Like so many things going on in modern society, this is something which really shouldn’t have to be said out loud let alone require dedicated column space to espouse. Yet it fits with the current theme of selfish entitlement. The old rules of common sense and common decency don’t apply, because I’m a special snowflake who’s immediate needs and gratification matter more than the entirety of the rest of society. If you disagree, then you’re not someone raising a reasonable objection based on the whole of history up to just last minute, you’re a hater of everyone and everything vaguely associated with me and my activity. And thus we come to bombarding of social media with shouting about public breastfeeding which must begin with an obligatory statement about how I do not hate women and want them to suffer horrible degradation and shame, nor do I hate children and want them to starve and die. Because those are, apparently, the only two choices in the world in which we live.
It’s hard to fathom what could constitute a “traumatic breastfeeding experience” in the US, but today anything short of wholehearted approval and full-throated endorsement is treated as an assault, so the sky’s the limit. Moreover, the appropriate response of anything short of said approval and endorsement seems to be to go on an expletive laced rant so that someone can make a meme about it and you can be praised all across social media for shaming and humiliating someone who was “shaming.” But if you really want to make the ladies of Cosmo gush you’re going to have to step up your game:
“Thankfully, our breastfeeding hero mom knew the law (it’s against U.K. law to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place) and so she told the other lady to “fuck off” and then — and this is amazing — squirted breastmilk in her direction. OMG, someone give this woman all the awards because she is THE BEST.”
And never fear a backlash, if someone politely asks you to not whip out your boob in a crowded eatery, a mob of boob flashers will descend to make their voices heard. There are whole organizations making sure you’re “protected” from, we can only assume, hurt feelings from polite disagreements. There’s even an organization dedicated to the most important issue facing our military: ensuring the “male-dominated, war-fighting culture of the military” is more friendly toward public breastfeeding.
Yet literally the Exact. Same. People. “shame” and humiliate and ridicule anti-vaxxers. Now, clearly, there’s a big difference in circumstances since someone not vaccinating their children against easily preventable disease can have a serious, even deadly, impact on a third party. However, more things that shouldn’t need to be said, that’s what an analogy is; making a comparison for illustrative purposes not to declare an exact correlation. In this case, the principle motivation is the same: my life is more important than anything else, and if anyone says differently they’re an evil hater who wants to harm me and my children. See the correlation?
If that’s still troubling, let’s try another illustration. The numerous memes with a photo of a breastfeeding mother next to a photo of a woman in a skimpy bikini are utterly absurd. It’s a matter of decency and appropriateness; there are those who think they’re problematic in general, but a skimpy bikini while lounging in a park, restaurant, etc would certainly draw sideways glances if not requests to cover up. Furthermore, “it’s a natural body function” is as true as it is for expelling waste. So we now must allow someone to pop a squat in the park to take care of business, and if you say something you’re a “hater” who’s “poop shaming.” So long as they use the little doggy bags to clean up after themselves, what’s the harm, right? Though I now regret the point because such talk of absurd double standards are now leading to women being drafted rather than illustrating the absurdity of the original point.
The point here is simple: “there are other human beings schlepping this pebble.” So have a little common courtesy and decency and respect others while you’re in a public place. If that means you can’t frequent public places as much, that’s part of being a parent and having another human being wholly dependent on you for its survival. If it means that you have to be slightly inconvenienced to accommodate everyone else, that’s called basic decency and is, quite literally, the least you can do.