Extreme Debate Makeover: Public breastfeeding edition

I have a real distaste for bad debate. It’s such a good and enjoyable pastime, debate, and an opponent who chooses to fall back on tired, flaccid arguments really tarnishes the joy of the sport.

Like the story of Natalie Hegedus, the woman who was dressed down in front of a courtroom for breastfeeding. There’s so much to talk about! Was the bailiff or the judge worse behaved? How much authority does a judge have over the running of his/her courtroom, and does it at any point overtake a woman’s right to breastfeed publicly? And shouldn’t a courtroom built for taxpayers using taxpayer funds be more taxpayer-friendly?

Alas, no. All we get are the same old arguments: Not in public! She should have pumped! She should have gone to the bathroom! Why did she have her kid there in the first place? Boobies are disruptive! Et cetera, ad infinitum. Come on, people! Where’s your spark? Where’s your creativity? Argue it like you mean it!

Feministas, you’re all reasonable and informed-like: What arguments could be made against public breastfeeding that haven’t been made a bazillion times before? Give the good people some new material to work with. Here are the tired, stretched-out, armpit-stained arguments that won’t fly:

1. Breastfeeding is comparable to pooping. One is food at the beginning, the other is food at the end. One has everything the body needs, the other is everything the body has decided it doesn’t need. Changing a diaper != breastfeeding. (Also, public sex != breastfeeding.)

2. Breasts are sexytime. For some people, necks and knees and earlobes are just as erogenous as breasts, and yet we’re allowed to walk around in shorts and boatneck tops. And unlike the aforementioned body parts, breasts can be used to feed people.

3. Breastfeeding is a private, intimate moment between mother and baby. And dinner is a private, intimate moment between me and my cheeseburger. Breastfeeding = hungry baby + accommodating, lactating woman. Which is not to say that breastfeeding isn’t intimate–and natural and beautiful, too–but it’s also functional.

4. Breastfeeding should take place in bathrooms. Generally, private, intimate moments in public restrooms are frowned upon (and that’s a mistake you only make once–sorry again, Georgia Dome!), but apparently it is appropriate to feed a helpless infant in a place where people are pooping.

5. Moms can always pump or use formula. Not every woman can pump, not every baby will take a bottle, and even then trying to schedule the pumping and the feeding and the toting of perishable bodily fluids can be a hassle.

6. Ew, I don’t want to see that. Yeah? Well, I don’t want to see your FACE.

It’s time to freshen up the debate! For instance:

– If women breastfeed in public, then women who can’t breastfeed might see them and get jealous and be sad.

– If small children see women breastfeeding in all areas of public life, they could start making subconscious associations and ultimately grow up believing that woman aren’t allowed to participate in public life unless they’re mothers. Think of the children!

– When a woman chooses to breastfeed in public instead of buying food for her baby, she’s really stealing from the local economy.

What other, innovative arguments can be made for keeping nursing mothers in the potty where they belong?

154 comments for “Extreme Debate Makeover: Public breastfeeding edition

  1. Blondie, Esq.
    November 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I think it’s inappropriate to whip out a breast in public. Period. (I also personally don’t want to see it.) I don’t understand why anyone would want to do it in public. I’m with Bethenny Frankel and other women who agree that it’s just not appropriate.

  2. preying mantis
    November 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    If a woman breastfeeds in public around small children who’ve been weened recently, they could become upset and disruptive!

  3. Erin
    November 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    preying mantis:
    If a woman breastfeeds in public around small children who’ve been weened recently, they could become upset and disruptive!

    Oooh, OR, it could make the ones who are still breastfeeding want to nurse. And then suddenly there’s a whole bunch of boobies out there!

  4. karak
    November 17, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Eating noises are disgusting, and baby eating noises especially so. It’s noise pollution at its worst.

    Most women take up a chair while breastfeeding. There could be DISABLED PEOPLE that need that chair!

    She’s stealing closeness from the father and other members of the family by breastfeeding. How can a man bond with his children? THE FEMINIST GYNOCRACY REARS ITS UGLY HEAD.

  5. Lin
    November 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    The good ol’ dressing like a slut argument! If a women shouldn’t wear a short skirt to avoid being raped, why should she make people aware of her breasts? Come on, zealots, remember your past arguments.

  6. Kristen J.
    November 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Goosebumps. If its chilly in the public place, boobs might get chilly and goosebumps may appear. Breasts should never experience that kind of cold. They have a right to be warm and cozy.

  7. November 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    It is absolutely ridiculous that we cannot get past seeing breasts as purely sexual, you know – not life sustaining or anything – just cause for a hard on.

  8. Clavis
    November 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    impressionable children may start associating breasts with nurturing behaviour and a natural source of nourishment for infants. This will cause harm later when they want to engage in sexytimes, because they won’t be able to associate breasts with sexiness, only with milk-bearing.

  9. Thyrso
    November 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    @Blondie, Esq.
    Really? That’s the first comment on this post? I’ll leave your personal distaste aside, but how do you honestly not understand why someone might want to breastfeed in public?
    It’s really not that difficult to grasp. I like to be allowed to occupy public spaces, even though I am the mother of a nursing child. I don’t particularly want to nurse in public, I just want to feed and/or soothe my baby without being banished from society.

    But then again, we’re back to rehashing the same dull argument. Really, we should be talking about the fact that if we allow breasts to become associated with mothers and their babies, they will be less effective in selling cars- placing another nail in the coffin of our struggling American economy.

  10. Caperton
    November 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Nice head work, people! Blondie, yours was already covered in #6, but don’t get discouraged. You can work with a partner if you want.

  11. Feyline
    November 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Think of the hungry people! In this day and age, there are a lot of folks who have trouble getting themselves and their families adequately fed. These women are being cruel by taunting them with an infants-only food source.

