time to congratulate her on the birth of her first-born, and in mid-sentence she took out a booby and stuck it in her baby’s mouth. Not only was this woman not unattractive, but as previously noted, she was my boss. Where do I look? Am I supposed to keep talking? Should I leave the room? What are the social protocols?

    A little warning is all I’m asking.

  18. It may come as news to the Independent Women’s Forum, but many women are able to breastfeed their children fairly modestly. I recall once being at church and glancing to my side and noticing that the young Mennonite mother sitting next to me was quietly nursing her baby. (I assume she was Mennonite from her dress, though this was a Catholic church.) If you paid attention to the position of the baby’s head, you’d realize what was going on, but you’d really have to be staring in order to see any skin. And yes, if the baby suddenly pulled off, you’d catch a glimpse of nipple, but the mother could almost instantly cover up. I was struck by how perfectly appropriate the scene was. Years later, after I got married and had children, my wife regularly nursed our babies at church, without giving anyone an eyeful of tit. I just don’t see the problem.

  19. “It may come as news to the Independent Women’s Forum, but many women are able to breastfeed their children fairly modestly.”

    Why, you’d almost think they were reaching for reasons to conclude that, sadly, there just isn’t any option except for women to stay home.

  20. “People can’t walk down the street naked or have sex or even drink from an open container of alcohol”

    Well, that last bit about alcohol sure shows she doesn’t live here in New Orleans. We don’t have any problem at all with people drinking alcohol in public. Well, as long as it’s in a plastic cup (broken bottles being something of a public health hazard to those drunken tourists falling in the gutters, after all. ;))

  21. I believe that children should not be let out of the house until at least age 11. If they need fresh air they can be dangled out of windows.

  22. are they proposing legislation about it yet?

    No, but there ought to be a LAW. Get it?Is this mic on?
    Whatever happened to the Ladies Against Women anyway? They were pretty inspired.

  23. What exactly is it about a breasfeeding mother that anyone finds offensive? I’m really at a loss. Fat guys in speedos I understand as offensive, but breastfeeding? Ladies, you can lactate all you want on my property.

  24. I think the appropriate thing to do is simply let out a good old belly laugh at the IWF.

  25. Vache Folle,

    Its the same neo-Puritan mentality which led Ashcroft to cover up the semi-naked statuary.

  26. socially conservative women try to take down…

    I guess that would make them reactivist lactivist activists.

  27. Funny how a request for self-control is objected to by “libertarians.” The line between libertarian and libertine is apparently quite slippery.

    PS: I have no position one or the other on breastfeeding in public.

  28. Am I the only one who finds the whole breast-feeding thing gross? Not that we need laws, but a little puritanism here might not be a bad thing.

  29. “Funny how a request for self-control is objected to by “libertarians.”

    Let’s take another look at the excerpt, shall we?

    “There are lots of things that we aren’t allowed to do in public.”

    …That doesn’t look like a “request for self-control” to me, does it really look like that to you? …or were you just sayin’?

  30. A little self control, please, ladies! If your three month old is crying with hunger, you should display the discipline that is becoming for a woman, and make him wait until you get home to eat.

    That’s what, two, three hours, max?

  31. I’ve been moanin’ about the lack of issues that appeal to Soccer/Security Moms for a long time, and this is exactly the kind of thing we can use to appeal to them.

    …Oh please, please, please, some prude somewhere, please introduce an ordinance to prohibit breast-feeding in public!

  32. Jeff — I like your suggestion about 11 yo/dangling babies out of windows. Of course under this new child-rearing plan, Michael Jackson suddenly becomes a model parent.

  33. Mona might cancel her subscription

    I subscribed for the first time yesterday. Yay, me!

  34. Good for you, Dave! Now you have leverage–whenever you see something here you don’t like, you can get all huffy and threaten to cancel it! Leverage is everything.

    (Back when I was banned for that twelve-hour period, I made it a point of honor to tell Cavanaugh that “Unlike Mona, I will not be cancelling my subscription.”)

  35. Hugginkiss and Seamus both raise good points. I’m as libertarian (and libertine, and liberal in the classical sense) as the next guy, but I’ve about had it with public behavior that seems oblivious to context. As if there are no other people in the shopping mall to witness you picking your nose, soul-kissing your girlfriend, or discussing the fertility test via mobile phone. We hardly need a law, but if the lactivists can’t get a hedonist like me on board, they probably have a really hard time with the Focus on the Family crowd.

    My favorite saying regarding libertarianism is “don’t shit where you eat.” (e.g. no one would see a need for public nudity laws if no one ever took off their clothes in public). I was going to use this make a point, but it kind of takes on a funny double meaning in this context.

  36. Damn, Kelso ruined the streak we had going where no one accused any of us of being libertine and not libertarian.

  37. Yeah, the thread where you got “banned,” then only suspended, was good background reading for me.

    I found it the other day because of some of the recent speculation about formerly-active posters. Along with most on that long-ago thread, glad you made it back.

  38. I like anti-nudity laws, mainly because I have some seriously unattractive neighbors, but I must admit there’s no good, logical reason for them (it’s not as if I don’t have a good idea of what most people look like without their clothes anyway; my mom gave me a birds-and-the-bees book back when I was five). Likewise, I don’t really like to see women breast-feeding, but there’s no logical reason for this, and I’m not going to support a law whose sole purpose is to prevent me from having to feel uncomfortable.

  39. Oh, and Dave–thanks.

  40. “Back when I was banned for that twelve-hour period…”

    Jennifer:

    I remember Mona’s silly threats…but were you seriously banned from here for 12 hours? Or was that a joke that went over my head?

