I’m currently sitting in a cafe beside a sea of breastfeeding mums, chatting away to each other, enjoying precious bonding time with their babies.
It’s magical and because it’s so fleeting, I feel a pang of nostalgia, remembering the wonderful ten months I spent feeding my now four-year-old daughter.
Suffice to say, they are minding their own business, and everyone around is minding theirs, ordering coffee, living their lives, not gawking at them or giving a damn.
If someone were to interject by insisting they ‘put them away,’ it would be totally uncalled for.
But, in reality how often has that actually happened in Western liberal nations? I was never asked to cover up or hide in a darkened toilet with nothing but some door graffiti for comfort and neither was anyone I know.
In the impossibly rare occasions where a breastfeeding mother is asked to be discreet, it’s on CNN within the hour and a radicalised mob take to the internet declaring war on the capitalist white patriarchy in upper-case, even if they don’t have children themselves.
Only last week, American woman, Shelby Angel posted on social media, that she was nursing her toddler on a KLM flight when a member of staff asked her to cover up.
Her response was predictably measured. “Here’s a warning to all breastfeeding moms. Do NOT fly with KLM.” I read on to see what else had happened. Did they ask her to hide her in with the luggage down below? No, she was approached by a flight attendant ‘carrying a blanket.’
I’d be annoyed. Any woman would. Clearly the flight attendant was following protocol, but he or she may live to regret it.
In a statement, KLM insisted that it is ‘an international airline company,’ transporting ‘passengers from ‘a variety of backgrounds.’ So clearly the Dutch airline was just trying to appease people on board who aren’t as liberal as the rest of us.
It’s kind of ironic that the PC warriors usually don’t want to offend the conservative minorities, as it would be deemed racist or islamophobic, but when it comes to maternal narcissism, different rules apply.
Needless to say female columnists, politicians and online commentators saw this blatant disregard for a feeding mother as an opportunity to score gender points during silly season.
The old favourites were togged out. Terms like “sexualisation of women,” “degrading,” “shrouding,” “Our bodies are “vehicles of shame,” and #boycottklm were thrown around. UK Labour MP Stella Creasy said; “Come to the Netherlands where there’s a red light district and dope is on tap, but god forbid a woman feed a baby in public.”
Nell Frizell wrote in ‘The Hysterical Grievance Feminism News,’ also known as The Guardian, “As of this week anyone asked to cover up while breastfeeding on a KLM flight can now walk bare breasted across the plane, milk flying into the air, their baby howling at their shoulder etc.”
Exaggerate much? One person said something and there’s a feeding frenzy. Thats not like modern women. Maybe we should just travel to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, plant ourselves at the top of a runway breastfeeding our seven-year-old children, cause pandemonium, and stick our two fingers and breasts to the evil patriarchy.
The laborious gender war has reached a new level of immaturity in what seems to have become ID political auction. I’m mortified on behalf of the women who just get on with it- and that’s most of us by the way.
If it’s equality we want when it comes to procreation and all it entails, men too should be able to donate sperm whenever they have to. It’s ‘natural’ after all and more in demand than ever.
What about giving birth, thats natural too so why not have glass covered birthing cubicles in public spaces? We live in times of oversharing everything, so it’s the obvious next step?
Having a baby, which we’ve been doing since the beginning of time, seems to carry a reward with it these days, and the frenzied glorification of motherhood gives us an opportunity to tear up the ‘rule book.’
Like Australian Senator Larissa Waters, who became the first politician to breastfeed in parliament when she fed two-month-old daughter Alia Joy in 2017.
“So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament. We need more #women & parents in Parliament…”
“It’s frankly ridiculous, really, that feeding one’s baby is international news,” she continued.
Really? Is that not what you wanted? Whatever about your policies. lets make everything about being a mother.
In 2001 Speaker of the UK House of Commons Betty Boothroyd said, “You wouldn’t start feeding your child if you worked on a supermarket check-out.”
Well clearly according to the important one percent of ‘am mother will shouters’ we should be able to feed our babies everywhere, -while driving, downhill skiing, playing tennis, or giving speeches. ‘If I want to feed my child in boardrooms and parliament hanging off my exposed breast. I dare you to say boo.”
I know the offended ladies are few and far between, but for those who are, I’d just like to remind you that female life in western cultures is not a competition. We won. We have equality. Stop making fools of us.
Women are already in parliament – on maternity leave for six months, so what were you doing with your child in work so soon?
You breastfeed, wonderful. Enjoy every minute of it, don’t go looking for brownie points. You’re cool. It’s such a short lived experience. And in the highly unlikely event of someone having a problem with it, tell them to piss off and move on.