  12. librarygoose
    November 17, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Breasts can’t be seen in public, what if it becomes normal? Ladies will just walk around shirtless and then where will we be?? That’s right, EUROPE. *shudders* We might as well learn French now. Abraham Lincoln fought single handed in our Revolutionary war to prevent that, and I for one respect the father of our constitution by keeping my shirt on.

  13. Thinksnake
    November 18, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Little boys will see hairless breasts, and assume that because they have hairless chests, they clearly should be women! YOU”RE ENCOURAGING TRANS-NESS! HOW COULD YOU?!?!!!!111oneoneoneeleven

  14. LotusBen
    November 18, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Somewhere in the New Testament or Leviticus or some shit it says this:

    “Thou shalt not whip out your boobs in McDonald’s. Thou shalt not whip them out in Denny’s. Thou shalt not whip them out in Applebee’s nor in Chilli’s.”

    Or something.

    That brings me to my second point, which is the not only does breastfeeding violate our Biblical Constitution but it explictly undermines the authority of all private property holders in eateries to determine the means and manner of food disperal in their lawful establishments. You can’t bring Taco Bell food in T.G.I. Friday’s and expect to get away with it. Just because you’re blessed to be able to secrete an edible substance from your body doesn’t make it right to undercut local food merchants in their own locale of merchanting. Therefore, public breastfeeding is not just un-Biblical, it is also un-patriotic and un-capitalist. Why don’t you move to North Korea already?

  15. LotusBen
    November 18, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Also, our Founding Fathers had something to say about breastfeeding in public. Thomas Paine wrote in the Federalist Papers “public breastfeeding in public is wrong.” And he like founded our country. Think about that.

    Meanwhile uber-liberal Karl Marx wrote in his treatise on communist dictatorships, Das Kapit,al, “Public breastfeeding is part and parcel of the world totalitarian socialist revolutionary New World Order.”

    Who do you side with: Tom Paine or Karl Marx? The battle lines are drawn, you can either love America or hate it; be a patriot or a pinhead.

  16. nas
    November 18, 2011 at 12:25 am

    There are a lot of things you cannot do in a courtroom that you can generally do in public. Try and eat a cheeseburger in a courtroom sometime. Courtrooms are… courtly. You evem have stand up when the judge and jury walk in and out. You are also expected to use honorifics when addressing the judge. It can be kind of off putting. In that context clearly breastfeeding should be done at a seat in the hallway..

  17. LotusBen
    November 18, 2011 at 12:38 am

    nas: There are a lot of things you cannot do in a courtroom that you can generally do in public. Try and eat a cheeseburger in a courtroom sometime. Courtrooms are… courtly. You evem have stand up when the judge and jury walk in and out. You are also expected to use honorifics when addressing the judge. It can be kind of off putting. In that context clearly breastfeeding should be done at a seat in the hallway..

    I agree that courts have a lot of stupid rules so as to try to force people to respect an institution that, in my opinion, deserves no respect. I don’t agree that this reality justifies the formation of further stupid rules, like no breastfeeding in court.

  18. nas
    November 18, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I would say it does depend on the nature of the proceeding. If this was a large courtroom with a big crowd waiting to be arraigned it is more reasonable for her to breastfeed. The way the bailiff told the judge and he hassled her is not nice.. kind of like they were just picking on the plebes. I am sure though that there is a no food or drink sign in the courtroom. If she were watching someone being tried in a smaller courtroom courtroom it would be more appropriate to go outside to suckle her babe.

  19. Jane
    November 18, 2011 at 1:00 am

    HUNGRY ANGRY BABIES WILL ROAM THE STREETS IN SEARCH OF BOOBS

    ALL BOOB OWNERS WILL BE IN PERIL

  20. shfree
    November 18, 2011 at 1:07 am

    The skin on the nipple doesn’t get covered with sunblock, because you don’t want your baby eating sunblock, so the exposure to sunlight could, nay, WILL cause cancer. CANCER.

  21. Thyrso
    November 18, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Yes- BOOB cancer. Which is the worst of all cancers, because it destroys precious BOOBIES.

  22. shelly
    November 18, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Breastfeeding encourages grown people to adopt infantilism as a fetish. (Totally crazy, I know, but… work with me?)

  23. November 18, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Breastfeeding calms upset babies – who then FORGET that LIFE IS SUFFERING.

  24. librarygoose
    November 18, 2011 at 1:46 am

    If we let babies get whatever they want whenever they want they’ll end up spoiled. They’ll end up feeling entitled to food. When they should get jobs.

  25. aboat
    November 18, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Dear Caperton and everyone else who has contributed to this thread (minus Blondie and nas).

    You are all geniuses and I love you. I haven’t giggled this much in weeks!

    Keep up the good work!

  26. November 18, 2011 at 2:26 am

    When people scold women for breastfeeding in public, I scold right back.

    There are a variety of reasons why mothers choose to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be far less expensive than formula feeding. Breastfeeding is an extremely healthy choice. Breastfeeding also helps with the healing process after birth and encourages weightloss (I lost 70lbs in the first 5 months of feeding my oldest son). My children are rarely sick and I believe it has a lot to do with the fact they were breastfed.

    It makes me upset when someone belittles a choice a mother made that she believes is the best for her baby. I have heard mothers say that they did not breastfeed when they wanted to because they did not want to put up with people’s ignorant and hostile comments or have to sit in a dirty bathroom to feed an infant. Pumping, especially as your supply starts to level out, is often just not an option. It sickens me that the needs of mothers and babies take a backseat to the need to perpetuate women’s bodies as sexual objects.