  41. …nursing mothers should compromise by using the ladies’ room.

    That doesn’t sound like a threat to me, but hey, I’m not the one forcing a business to allow breastfeeding am I?

  42. Matt–
    Long story, but no joke.

  43. Steven J. Kelso, Sr. (et al),

    Sorry, but there’s nothing libertine about breastfeeding, unless you’re a combination milf-sicko and voyeur. These people are insanely Puritan and egocentric to think that that bare tit has any relationship to them. Those whiners are the ones that need to exhibit some self-control. To wit: Look away and shut the fuck up.

  44. This is really a perfect example of where civlity (ie commonly-agreed upon rules of decorum) is more effective than law. To make a law about this is silly.

  45. Smacky-no, nothing libertine. But it’s still distastefull.

  46. Well thank you, smacky. I appreciate you deciding what we should all think and say. We bow to your wisdom. [clicks heels smartly]

  47. Libertine means unrestrained by convention or morality and I believe that the definition fits. If you are uncomfortable with that, maybe you should check yourself.

    Self-government means just that, the governance of self. Does every dot and tittle need to be regulated by the government?[pun intended]

  48. Actually, I bet it’s rather tasteful – to the baby. 🙂

    Steven,

    No, thank the Women Haters’ Assosciation for suggesting action against nursing mothers. As if they didn’t already have enough to deal with, let’s restrict them legally. I really don’t see how you think it’s so distasteful – as many other people already noted in this thread, and as I have witnessed – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a breastfeeding mother exposed unneccessarily, if at all. Secondly, I am asking the question: Distasteful to whom? A person must have a really weird mindset to find a problem with your typical nursing mother, who does not expose herself very much at all in public. I’m so tired of people who aren’t comfortable with their own sense of humanity and sexuality trying to tell other people how to behave. If you don’t like being in a public place, then stay home . No one will miss your Puritanical attitude.

    (Aside rant: My extra-big pet peeve is hypocrites who have no problem with teenage and other young girls dressing like total sluts, porn, and heavy makeup, but then who oppose nursing mothers in public.)

  49. I found the best way to deal with a woman breast feeding in public is to jump up and down while pointing and screaming like Chris Griffith , “Boobie! Boobie!”

  50. Libertine means unrestrained by convention or morality and I believe that the definition fits. If you are uncomfortable with that, maybe you should check yourself.

    Morality? Last I checked, giving a nursing mother a hard time and denying a baby food is more immoral than feeding a child. Sorry, but you lose on that one. Again, I am questioning your assumption that a bare breast is immoral, you dumb Puritan.

    As for convention — what is conventional? I thought breastfeeding in public is pretty conventional. Why would all these people have something to say on the matter otherwise? They wouldn’t, unless it was pretty common to see women doing this.
    If you don’t buy that arguement, then how about this one: what’s so wonderful about defending convention (i.e. “traditionalism”)? Is there some moral virtue in simply defending status quo? (Or “status quo” according to you?)

  51. Now you are restricting me to my home? What gives you the authority to make such a proclamation?

    Breast milk is much healthier than that canned or bottled crap; I encourage all mothers to breastfeed. Should the law say you can or you can’t breastfeed in public? Either way, it seems to me that you are breaking with libertarian principles–using the law to transform society in your image.

    I don’t think breastfeeding is distastefull in the slightest, but who am I to tell Sam Grocer or Sally Retailer? Are all business public property now?

  52. Just occurred to me–I’m surprised nobody’s arguing this on the grounds of sexism: men can go topless in public, why not women? (I know that in a couple of places the no-topless-women-in-public laws have in fact been rescinded.)

  53. Stephen-
    I see some online dictionaries do offer that definition of “libertine” but it’s pretty clearly an incomplete one: you wouldn’t use it to refer to someone who was unconventional or immoral in *any* sense (i.e. no competent English speaker would refer to a serial killer–immoral–or a mere eccentric–unconventional–as a “libertine” in virtue of just those properties). It’d be limited to those whose unconventionality was expressed specifically in some hedonistic, pleasure-seeking, sensualist way. And as smacky suggested, it seems misguided to assume there’s anything especially sensual about breast feeding just because nipples are involved.

  54. Tradition is a pearl that our fathers hand down to us. Do we keep it clean and shiney? Or do we cast it among swine?

    While I’m not Puritan, I wouldn’t trash them like you do. You wouldn’t be sitting in the freest country in the history of the world if it wasn’t for their search for the freedom to live as they chose.

    Be carefull with the gift you’ve been given; there is no law that say your freedom can’t be lost.

  55. Seriously,

    There is nothing wrong with nursing in public (Unless the child is three like the one next to me on a recent, socially awkward plane ride.) Just show a little consideration for those who aren’t that comfortable with it. Throw a blanket over your shoulder or at least give fair warning. Like it or not, we live in a repressed society; you can’t just whip out a tit and expect no one to react. Just because something is perfectly within your right to do doesn’t mean you shouldnt find a polite way to do it.

  56. Tradition is a pearl that our fathers hand down to us. Do we keep it clean and shiney? Or do we cast it among swine?

    Steven, arguing for something on the grounds that it’s traditional is basically the same as admitting you have no grounds here at all. Your argument could have been (and often was) used to block every bit of progress humanity has won since the Stone Age.

    Like I said before, I don’t like seeing women breast-feed, but I’m not going to support a law just so I don’t have to think, “Eeeew.”

