Ah, nothing like a ‘breastfeeding mother who knows her rights’ to get the old media cogs whirring.
This morning, we hear about a woman who is intending to sue a leisure centre for politely suggesting she might choose to step out of the swimming pool (while the wave machine was on) and breastfeed her child on a chair nearby, instead.
So outraged was Abbie Stoker, 27, at this suggestion, she plans to sue Pendle Wavelengths pool in Nelson, Lancashire, for the tidy sum of £20,000 because the incident was ‘not handled in a positive way’.
Yes, According to the Equality Act 2010 it is ‘unlawful for any business to discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding a child’ – but, what kind of attention-seeking, lunatic chooses to whack a boob out in the middle of a busy swimming pool rather than in a slightly more discreet, and damn sight more comfortable location nearby, in the first place?
What next, pissing on the pavement because ‘it’s my body and I can do what I want with it!’ walking your child naked to school because ‘I won’t let the patriarchy dictate how I choose to cover my body!’
Sure, you know your rights as a woman, as a mother, as someone who claims to be completely oblivious to the fact that people could see breasts in public as anything other than mammary glands to feed a child – but really? in a swimming pool (with a wave machine)??
And that comes from a person who exclusively breast feed for six months.
I get it, there are times and situations where the alternative to breastfeeding in public is a screaming baby, and I would have been the first to kick up a fuss at having to leave a restaurant to sit in a disabled loo with nothing but half a glass of Prosecco and a hungry enfant hanging off my tit to keep me company *but* there is a middle ground in the whole breastfeeding debate – sure, breastfeed when you need to but … cover yourself up.
There is no reason at all why you need to have a fully exposed nipple out in the middle of a restaurant. Or your double D’s being chomped on in the middle of a public swimming pool – and what is ‘completely natural to you’ can be a little bit over exposed to others.
It’s about being an adult, and respecting what other people do and do not feel they want to see in a public environment, which they are as entitled to be in as you are.
I am yet to meet a person who objects to breastfeeding per say, but can understand why, when tucking into your main course, a pair of tits on the table next to you could be distracted.
Point blank refusing to cover up isn’t about women’s liberation and defending the rights of a mother it’s about angry entitlement, another passive aggressive protest at not being shut down by men! Not being silenced by the patriarchy!
The leisure centre in question, maintain that it was a health and safety issue, and that, should the child have been sick in the pool (yikes) or had there been a leakage of breast milk (double yikes) the pool would have had to be emptied and cleared.
But for some angry tit-wielding mums that’s not enough of a reason.
A perfectly logical explanation for asking a breastfeeding mother to find an alternative place to feed her child isn’t about health and safety it’s about being denying the right to use her body for what it’s intended, regardless of where she is.
Nobody is asking her to sit in the bogs on her own for half an hour, they’re simply asking her to be considerate of the health and safety of herself, her child and those sharing the environment with them.
This story has nothing to do with female empowerment or nurturing a child, it’s about attention seeking, greed and selling your story to the highest bidder.
Abbie Stoker – you’re an embarrassment to mothers.