    I am breastfeeding my youngest child at the moment and always bring a blanket with me so that anyone who doesn’t want to see it can put it over their head :-)

  27. Nicky
    November 18, 2011 at 2:32 am

    You have to stand up in court…unless there is a reason why you should be excempt from this rule (such as being in a wheelchair). You have to leave the courtroom to empty your bladder…unless there is a reason why you should be excempt from this rule and alternative accomodations have been made (such as having a catheter or being a baby wearing a nappy). You may not eat in court…unless there is a reason why you should be excempt from this rule *such as being a breastfed baby who needs to eat frequently and is legally entitled to do so wherever they may be*

    But obviously one mustn’t breastfeed in a court room. Breastmilk helps to release a surge of oxytoxin – a hormone that makes you relaxed and happy. Surely I don’t have to explain to you that such things are TOTALLY against the ethos of court!

  28. Amarantha
    November 18, 2011 at 2:52 am

    breastfeeding is unsanitary because the milk is stored at 98.6 degrees. People, milk and other dairy products should always be stored at 45 degrees or below, in a refrigerator, especially if those foods are in a restaurant. Violation of the health code!!!

  29. Lex HT
    November 18, 2011 at 4:37 am

    I saw a woman on the tram last night breast feeding a very cute young kid, who was old enough to clamber onto mum’s lap and pull the breast free.

    This obviously needs be banned because it encourages babies to think that they own their mother’s bodies. AND further more, what if other people’s toddlers decided they could just latch on to anyone’s breasts when they were hungry or in need of comfort?

  30. Roisin
    November 18, 2011 at 6:06 am

    If a nursing woman is allowed to breastfeed in public, she’d be able to leave the house…women in the streets, in restaurants, on trains… think of the nightmare. The poor men.

  31. Cayt
    November 18, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Boobs being out in public will cause a sex riot. The men in court will become inflamed with lust and lose their ability to think rationally and a murderer might go free because the men will become like irrational women! BOOBS LET GUILTY PEOPLE WALK FREE. NO BOOBS IN COURT.

  32. November 18, 2011 at 6:29 am

    If women can breastfeed in public, it will teach children to eat on demand, which will contribute to the obesity crisis and obviously we need to SAVE OUR CHILDREN FROM THE FATTIES.

  33. Clare
    November 18, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Natalia:
    Breastfeeding calms upset babies – who then FORGET that LIFE IS SUFFERING.

    Natalia wins the ‘I snorted coffee out my nose laughing’ award. This thread is awesome.

  34. Marksman2010
    November 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I’ve listened to a judge recite Bible verses before sentencing people to jail.

  35. November 18, 2011 at 7:23 am

    6. Ew, I don’t want to see that. Yeah? Well, I don’t want to see your FACE.

    I adore you forever for this line.

    My contribution: breast milk is not under federal regulation.  How does the child know what’s in that milk unless the mother has the nutritional f acts tattooed on her chest?  What if there’s something bad in the water that goes into making breast milk, and there has to be a BREAST RECALL?!

  36. November 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

    If you breastfeed your child, you’re starting them out with feeling entitled to food whenever they’re hungry!  How on earth are the 1% supposed to oppress the proletariat if they are indoctrinated with the belief that food is a basic human right?

  37. November 18, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Hey, wait a minute…..how do we know that breastfeeding is nutritionally appropriate? Have those breasts been certfied? Who is in charge of this “breastfeeding”, anyway? Some unqualified *woman*, no doubt (shudder). If we allow breastfeeding anywhere, we’ll just be encouraging women to flout authority!! It’ll be ANARCHY IN THE STREETS!!!

  38. Past my expiration date
    November 18, 2011 at 8:11 am

    If babies are allowed to eat in courtrooms, they will grow up thinking that they are entitled to be allowed to eat anywhere, which contributes to the decline in respect and formality in this society. I bet that the young women who wore flip flops to the White House were all breastfed in public when they were babies.

    (But really, I love Amarantha’s comment at #27.)

  39. November 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Can’t.stop.laughing. I love this thread. Made my day. You all are amazeballs.

  40. reluctant alchemist
    November 18, 2011 at 8:17 am

    If we let women breastfeed in public, it might cause them to believe that what they do with their reproductive organs is their own CHOICE! I think we all know where that leads.

  41. chingona
    November 18, 2011 at 8:20 am

    No one else is allowed to eat in court. Why should babies get an exemption?

    Many of the in-custody defendants have been in jail for months awaiting trial. The sight of a breast might spark a riot.

  42. chingona
    November 18, 2011 at 8:24 am

    In seriousness, though, judges have enormous discretion over how to run their courtroom. There are federal judges on the bench today who don’t let women who are wearing pants into their courtroom. Local courts, where you have all sorts of folks there for all sorts of reasons, tend to be a lot more casual, but pretty much all you have to do to get talked to or even thrown out is annoy the judge. Talk to your neighbor? Type too loudly? Laugh at the wrong time? Any of that can get you thrown out. The acid test, as far as I’m concerned, is always whether he would have treated a bottle-feeding mother the same way.

  43. Sera
    November 18, 2011 at 8:29 am

    This was a shitty day until I read this thread.

    My only complaint: all my super awesome SAVE THE…’s and THINK OF THE…’s have already been taken.

    Oh, also thank you for making me laugh ridiculously loudly in my empty office just as the mailperson walked in. She thinks I’m fucking nuts now and will probably no longer try to engage me in inane chit-chat every morning.

  44. Clementine
    November 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I think babies should only have organic food and breastmilk has not been certified organic by the USDA.