  57. To add to my last post: I might support a no-breast-feeding law if someone gave me some good reasons for it, but “tradition” or “it offends people” just isn’t good enough.

  58. Steven J. Kelso,

    Well, now, don’t put words in my mouth.

    1.) I’m not “restricting” you to your home. I’m just saying, if people have such a problem with the usual things that go on in public, then there is always that option.
    2.) I never suggested making laws of *any* kind, even for pro-breastfeeding. No, I don’t believe pro-breastfeeding laws should be enforced on private property. If you own the business, go ahead and ban breastfeeding. The mothers who are nursing can (and will) just find somewhere else to shop.

    men can go topless in public, why not women?

    Jennifer,

    That is something that I never understood, especially as a young child. That double standard was reinforced to me at an early age: as a young sprout, I was quite a tomboy and would emulate my big brother in many ways. Sometimes he’d take his shirt off while playing in the summer, and I’d do the same. When we’d sit down to the dinner table as a family, my parents would insist that I put my shirt back on, but they’d let him keep his off. I protested to no end that if he got to keep his shirt off, then why couldn’t I?

    Eh, I still don’t really get it, I guess. Although strangely enough, the older I get, the less I understand women who can even walk around in bikini tops at water/amusement parks. It seems too overexposed for my taste (which could well have more to do with fashion than with puritanical objections). I guess I grew some shame at some point (probably after that last 20lbs. I put on after high school).

  59. Dave W.,

    Many perfer to remain free riders. 🙂

  60. Mr. Sanchez: While I agree that Libertine can’t be used in those cases you present, I believe that smacky proves my point by focusing on sex and nudity. I have made no such arguments; why am I being attacked as “Puritan?”

    As I said, I have no strong position either way. Nobody has disputed my property rights statements. Am I to gather from that that we are in fact dictating what people do on private property. Is this a libertarian principle?

  61. Smacky-
    You too? I remember once, when I was about seven, I emulated my dad and took off my shirt on a hot summer day. I didn’t get in trouble, but I put my shirt back on pretty fast because I was ticked off that my parents thought it was so goddamned funny.

    On the other hand, I personally benefited from this double standard in the past–in college and grad school I made SERIOUS money as a topless dancer, whereas if women were allowed to go topless in public I would’ve had to work as a waitress or something.

  62. Kelso,

    Arguments from tradition are inherently fallacious. We are a society of change. Get used to it.

    And arguing that I or any other person MUST worship my ancestors is a bit silly. Who is the authoritarian here? You!

  63. ralphus,

    Of course I am all for politeness. I’m not “pro-rude, self-centered asshole” or something.

    smacky proves my point by focusing on sex and nudity.

    Steven,

    1.) How have I proven your point? More importantly, what is your point? I thought you didn’t have a position. (Did gaius marius learn to type with capital letters or something?)

    2.) I am not focusing on sex and nudity(at least not on this thread). You are the one who misused a term denoting sexual and hedonistic freedom, and I was simply pointing out that breastfeeding does not (or at least according to my sexual morality, should not) fall into that category.

  64. It never ceases to amaze that whenever a weak argument is trounced that tradition becomes the last, thin reed upon which people make their stand.

    Anyway, as I understand it, basically the “tradition” of not breast feeding in public is from the 1930s onward.

  65. If we all did whatever we wanted in public, what kind of society would we have? While anarchy sounds good compared to the totalitarian offerings of the left, wouldn’t that be quite messy?

    There is no law that makes you stop cussing in the presence of a Rabbi, but isn’t that something we should do? Showing a little respect for other people’s beliefs is not a bad thing. It’s OK to to be nice. Especially if you are on a cellphone–nobody cares what you had for dinner last night or who you are sleeping with, be quiet!

    “Progress,” like truth, cane sometimes be hard to find. People who call themselves “progressive” are handing me an ideology that has been tried before, yet I’m satnding in the way of “progress?”

    There is no new evil (or good) under the sun.

  66. If we all did whatever we wanted in public, what kind of society would we have?

    Nobody is saying “do whatever you want in public;” we’re saying, “Don’t make laws that restrict behaviors which hurt nobody.” And being offended, or thinking “Oh, yuck,” does NOT count as being hurt.

  67. I would’ve had to work as a waitress or something.
    I worked as a waiter for many years and really enjoyed it. Worked damn hard at it too (a lot harder than I work now, that’s for sure). People have such an aversion to the very idea of waiting tables. What gives?

    Anyway, on topic, it is virtually impossible for a waiter to not notice a woman breastfeeding in a restaurant due to the angle of the table. Plus, you really are supposed to look at people at least initially when taking their order, so I’ve seen a bazillion mammaries being used as god intended in my lifetime. Not once was it ever the slightest bit arousing.
    Believe it or not, we did have complaints from other customers about it. I’m proud to say that my managers never gave an inch to those people. They didn’t even get a free dessert and that was almost an impossibility where I worked.

  68. Steven,

    Thanks for the profound post. I have a novel idea: let’s ban stupidity. (It won’t be easy).

  69. The only time public breastfeeding ever bothered me was the time a woman I was talking to at a party started feeding her ~5-yr-old son. Seriously.

    “Do you guys mind if I breastfeed?”

    “Oh, no, not at all” (thinking: where’s the baby?)

    Then this kid *walks* up to her, climbs into her lap, and she whips it out. Uncomfortable, to say the least.

  70. Steven,

    Cell-phone abuse is a thousand times more obnoxious than public breastfeeding and yet I would still oppose a law against it.

    Does that make me an anarchist? Pretty thin stuff there.

  71. Where do I look? Am I supposed to keep talking? Should I leave the room? What are the social protocols?

    “Nice tit.” Was probably out of the question, then?

  72. started feeding her ~5-yr-old son.

    Ok, now that’s just fucked up. Perverse is the more appropriate term.

  73. If your three month old is crying with hunger, you should display the discipline that is becoming for a woman, and make him wait until you get home to eat.

    I know you try REALLY hard to be witty, and in nothing else you get an A for effort as the wit rarely shines through, but you’ve heard of breast pumps, yes?

  74. started feeding her ~5-yr-old son

    EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

    Regarding the Puritanism of public breast-feeding, I have one thing to say. In Muslim countries, public breastfeeding is not uncommon. When you start out-Puritaining Muslim nations, you’ve gone too far.

  75. Your sexual morality rules? Nobody else matters? I don’t think it’s sexual (once again, you’re on that sex kick) but I respect how other people feel.

    Let us attack tradition, those fools who came before us new nothing! While I was not using tradition to defend my position, I will be more than happy to defend tradition. If you wish to overturn tradition, it is up to you to prove that a tradition is wrong. Why does red mean stop? Why Red, Yellow and green on stoplights? Beats the hell out of me. Now, it is tradition that these are so. This is how traditions begin. We except it as right that red means stop. The universe was created with red meaning stop!

    Tradition is the excepted way that the universe should be as of this point. Slavery’s a tradition? It’s wrong, change it! Should men treat women exactly the way that they treat other men? Tradition says no. Prove why it should not be so, but just claiming to be a “free-thinker” is not enough.

  76. smacky,

    I would never accuse you of being pro-rude. In fact I would like to join your pro-topless women in public movement. Do you have some literature you can send me? Preferably with pictures.

  77. This is really a perfect example of where civlity (ie commonly-agreed upon rules of decorum) is more effective than law. To make a law about this is silly.

    Agreed, but I don’t recall anyone calling for a law on this. In fact, the quote above (no link to the articel) is perfectly consistent with asking people to think beyond their own narrow, narcissistic little selves and show a little consideration for those around them who may not care to watch their rug rat slobbering and puking all over mama’s teat.

  78. Since you can only respond with name calling smacky, I accept your admission of defeat.

    PS: in some cultures, it is common for older children to breastfeed. Yet you find this “perverse?” Hmmm…sounds familiar, now where did I hear that argument before? Oh yea, that was the point of the post, making fun of people who find public breast feeding “yucky?”

    mk: I agree, cell phones should not be banned by the government. Thank you for fighting an argument that wasn’t made.

  79. That doesn’t sound like a threat to me, but hey, I’m not the one forcing a business to allow breastfeeding am I?

    This is my problem with it. If I own a restaurant, I don’t want ANYONE flopping their tits on the table, not just pregnant women. I have a no shirt policy in effect for good reason – no one wants to see what most people have under there — it makes the dining atmosphere and experience excatly the opposite of what I’m going for.

  80. The governor of Ohio signed last week a law allowing breast feeding in public. Businesses that break the law will be fined.

    Who’s telling who what to do?

  81. Who’s telling who what to do?

    The government is telling everybody what to do as usual.

  82. gaius marius is curiously absent from this thread, which seems tailor-made for his musings on the (deserved) decline and fall of Western Civ due to the erosion of traditional yadda yadda.

  83. There is nothing wrong with nursing in public (Unless the child is three like the one next to me on a recent, socially awkward plane ride.) Just show a little consideration for those who aren’t that comfortable with it. Throw a blanket over your shoulder or at least give fair warning. Like it or not, we live in a repressed society; you can’t just whip out a tit and expect no one to react. Just because something is perfectly within your right to do doesn’t mean you shouldnt find a polite way to do it.

    I don’t mind babies nursing in public either, but I do respect the rights of private business to make the choice. If I own a business and don’t find it acceptable to have that activity going on, you’d best head out to the car to feed the hog.

  84. If you wish to overturn tradition, it is up to you to prove that a tradition is wrong.

    Steven,

    See my above posts regarding my defense of lactating mothers. The fact that I have to come to the defense of (mostly) considerate, harmless people says something, I think. Yes, I believe my posts above state clearly why I don’t approve of the tradition of lambasting unsuspecting women for (in most cases) no good reason.

    To all of the crybaby men who don’t like to look at “non-attractive” breastfeeding moms and insist on complaining about it: grow up, for most of you, the third grade happened a long time ago, so you shouldn’t be acting like fussy 8-year-olds. (You are also probably the type of “progressives” who think there should be laws forcing stewardesses and other female public workers to wear makeup).

    To reiterate: I never supported any legislation of any kind, pro- or anti-breastfeeding.

  85. Mr. Kelso – Red probably means stop because red is a universal biological warning/showoff color. When you see red, you stop, especially when that red is on a snake, or a tree frog, or a spider, et cetera, et cetera.
    Secondly… I think breastfeeding older children is perverse. I don’t want to see it. However, I also don’t want to see it banned. Oh my God! I don’t need my personal preferences imposed on everyone else? I must be one queer duck in your mind.
    I guess the bottom line is, there’s a big difference between being uncomfortable around an activity and going “eeeeeewwwww…” and being uncomfortable around an activity and saying, “Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick, we need a law to protect my virgin eyes from the unspeakable mammarian evil that walks among us!”