  45. samanthab
    November 18, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Well, I agree with Blondie that women shouldn’t whip out their breasts in public. That sounds super painful, especially when they’re swollen with milk! Can’t we let them fall out gently? Gravity works, if my breasts are anything like other breasts. I’ll never know if Blondie’s breasts are like my breasts, though, because she’s keeping her’s buried from sight like pirate’s treasure. Breasts aren’t something that you can self-own, clearly; they have to be uncovered by a dude with a pick axe or some such.

    Bethany fucking Frankel *is* now the Emily Post of the female body. Our Bodies, Our Bethany Fucking Frankel. What could be wrong with this picture?

  46. November 18, 2011 at 8:42 am

    samanthab @43:

    I suddenly want to see a crossover between breastfeeding moms and a spaghetti western.

    “Go ahead, punk — feed my babe.  *pchew pchew*”

  47. saurus
    November 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

    – I don’t have a problem with breastfeeding, but in certain places it’s just unprofessional. In the real world, not the feminist universe, businesses have the right to require certain kids of attire, and I would certainly never go around lactating titties. I don’t disagree that it’s stigmatized, but the truth is that if you want to be taken seriously, you can’t just feed people out of your boobs. Sometimes getting ahead in this world means accepting that you can’t just do whatever you want, no matter how milky and delicious, just because it’s feminist.

    – If we make it okay to feed people out of our boobs, what if men start latching?!

    – Seeing people breastfeed in public ruins my appetite for fucking in public.

    – Being breastfed in public emasculates boys. To ensure they always feel a strong male presence, when men see a boy being breastfed they should whip out their penises.

    – First we breastfeed kids in public. Then what – goats?

    – Okay, I’m not saying stigma against public breastfeeding is perfect, but it’s the best system we’ve got. It just requires a little more regulation to ensure people don’t abuse the system – you know, checks and balances – and then everything will be just peachy. Would you rather we have a communist breastfeeding system? Because as great as that may work on paper, you know it can’t work in the real world without gross human rights violations.

    – I guess my concern is that when women breastfeed in public, it basically reaffirms stereotypes of women about how they’re always breastfeeding in public. Shouldn’t we be negating those stereotypes?

    – If a woman breastfeeds her daughter they will both grow up into lesbians.

  48. Josh Jasper
    November 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

    WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHITTLINS? CHITTERLINGS IS PEOPLE TOO!!!

  49. JoeW
    November 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

    No-one ever breastfed me! I didn’t need any damn milk handouts! Anyone can get ahead in the world without breast welfare! I AM THE 53%!

  50. Debra
    November 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

    True story. In an outback pub in New South Wales (Australia) a wet t-shit contest was underway. The women competing for the prize were stirring up the audience to try and get the most votes. The blokes were yelling out, whistling, cat-calling and generally enjoying the show. Then one of the women lifted her t-shirt, squeezed her boobies and squirted a long stream of milk across the room. The cat-calling suddenly changed into booing and eewing, with one bloke yelling out: “You filthy slut!” I laughed so much and so did the competitors. It said so much about what tits are supposed to be for.

  51. What What
    November 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Breastfeeding in public is like bringing cookies to the classroom. Don’t do it unless there’s enough for everyone!

  52. BHuesca
    November 18, 2011 at 9:08 am

    If no one is allowed to eat in a courtroom, then babies should be no exception.

    Kind of like how a defendant, or any other person, who makes a noisy outburst can be removed fronm courtroom for purposes of propriety.

  53. Bacon
    November 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

    If we allow women to breastfeed in public, then new mothers will be able to get out of the house. This will lead to more public anecdotes about the trauma of labour and the strange colours of infant poo, which will increase the stress levels of everyone in earshot.

  54. Jen in Ohio
    November 18, 2011 at 9:26 am

    If a woman breastfeeds her daughter they will both grow up into lesbians.

    Nope, a negative times a negative equals a positive, so it’s okay for girls. You did your math wrong — next time, try whipping out your boobs to do the carry-over. But don’t use them to feed the babies with a stem on the apple because they’ll grow up to be gay cowboys…gay cowboys with breast fetishes.

  55. preying mantis
    November 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

    chingona: No one else is allowed to eat in court. Why should babies get an exemption?

    Babies could be cited for contempt of court for eating in court and then refusing to leave the courtroom once ejected. I bet those babies would make the bailiff drag them out, kicking and screaming.

  56. Tim
    November 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I’m trying to think of new arguments, but I just can’t get the image from comment 1 of women whipping their breasts out in public. I’ve seen some women breastfeeding in public, but I guess I got there after they whipped them out. Wouldn’t that be painful, and what if they hit the baby?

  57. November 18, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Jen in Ohio: But don’t use them to feed the babies with a stem on the apple because they’ll grow up to be gay cowboys…gay cowboys with breast fetishes.

      

    Well, thankyouVERYMUCH Jen in Ohio. Now I have Willie Nelson stuck in my head.

    Oh wait, that’s not such a bad thing.. *sings quietly to self* “Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be breastfeedinggaycowboys…”

  58. November 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

    If you let women breastfeed in public, the terrorists win. That’s all there is to it.

  59. chingona
    November 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

    preying mantis: I bet those babies would make the bailiff drag them out, kicking and screaming.

    You want to hear a noisy outburst? You want disruption and lack of decorum? Just deny that baby the boob!

  60. preying mantis
    November 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

    chingona: You want to hear a noisy outburst? You want disruption and lack of decorum? Just deny that baby the boob!

    You want the boob? You can’t handle the boob!

  61. Jen in Ohio
    November 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Well, thankyouVERYMUCH Jen in Ohio. Now I have Willie Nelson stuck in my head.

    Andie, that’s probably better than having him stuck in your boobs…unless he brings enough pot for everyone at the Food Court, I s’pose.

  62. Randomosity
    November 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

    My mother taught me that if I was going to eat in front of people, I had to share. Do you have enough for everyone?

    Milk is best if it’s chocolate milk. Can you get chocolate milk out of that boob? How about strawberry and banana? Your baby deserves chocolate milk.

  63. EG
    November 18, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Look, if we allow women to do womanly things right out there in public, they might get the idea that being a woman is normal, not some kind of regrettable aberration. Women should only be allowed to appear in public if they act like men.

    Also, aren’t we supposed to be for equality? We wouldn’t let a man take his penis out in public, would we? If we allow public breastfeeding, that is JUST THE SAME as condoning flashers! Women will use it as an excuse to sexually harass men everywhere they go! Nowhere will a man be safe! DO NOT ALLOW SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF MEN, YOU GUYS.

  64. anna
    November 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

    As for people who seriously think breastfeeding is flashing, I would point out you can’t see that much with, you know, a baby’s head in the way.

  65. anna
    November 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I know EG was just kidding though.

  66. Politicalguineapig
    November 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Jen in Ohio: Hey, what’s wrong with having Willie Nelson stuck in someone’s boobs? He’s actually pretty handsome.

  67. Caperton
    November 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    If you’re going to argue that breastfeeding threatens courtroom decorum, you probably first need to establish that breastfeeding is itself indecorous, or at least that the bailiff would have passed a note to the judge saying, “There is a man doing a sudoku puzzle in court!”

    Of course, we all know that breastfeeding is worse than indecorous. A woman’s breasts hold more than just three ounces of liquid, and they can’t be sealed in clear plastic bags to go through airport security. Women breastfeeding in airports are a threat to our national security.

  68. midnightsky
    November 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

    If moms can show their breasts in public, why can’t we just go topless? It’d be nicer for those of us who overheat in the summer anytime we step outside…

    I agree a little more with the “breasts are sexytime” thing. I mean, while they’re nowhere near as obviously sexual as genitalia, they are still considered by society to be intimate parts that are not acceptable to show. You wouldn’t sit in the movie theater with your shirt off, would you? No, this isn’t allowed.

    To me, it’s more about consistency. Either bare breasts are acceptable, or they’re not. Funny half-standards just make everyone feel awkward, because you’ve taught them that breasts are private things and suddenly there’s someone just pulling up their shirt in public? Let’s just solve this one way or the other.

  69. Caperton
    November 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Tim: I’m trying to think of new arguments, but I just can’t get the image from comment 1 of women whipping their breasts out in public.

    Yeah, every time I think of it I imagine a whiplash sound effect. It sounds like it would be painful.

  70. debbie
    November 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Debra: True story. In an outback pub in New South Wales (Australia) a wet t-shit contest was underway. The women competing for the prize were stirring up the audience to try and get the most votes. The blokes were yelling out, whistling, cat-calling and generally enjoying the show. Then one of the women lifted her t-shirt, squeezed her boobies and squirted a long stream of milk across the room. The cat-calling suddenly changed into booing and eewing, with one bloke yelling out: “You filthy slut!” I laughed so much and so did the competitors. It said so much about what tits are supposed to be for.

    This comment made my morning!

  71. Esti
    November 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with breastfeeding not being permitted in a courtroom while court is in session — directly outside in the hallway, yes, but as others have pointed out, there are a lot of things you can’t (for good reason) do in a courtroom. Many judges won’t allow people to text on their phones, eat or drink anything, whisper with the person next to them, have headphones on, etc. Those aren’t just arbitrary rules for rules sake; courtrooms, especially the ones where arraignments and pleas occur, are often completely packed and easily become disruptive, and the only way to manage it is to have really strict rules that essentially require everyone to sit silently. It’s *really* important to minimize disruptions and distractions, because the work that those judges and lawyers do is already incredibly difficult and tiny mistakes can be catastrophic.

    That’s not to say that breastfeeding is itself disruptive or distracting, and I wouldn’t have any problem with a judge allowing it to happen in a courtroom. But I don’t have a problem with judges saying that they just won’t allow any eating or drinking in the courtroom and including breastfeeding in that. I like chingona’s litmus test: if the judge would allow a bottle-feeding baby, then he needs to allow the breastfeeding one. And if judges don’t want to allow either, then the court needs to accommodate that (by providing chairs in the hallway, or a separate lactation room — the latter not because breastfeeding shouldn’t happen in public, but because courtroom hallways are often not particularly safe or comfortable places to be — and by having someone available to go tell women breastfeeding outside when their case is being called, etc.).

  72. antiprincess
    November 18, 2011 at 11:00 am

    BHuesca: If no one is allowed to eat in a courtroom, then babies should be no exception. Kind of like how a defendant, or any other person, who makes a noisy outburst can be removed fronm courtroom for purposes of propriety.

    in those states where a law protecting breastfeeding exists, the general rule is that anywhere a baby can legally be, a baby can legally eat. it is legal for babies to nurse in courtrooms because it’s legal for babies to nurse anywhere they are allowed to be. of course, if babies aren’t allowed in courtrooms, well, then I guess they’re SOL.

    I know that judges appear to be a law unto themselves in their courtrooms – but then again, can they do anything that is specifically against a law? for example, can they smoke a cigarette from the bench in a tobacco-free state building? can they order someone to take their clothes off and dance around the courtroom? are there any limits placed on the judge?

  73. EG
    November 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

    midnightsky: Funny half-standards just make everyone feel awkward

    1) OK. I have no problem with women being able to bare their breasts in public for any reason whatsoever.

    2) Lots of things make people feel awkward. You know whose problem that is? The people feeling awkward.

  74. November 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I have to say, this thread has made my day. The breastfeeding ‘High Noon’-style spaghetti Western made me choke on my ginger ale. There is so much funny here!