  86. RC,
    I like to think that Gaius took the summer off to conquer Gaul or take a tour of the provinces.

  87. Since you can only respond with name calling smacky, I accept your admission of defeat.

    PS: in some cultures, it is common for older children to breastfeed. Yet you find this “perverse?” Hmmm…sounds familiar, now where did I hear that argument before? Oh yea, that was the point of the post, making fun of people who find public breast feeding “yucky?”

    Who’s namecalling? Breastfeeding a five-year-old child is scientifically perverse . Human children grow teeth at a certain age because nature expects them to stop feeding on their mother. It’s basic science. Cultural arguements are irrelevant. For quoting Latin, Steven, you sure as hell don’t know your word etymologies.

  88. Kelso,

    While I was not using tradition to defend my position…

    Actually you were. And of course “tradition” is on the side of the breast feeders. Do you realize many tens of thousands of years people have been publicly breast feeding their children? Take a class in human evolutionary development.

    As to the Ohio law, I believe you are confusing what Ohio has done with the free choice that some of us are advocating. But hey, you can continue to drag in inapposite all day if you like.

    R.C. Dean,

    Those who are uncomfortable with breast feeding are the narcissitic ones.

  89. Those who are uncomfortable with breast feeding are the narcissitic ones.

    It’s true. People like that think the world centers around their sexual arousal or social approval. Bulletin to the overgrown children of the world : It’s not “All About You, All The Time”. (Just in case your parents never told you that).

  90. I do think a private business can handle it how they want. If they want to be uptight it’s within their right to alienate a customer.

    Overall I find the people who get worked up about this stuff as annoying as the women who treat breast-feeding like it’s a feminist statement. If you want to do it do it and don’t make a big deal out of it. If you don’t like it ignore it and don’t make a big deal out of it. Whatever your opinion, we certainly don’t need a law preventing or protecting public breast-feeding.

    I would however support a law that bans the taking of umbrage.

  91. Tossing a breastfeeding woman out of a business is bound to be much more of a spectacle than letting her go quietly about her business.

  92. I’m with RC Dean, here. I’m opposed to a law either in favor of or in opposition to breast feeding. Still, I don’t want to see it. And before someone begans the ‘puritan’ harrangue, it’s not about sex.

    If women insist on breast-feeding in public, I’ll simply turn away and go elsewhere. But I’d prefer it if civility prevailed here, and they found someplace private to suckle their offspring.

  93. Smacky,
    Heh, don’t try running for office with an attitude like that.

  94. Speaking of civility and social behavior and such, exactly when did the parents in this country abandon any pretense of controlling their children? Blithely unconcerned while their caterwauling rug-monkeys run amuck. Instead of outlawing breast feeding, let’s outlaw children in public, period.

  95. Number 6,
    What if it’s private after you leave.

  96. Mr. Howley,
    Some topics beg for visual aids and photographs.
    In this case it’s me that is begging.

    How can I make up my mind without visual examples?

  97. Smacky,
    Heh, don’t try running for office with an attitude like that.

    An attitude like what?

    (Oh no you di’in’t! Oh no you di’in’t!)

    And why would I want to run for public office? To swindle the American public some more? No thanks, I’m a libertarian.

  98. Jennifer wrote:
    On the other hand, I personally benefited from this double standard in the past–in college and grad school I made SERIOUS money as a topless dancer

    I always thought the stripper/topless dancer making money while in college/grad school was an urban legend. The things you learn here…

    Since SJK Sr. seems to have great respect for tradition, I nominate him as Gaius Marius’ fill-in on this thread.

  99. Thanks for the debate; I’m glad to see my libertine argument proven true by so many of you. Talk about sore winners. You will not be satisfied until everybody agrees with you, and for the same reasons!!! What totalitarian impulses.

    Not once have I advocated government involvement, yet you’d think I wanted to turn the USA into the Vatican (without the buggery of little boys.)

    Breastfeeding in public is a tradition? Funny, I never remember seeing it much before. This is America, not some hut village in the 3rd world (the “progressives” are trying, though.)

    I see nothing in science that says a child can’t breastfeed AND eat food. Babies eat out of those little jars and then wash it all down.

  100. Yes, Kelso, you’re right. Us nasty libertarians are all about freedom, and if you don’t want to be free, by God, we’ll put a pistol to your head and make you free.

  101. “Human children grow teeth at a certain age because nature expects them to stop feeding on their mother.”

    In fact, babies can nurse for quite some time after they acquire teeth. Usually they avoid biting their mother (though my wife had some very painful episodes when our last would chomp down just as he was falling asleep). In the Second Book of Maccabees, the mother of the seven martyred brothers speaks to one of her children and mentions that she had nursed him for three years (2 Mac. 7:27). Our children generally weaned by age three (though by that time, and for months earlier, they had only been nursing for comfort and to help them fall asleep).

  102. Uh, mediageek–I am a libertarian.

  103. Seamus,

    I believe everything you say. But the child in question was 5! Not 3.

    As an aside, whoa! — Kelso, if you look anything like the pic that mediageek posted, then I would sincerely like to apologize for arguing with you by taking you out for dinner. Better yet, I’ll make it for you. Say, 8pm, my place? (I think I can dig up some lactation pills somewhere before then).

  104. smacky (what an appropriate name for this thread!),

    “Breastfeeding a five-year-old child is scientifically perverse.”

    I can’t vouch for it’s veracity, but I read that hunter-gatherer cultures commonly breastfeed until 4 or 5.

    At any rate, breastfeeding can be done very discreetly by covering the shoulder with a cloth – nobody need even see the baby. I know because my wife did this with our kids many times in public. Nobody was the wiser.