    I totally gapped my contribution though, so I’ll stick to fangirling the rest of you^.^

  75. antiprincess
    November 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    basically, breastfeeding where someone can see you is incontrovertable evidence of Being Female in Public Space. and no one wants to see THAT!

  76. anon commenter
    November 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

    You don’t eat or play with your cell when standing in front of a judge. At the same token you don’t feed your baby be it by breast or otherwise. And since I obviously have to explain why – this is disrespectful because it demonstrates that you are not interested in the conversion and don’t take the matter seriously.

    Therefore if your baby happens to be hungry when standing in front of the judge you ask her if she minds if you feed or if you can go outside for some minutes. In the same way when you need to go to the toilet you don’t just get up and leave but ask.

  77. igglanova
    November 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

    midnightsky: If moms can show their breasts in public, why can’t we just go topless? It’d be nicer for those of us who overheat in the summer anytime we step outside…

    Where I live, you can already do this. Some jackass would probably try to report you anyway, but at least there would be no legal sanctions.

    The whole ‘but women’s breasts are SEXUAL!’ bullshit is self-perpetuating when you get right down to it. The only reason people believe it is because they never see tits chillin’ out in mundane contexts like when their owners are mowing the lawn, hanging laundry, barbequing, crocheting, gardening, whatever. I mean it’s not like people still act like baring an ankle makes one a filthy harlot. We all got desensitized to ankle flesh and then it wasn’t such a BFD anymore.

  78. chingona
    November 18, 2011 at 11:37 am

    @ anon … Women are perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding a baby takes about as much concentration as holding a baby. If women aren’t allowed to engage in adult conversation while holding a baby, we’re in big trouble.

    Nonetheless, if you follow the link, she wasn’t breastfeeding while talking to the judge. She was waiting for her name to get called. She didn’t want to leave in case her name got called. When she was called, she told the judge “just a minute” as she adjusted herself before going up, and that’s when he told her she was being inappropriate.

    I mean, in practice, yeah, I wouldn’t breastfeed in front of my work colleagues or in court if I could avoid it, but if the options are 1) leave and risk not being there when your name is called and a warrant being issued for failure to appear, 2) stay while the baby cries and risk getting yelled at for the disruption and 3) stay and quietly nurse in the back row until your name is called, 3) is definitely the least bad option.

  79. EG
    November 18, 2011 at 11:38 am

    anon commenter: this is disrespectful because it demonstrates that you are not interested in the conversion and don’t take the matter seriously.

    Of course. Because everybody knows that when a woman nurses her baby, all the blood from her brain flows directly into her boobs and is turned into milk for the baby to consume. This process renders her absolutely incapable of simultaneously nursing her baby and paying attention to a conversation or taking the subject of the conversation seriously. True fact.

    Given that this woman wasn’t “standing in front of a judge,” but instead sitting quietly in a chair at the back of the courtroom, so that the judge didn’t even notice what she was doing until specifically alerted to it…what you are saying makes no sense.

  80. antiprincess
    November 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

    beg pardon, anon commenter#76?

    never attribute to malice which can better be explained by ignorance. I am genuinely curious about the extent to which a judge can be a law unto hirself in the courtroom.

    unlike a cellphone, you can’t turn a baby off, or put it on vibrate. there is no “silent mode” (damn it). there may be a No Babies sign in the courtroom, which I suppose would be reasonable enough, or a judge may have a preference for a zero-baby environment. but if a baby is allowed in the courtroom, I think it’s covered under that baby-can-eat-wherever-baby-is-allowed-to-be thing.

  81. November 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Well, you see, women’s sexuality is inherently a visual performance for men, so if you’re showing your breasts in public, even to feed babies, you are showing off your sexuality in public without getting the men’s consent! That’s like rape! YOU FEMINISTS ARE AGAINST RAPE, AREN’T YOU?

  82. chingona
    November 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

    midnightsky: To me, it’s more about consistency. Either bare breasts are acceptable, or they’re not. Funny half-standards just make everyone feel awkward, because you’ve taught them that breasts are private things and suddenly there’s someone just pulling up their shirt in public?

    Like those pictures in church of Mary nursing baby Jesus? Or of Adam and Eve with only strategically placed fig leaves? Or a billboard advertising a beach vacation destination that shows people in their bathing suits? How will people know that they can’t go out in public in just their underwear? It’s so confusing!!!! Slippery slopes, people!

  83. Sera
    November 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

    ALso, courtrooms have PEOPLE in them…people that MATTER. PEOPLE THAT ARE MALE. Those MALE people have urges that cause them to rape whenever anything makes them think of sexytimes, so basically, you Feministas are ASKING for MORE rape, and RAPE against those sanctified members of society…MOTHERS!!!111!!! (Granted, they’re the slutty mothers who are whipping boobies around and whacking their kids with them, but they could be brought back on the right path by…prayer…or something…what was I saying?…)

    OH, protect the PWM (People Who Matter) from becoming rapists!!!

  84. Robotile
    November 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    igglanova, I think it’s a stretch to call “breasts are sexual” bullshit. A substantial minority of women can orgasm solely from breast stimulation (which, as far as I’m aware, is not the case with ankles), so it seems marginalizing to take the tack that “oh, breasts are just these utilitarian food making machines.” For many women they are a source of sexual pleasure and relegating them to “objects solely there to feed someone else” is just as objectifying and condescending as saying “breasts are there to turn on the menz.”
    That’s not to say that breasts are solely sexual, they are also for nourishing babies, and people should be able to feed their kids wherever.

  85. antiprincess
    November 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

    you know what I think are sexy? hands. I love hands. omg hands just make me inSANE. I love hands so much, the sight of hands makes me blush and stutter and get all collywobbled. (actually, I’m exaggerating only slightly…) In order to protect me, everyone should wear big fat mittens so I don’t see any hand shapes that might cause me to lose my shit, and only take them off if they’re ready to engage in sexual activity. with me.

    hands are sexy (at least to me) but they’re also useful tools. much like breasts. I guess it’s a good idea to keep them covered up while not in use, if you like, to protect them from the elements and such, but if you want to use them for their intended purpose, you have to take the cover off.

  86. November 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

    As for people who seriously think breastfeeding is flashing, I would point out you can’t see that much with, you know, a baby’s head in the way.

    Well, the BABY is still getting flashed! Poor baby! Think of the therapy bills!!!

  87. Hey Hey Helen
    November 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s really hard to read any discussion about this topic without people stating and re-stating those tired talking points.

    Anyway, I generally feel that anywhere it’s acceptable to bottle feed a baby, it would be acceptable to breast feed a baby. So, basically anywhere.

    One of the new, valid points I’ve seen on this thread is that no one is allowed to eat in the courtroom, so the baby shouldn’t either. But I think it’s important to note that babies have to eat much more often than adults. Newborns eat as much as every hour! So I understand the analogy, but I don’t think the situations are parallel.

  88. November 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Natalia: Hey, at least it wasn’t on TV, MILLIONS of children would have suffered.

  89. EG
    November 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Hey Hey Helen: One of the new, valid points I’ve seen on this thread is that no one is allowed to eat in the courtroom, so the baby shouldn’t either.

    I don’t even think that’s a valid point. I mean, are adults allowed to hold other adults over their shoulders or on their laps in a courtroom? I’m presuming that holding one’s baby is acceptable behavior in a courtroom.

  90. Christina
    November 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    midnightsky: I agree a little more with the “breasts are sexytime” thing. I mean, while they’re nowhere near as obviously sexual as genitalia, they are still considered by society to be intimate parts that are not acceptable to show. You wouldn’t sit in the movie theater with your shirt off, would you? No, this isn’t allowed.

    Personally, I just wouldn’t sit in a movie theatre topless because…cold.

    I don’t know what I’d do re: breastfeeding. I would *want* to feel okay about doing it in public, and when I see women breastfeeding in pubic, I don’t mind at all… but then, I like gurgly happy babies and I think breastfeeding is kind of lovely/beautiful/natural? But I think personally I’d be suuuper stressed about other people possibly seeing my breasts in public. (But who knows. Perhaps once I have a squawling hungry infant, I wont give a damn about what other people think.)

  91. Jennifer
    November 18, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Women and babies are allowed in public? Without a male escort? The judge addressed the woman directly, rather than the man responsible for her? What kind of society do you people have?

    Just kidding.

    Seriously though, I mean, if you allow people to show off their bodies in this kind of way, soon you’ll have to deal with all kinds of other things you’d rather not see. Low cut shirts, bare midriffs hanging over people’s pants. Men displaying copious shoulder and back hair… And if you thought breasts were bad, imagine if you had to see someone’s butt crack!

    Oh, the horror. The world would surely end.

    Let’s face it, people–skin is just unclean. It deposits dead skin cells, sweat, hair, wherever it is exposed. We simply can’t allow skin to be out in public in any way. It’s really a public health issue.

  92. Adaquinn
    November 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Because this has become such a scandalous issue, obviously women are just doing it to get attention. They don’t really care if they’re babies are getting fed or not. They are just flaunting their ability to cause disruption and chaos. Obviously women who breast feed in public are anarchist and terrorist.

    **Man, the world needs a sarcasm font in the worse way.

  93. Roro80
    November 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Prepubescent boys will get erections when they see the BOOBS. It will cause them to want to have sex. KIDS HAVING SEX PEOPLE!

  94. Caity
    November 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Randomosity:
    My mother taught me that if I was going to eat in front of people, I had to share. Do you have enough for everyone?

    Milk is best if it’s chocolate milk. Can you get chocolate milk out of that boob? How about strawberry and banana? Your baby deserves chocolate milk.

    Fun fact: if you eat vanilla-flavoured things regularly while lactating some of the compounds that give vanilla it’s sweet yumminess will be excreted in your breastmilk. Not sure about chocolate, though

  95. Alara Rogers
    November 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    If women were allowed to breastfeed their babies in court, then they would be able to bring their babies to court without being thrown out for disruption because the babies were crying. Only if we can throw women out for crying babies *and* throw women out for breastfeeding can we maintain a proper society where mothers of newborns are not allowed to leave the house for any reason unless they can heartlessly leave their brand new infant alone with an inferior non-mother caretaker, like the baby’s father, which is also something we can criticize them for doing.

    If women were allowed to be all mothers in public with babies and all, and no one tried to throw them out of public places for being mothers with babies, we might get the idea that it is a normal human thing for women who are mothers to behave just like everyone else, and then what would happen to all the people who need to blame mothers for every bad thing that happens to anyone? My god, you’d have people failing to blame mothers for getting beaten up by their husbands in front of their children, people failing to blame mothers for allowing their kids to be bullied at school when the school is actively covering it up, people failing to blame mothers for letting their kids get molested by men who tell the kids “if you tell your mother about this I will kill her” and so the kids never tell and the mother never finds out, or people failing to blame mothers for the murder of their children by their ex-husbands after they attempted to prevent the abusive, violent ex-husbands from getting custody, and the abusive, violent ex-husbands played the “she’s denying me my CHILD” card and got custody anyway over the mother’s objections, and then murdered the kids.

    Mothers are supposed to be omnipotent and all-knowing, and the fact that every single one of them fails to be so because they are all ordinary humans means that they are inherently inferior. God creates life too, and God is omnipotent because he’s male! People who create life ought to be omnipotent, like God, and if they’re not it’s because women are inferior to men, because the only male who goes around creating life is God and he’s omnipotent. So how could we blame mothers for not being omnipotent if we didn’t continue to put them in no-win situations where anything they do will be wrong?