  105. It may come as news to the Independent Women’s Forum, but many women are able to breastfeed their children fairly modestly.

    Public policy blowhards are not human, and therefore everything about human behavior comes as news to them.

  106. Tossing a breastfeeding woman out of a business is bound to be much more of a spectacle than letting her go quietly about her business.

    Yet well within their right to do so.

  107. “I believe everything you say. But the child in question was 5! Not 3.”

    Well, in that case, your argument from the presence of teeth proves too much, as it would make nursing three-year olds as “scientifically perverse” as the nursing of five-year-olds.

  108. “If we all did whatever we wanted in public, what kind of society would we have?”

    I think we’d call that a free society, sir.

  109. Yet well within their right to do so.

    Except apparently in Ohio… But businesses certainly make silly policies everyday.

  110. A free society? Really? You let some of the kids in the neighborhood spend a fews hours with you without supervision in an movie and restaurant and then tell me how “free” you feel.

    Liberty–no; Libertine–yes

  111. Uh, mediageek–I am a libertarian.

    Perhaps I misunderstood, but weren’t you all for cracking down on mothers breastfeeding?

    Regardless, you can thank me later after dinner with smacky.

  112. There’s a very well-researched chapter on breastfeeding in Edward Tenner’s book, Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity, which discusses the extensive benefits to both mother and child in terms of growth, prospects for childhood and adult health, immunities and obesity, and remarks upon the fact that primate studies generally link weaning to the emergence of the first permanent molar, for which the median age is 5.5-6 years old. Take that for what you will.

    Expecting breastfeeding mothers to limit feeding their children to a) the home or b) a room where people piss and shit is just reactionary puritan stupidity.

  113. mediageek: thanks, but no–I was not. I was challenging the bigotry of the “enlightend” left-wing libertine.

    As for dinner, my wife has been pregnant 7 times; it seems like she’s been pregnant for most of our marriage–take those pills early, I’m thirsty.

  114. I was challenging the bigotry of the “enlightend” left-wing libertine.

    So thinking that a woman SHOULD be allowed to breastfeed in public (even though I personally do not like to see it) makes me a bigot?

  115. “A free society? Really? You let some of the kids in the neighborhood spend a fews hours with you without supervision in an movie and restaurant and then tell me how “free” you feel.”

    I managed a restaurant in my youth. The closest I ever got to fired was one night when the owner came and saw some kids runnin’ around. I learned quick, the policy was, if kids are runnin’ around annoying other customers, the waiters should converge on the table remove everything, and, at the same time, the manager should ask their parents to leave and to never come back.

    …A lot of people have been wonderin’ lately why movie ticket sales are down. …maybe it’s all the freakin’ kids talkin’ etc. during the movie? I suspect the theatre chains think as much, ’cause Cinema de Lux charges enough to keep most kids out now–and their attendance numbers are just fine–and if you talk during the film, security will walk you right out of the place. …Ditto a General Cinemas theatre I went to last weekend–they had a security member, before the movie started, explain that if someone talked during the movie, and it bothered you, you should raise your hand, and a security guard will come to assist you. …and a Security guard stood there in the theater the whole movie long.

    You don’t think the solutions to annoying children in restaurants and obnoxious teenagers in theatres is another law, do you?

  116. Jennifer: no.

    Tom Crick: No, as with most things, we should create a society where we sometimes curb our own passions in public instead of doing whatever we want. Time was, parents took better care of that kids. That tradition has been replaced with touch-feely left-wing drival. But as we’ve learned today, traditions suck.

    But hey, if it feels good-do it (and do it wherever you want, no matter what your neighbor thinks!) Who are you to say those kids can’t be free?

  117. Mr Kelso is like gaius, what with the tradition and all. (Just an inside joke for the faithful, Mr Kelso, not trying to take a jab at you.)

    Mr Kelso – I don’t think traditions suck, per se, but I think that believing they are a panacea is incorrect, as well. As I like to tell gaius, it’s all about personal responsibility, not about doing something polite because it’s ‘traditional’ to do so.

    But I see you’re not calling for any laws being passed to stop public breastfeeding, you’re just asking if it needs to be done. And what I think is that it’ll depend on who and where. And isn’t that what a lot of things should boil down to? I mean, if it’s offencive to you, avert your eyes, or leave, or even ask politely “can you please breastfeed your child somewhere else, it’s making me uncomfortable”. (And yes, I know that some people would get all indignant, but fuck ’em…a big problem in this society is that people won’t communicate and get all passive/aggressive and complicate the matter.)

    People should police themselves, for the most part, especially when it comes to social situations that are ambiguous, at best, like breastfeeding your child.

  118. I mean, if it’s offencive to you, avert your eyes, or leave, or even ask politely “can you please breastfeed your child somewhere else, it’s making me uncomfortable”.

    I swear to Dog, if I were a woman, and was breastfeeding my baby, and somebody said that to me, I’d punch ’em right in the fuckin’ mouth. No ifs, ands, or buts. If they’re uncomfortable, they can leave, as long as the mother is being undemonstrative and polite. Christ, people, it’s a child, eating. I mean, what the heck?

  119. Coming late to this long thread, I first had to search for Mona. Danged if Jennifer hadn’t used her name in vain. Well this antequated equipment I have here will only find one instance, so, thanks to Jennifer, I had to scan through the remainder by hand, as it were.

    No matter. While I was slowly scrolling down, I got to thinking this is an issue of aesthetics, something joe is an expert on. (I’d now search for “joe,” if I could.)

    Anyhow, joe, isn’t this issue of a piece with urban renewal and fashions in architecture, and so on …?
    I mean one man’s “yuck” is another man’s “hubba-hubba,” right?
    The money my city spends to clean up after it’s residents right around me here is incredible. A certain (high) level of litter is a thing of beauty to my neighbors, and government is just frustrating them… wasting my tax dollars to do so.

    Related thought: Is above mentality killing “Hooters” as a restaurant chain?

  120. An attitude like what?
    I was just making the point that “People like that think the world centers around their sexual arousal or social approval.” would constitute the majority of the voting public and they don’t like being told to grow up. You got no argument from me.

    Anyway, your revulsion at the thought of running for office would be one of the reasons why I would vote for you.

  121. Ha! Phil just proved that I was correct in assuming some people would become indignant. Which is why I put in my disclaimer.

    For the record, Phil, I completely agree with what you said. Although I still submit that people aren’t communicative enough. Like if someone’s pissing you off, shouldn’t you be able to say so without getting punched in the mouth? When I said what I said, I was mainly thinking about being somewhere where you couldn’t get away, like on a long train, bus, or plane ride.

    But now that I’m writing, I realise that I could really care less about someone breastfeeding in public (or, I should say, I realise that I remembered I could care less). I just like to argue that there shouldn’t be laws passed whenever I get the chance! 🙂

  122. Related thought: Is above mentality killing “Hooters” as a restaurant chain?

    No. The fact they can’t even build a sandwich properly is what’s killing them.

  123. I think perhaps it’s time for the lecture again.

    YES. We know that private property owners should be able to do whatever they damn well please on their property. If I want to operate a restaraunt, and I don’t want women to be breastfeeding in common public areas, I should have the right to kick them out on their matronly ass (or, perhaps, charge them for the privilege of breastfeeding in the dining room. how much is it worth to you, lady?).

    BUT. Just because a business owner is well within his right to do as he pleases with his own property, doesn’t mean that we, even though we’re libertarians, have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him and approve of every decision he makes, no matter how ridiculous or closed-minded. In fact, we can even publicly DISAPPOVE of his actions, and perhaps even ridicule them. Really, if we disagree with them, we SHOULD voice our disapproval and contempt, because, as good libertarians, we know that the way to effect a change is not through compulsion, but through persuasion and voting with our pocketbooks.

    So, yeah. We realize that a restaraunt owner can, if he so pleases, restrict breastfeeding to restrooms or other non-public areas. Shouldn’t keep us from pointing out that it’s a damn fool rule based on nothing but either misguided Puritanism or just too much of an “eww, icky” reflex.

  124. I’d say that anyone who feels threatened or is offended by a mother nursing a baby must have a psychic railroad tie stuck up his/her ass.

    Just don’t look! It’s that easy.

  125. Lowdog: No harm; no foul. Don’t be so dismissive of tradition; you may find one of your favorites dissapears one day without even realizing it.

    Steven Crane: Yes! Exactly the correct way to deal with most situations. There should be a law against people who say “there should be a law.” 🙂

  126. Jenna, I mean Jennifer,
    You were banned for 12 hours? Do tell.

    Smacky you can walk around my house topless all you want. I love boobies. Skip the lactating pills though.

    I don’t know how I feel about a hot chick whipping out her boobie to feed her kid right in front of me. I am not sure if it is arousing or not. In a way it could be. The age of the kid is irrelevant. It would be kind of weird if the husband started sucking tit right in front of me.

  127. MK
    “People have such an aversion to the very idea of waiting tables. What gives?”

    I tried working as a waitor. It didn’t work though, I didn’t have the temperament.

  128. Jen,
    Do you and Mona have a history other than the “grab my buttocks” thread?

  129. Kwais-
    I don’t even remember the “grab my buttocks” thread, so I honestly can’t say. I was just being snarky; Mona used to threaten subscription cancellation with the same regularity most people reserve for changing their socks, and then in that thread a few days ago (which I read, but in which I did not participate since I had nothing to say) she griped about posts filled with sexual comments and me; it was the thread where you asked her why my name was mentioned but she didn’t answer. So when Stevo made that comment of his I made a joking response in turn.

    These threads are starting to have as much back story as an epic novel. There’s even character development, as in the case of the California professional student turned East Coast scientist.

    MK-
    I personally have an aversion to waitressing because A) I don’t have the temperament; B) the money’s a LOT better as a dancer; and C) if you’re a waitress and a jerk sits in your section you have no choice but to deal with him, but if you’re a dancer and a jerk walks in you can just move to a less jerk-intensive part of the stage.

  130. There’s even character development, as in the case of the California professional student turned East Coast scientist.

    But the best character development has been the French Marine turned law student in Vermont now resurrected as NC soon to be lawyer. And in all incarnations a thing for Civil War fantasies.

  131. Bar Harbor-
    I’d actually thought about mentioning him, but in most novels, “death and reincarnation” is not the same thing as “character development.”

  132. Jennifer

    Ah, yes. My mistake. Not so much character development as intriguing narrative, what?

  133. I do notice, however, that the reincarnation of Gary seems a lot nicer to me than Gary the original. Which suggests that not only is there an afterlife, but that people who spend time in the afterlife come back more kindly predisposed toward Yours Truly.

    As an atheist, I honestly don’t know what to make of such metaphysical conundrums. On the other hand, I myself was Banned for Life for Twelve Hours, so the fact that I’m posting here now suggests that even atheists can be Born Again.

  134. Lowdog: No harm; no foul. Don’t be so dismissive of tradition; you may find one of your favorites dissapears one day without even realizing it.

    You killed Gaius!!!

    Jennifer,

    Who is Gary reincarnated? How have I not noticed this? Which poster is it? And why were you banned for twelve hours, and when was this? And where is the post where Mona was complaining about the sexual innuendoes? Sorry for all the questions.

  135. I just sent an email to Jen and Mo about said French Marine. I didn’t want to blow his cover.

    I wonder if I could do a better job about concealing who I am. I think I could.

    All he would have to do is spend 3 or more posts without talking about how great France is. He could still demonstrate a knowlede of history, there are many knowledgable people on this site.

    I wanted to ask the identity question to Dr T, but he has a fake email address.

    He should get a real emai address so that I can send him email questions about the identity of posters, and Smacky should get a real email address so that I can stalk her and send her naked pictures of myself.

    Just kidding.

    BTW, Jen, that post where I asked Mona why she didn’t like you, was not the “Grab Buttocks” one, it was the one above it, the “Londonstan” one. I think.

  136. Smacky,

    See the posts by Hakluyt. Sometimes if think it is, sometimes not. Although if it is, he must be on sedatives now.

  137. Someday I might actually get off my lazy ass and create a real email address for H&R. Someday.

    Ah, sweet lethargy.

  138. Maybe law school improves people. It helped me learn to think better.

  139. Jenn-
    Interesting point on the “back story”. Perhaps libertarians are not as anti-social, self-absorbed, cold-hearted, and misanthropic as generally believed (with the possible exception of Sam). While the two major political parties are pursuing the “big tent” strategy to expand their voter base, we libertarians tend to remain in our isolated pup tents. The fact that we enjoy each others’ company, even at the arm’s length of the Internet, gives some hope that we can become a more popular movement without falling prey to mindless collectivism.

    On the subject of breastfeeding – it is nobody’s business except for the mother’s (while acknowledging the right of private property owners to control their premises). I resent having to feed my little ones (technically “headlight feeding”) in the garage area or in back of the parking lot – but I yield to the wishes of the parking lot owner.

  140. thoreau had theorized that Hakluyt is GG/JB/M/JB. Since he was the first to crack the JB/GG nut, I will concede to his observation. If it is, it’s good to have his more polite version back.

    Like kwais, I think I could hide it better. I’d have to keep my head down in any MidEast culture thread or anything regarding Egypt, but I’m sure I could mange.

  141. “I don’t mind babies nursing in public either, but I do respect the rights of private business to make the choice.”

    Let’s count this as my perfunctory comment on the capacity for individuals to have their liberty intruded on by private parties, not just the government.

    Somebody post a perfunctory denunciation based on defining your conclusion, and that’ll be that.

  142. Mo,

    I think thoreau is right about Hakluyt/GG. If you look for one of the threads about France nearby, you’ll see he is knowledgeable about all things France. Plus, he did a triple post! And he uses those leering smiley faces. 🙂

  143. As an aside, couldn’t he have picked an easier-to-spell/remember handle? Hakluyt? I predict I’m going to misspell that a lot. What’s up with all the double vowels in people’s names, anyway?

    Keep it simple, smacky, says I.

  144. I was thinkin’ he might be back, and if he is–here’s to him!

  145. it’s good to have his more polite version back.

    Really, you think so? I almost prefer his rude, temper-tantrum version. Better he be fiesty than lobotomized, says I.

    Yarrghh, why am I posting in pirate-speak today?

  146. I think I saw something that indicated he was taking his lithium regularly.

  147. I was standing in line at a La Salsa at a mall once when a woman standing in front of me was breastfeeding her baby. Yes, I said standing in line.

    I don’t want to watch your baby sucking on your tit in public. It’s disgusting, especially at a restaurant. The thought of breast milk (bodily fluid) accidentally dripping on the table is disgusting. (BTW I’m female)

    I guess common courtesy doesn’t mean anything anymore.

  148. we’ll be sure to consult with you to get a universal, blanket measure of “courtesy” based on your views before acting next time. how’s that?

  149. I’ll make a deal – to the extent that mothers feel they should be able to breastfeed anywhere, at anytime, without any attempt to maintain a bit of privacy, I will deal with my mighty dripping sinuses anywhere, at anytime, without any attempt to maintain a bit of privacy.

    Isn’t that fair? What could be more natural than trying to free yourself from the snotty horror of allergies?

  150. I just made this big long post in reply to passingthru, and it’s gone. Gone! Dammit. All these wasted years.

    As I tried to reply a moment ago: I think passingthru has a point concerning hygeine, contamination, and disease transmission. In fact, I think certain diseases (H.I.V., for example), are transmittable through breast milk. Still, I’d like to qualify my earlier arguements by reminding you that I was defending people who use their sense of common courtesy and logic when choosing a place to feed their baby. I’m not advocating breastfeeding near a contaminable food area, or during a presentation that the mother is giving, or at the top of the big hill on a roller coaster. I don’t really want breast dribble in my nachos, either.

  151. This whole thread is based on a mistaken premise. The majority of social conservatives have acted as Ms. Howley would have wanted and supported the lactivists. Ms. Lucas is an exception. Public breastfeeding has been endorsed by Michelle Malkin, for heaven’s sake, and if I had the time I could link to about a dozen devout Catholics denouncing bottle feeding as symptomatic of anti-“culture of life” mentality.

  152. I think, a lot of fuss is being made of a small problem.

    Nursing mothers has to keep with them a long piece of cloth with them, so that they can cover up and feed the baby. Here in india, most Nursing mothers travel in public without any problem and this is never any issue here.

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