  96. Lolagirl
    November 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I think I’ve got a novel line of anti-nip logic to add to the discussion, actually trotted out by my own husband, who retracted it when I schooled him on how ridiculous his position was:

    nip at Restaurant X will cause controversy for the owner/manager and could negatively impact his business, so I should go feed the baby in the car instead.

    I’m becoming old hat at the whole sleight of hand involved in breastfeeding a baby in public. I’ve only gotten the hairy eyeball once, while nursing my newborn in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office. I stared the person down and went about my business, as far as I’m concered it’s better to feed a squalling infant than worry about upsetting some stranger’s over-entitled and outmoded sense of public decorum. Btw, the restaurant owner/manager in question is a friend of ours and the restaurant a casual, family friendly lunch spot in one of the most progressive parts of our metro area. His response was that he would throw someone out for complaining about a customer breastfeeding a baby on the premises.

  97. igglanova
    November 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Robotile: igglanova, I think it’s a stretch to call “breasts are sexual” bullshit. A substantial minority of women can orgasm solely from breast stimulation (which, as far as I’m aware, is not the case with ankles), so it seems marginalizing to take the tack that “oh, breasts are just these utilitarian food making machines.” For many women they are a source of sexual pleasure and relegating them to “objects solely there to feed someone else” is just as objectifying and condescending as saying “breasts are there to turn on the menz.”
    That’s not to say that breasts are solely sexual, they are also for nourishing babies, and people should be able to feed their kids wherever.

    What is with people arguing with me about things I didn’t even say lately? For fuck’s sake. I don’t think breasts are utilitarian food-making machines and I never said anything close to that, so why are you putting quote marks around that statement as if you’re quoting me?

    FYI, people can also orgasm from kissing and from having their knees licked(!). That doesn’t make lips or knees sufficiently sexual to justify widespread coverup.

    But really, this whole discussion about what body parts count as sexual is a bit of a digression if you take the stance that sexuality is not in fact an evil tainting influence in the first place. Am I the only wannabe hippie who’d like to see the day where full-on nudity is not even taboo anymore?

  98. Azalea
    November 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I breastfed both babies and did not do it in public. There’s a mall in Wheaton, MD that has “family rooms” there aren’t any toilets in these famiy rooms but they are big stalls with comfortable seating to give breastfeeding mothers privacy and they have changing stations (really convenient because right before most feedings I needed to change a diaper). They also had a sink and everything you need to wash your hands and a diaper pail. I think there ought to be more of those “family rooms” so that mothers who dont want to show their breasts to everyone but aren’t going to pump everytime they want to leave the home, has the opportunity to have privacy when feeding their children. Of course any woman who just wants to breastfeed in public, its her perrogative but count me out of that.

  99. November 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Just some context re: the courtroom thing — as others have said, the woman wasn’t standing in front of the judge. If she had been, I agree, breastfeeding would be inappropriate, because doing just about anything other than focusing on the judge is inappropriate. Also, if you’ve ever stood in front of a judge, you would realize how totally ridiculous it would be to start breastfeeding at that moment. I have a hard time conceiving of a situation in which anyone would actually do that.

    So, that’s not what the woman was doing. She was waiting to be called up. And in a lot of courtrooms, you can wait for hours to be called. And if you miss your name, you can be in trouble. So, lady with a baby + hours-long wait + can’t leave = breastfeeding. Totally reasonable on her part.

    Ok, now back to Funny Thread Is Funny.

  100. November 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Also: Court rooms typically make reasonable accommodations for people. No, you aren’t usually allowed to eat, but if you’re diabetic and not eating for hours is going to cause some real problems, you can probably assume they’ll cut you some slack. Ditto for babies. Babies gotta eat!

  101. Katya
    November 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    If you’re going to argue that breastfeeding threatens courtroom decorum, you probably first need to establish that breastfeeding is itself indecorous, or at least that the bailiff would have passed a note to the judge saying, “There is a man doing a sudoku puzzle in court!”

    Actually, I have seen bailiffs kick people out (without even asking the judge) for reading a newspaper in a courtroom, wearing sunglasses, chewing gum, texting, and bottle-feeding a baby. I have seen lots of women breast- or bottle-feeding babies in the hallways outside the courtroom (usually there are benches or chairs), and many courthouses have daycare for children of people who are appearing in court. I have no problem with women breastfeeding in public (it’s legal in DC to breastfeed anywhere in public you otherwise have a right to be) but honestly, it’s not something I would do in a courtroom, any more than I would wear shorts or listen to headphones, even though all of those things are legal.

    Also, before you appear in court, please ask yourself whether there is even the slightest chance that you may be taken into custody that day, because if you might, you REALLY should make alternate care arrangements for your kid.

  102. Lolagirl
    November 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Family rooms for nursing moms are fine with me, with the caveat that there should be no requirement attached that any and all breastfeeding be limited to that space.

    I just utterly fail to see what the big deal is with nip. Seriously, the culture here in the U.S. is such that the sexual potrayal of breasts is generally considered perfectly acceptable, as demonstrated by the cover of nearly every fashion magazine, television show, and celebrities and even regular women daily showing off their cleavage to some extent or another. The only time it seems folks get their knickers in a knot is when the appearance of cleavage is accompanied by a baby getting the milk he or she needs for substinence.

    It’s a flat out double standard, with an unhealthy side of sexism to boot, and it needs to stop.

  103. Katya
    November 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Also, it doesn’t say if the woman spoke with the clerk in advance of the judge showing up to inform him or her of the situation. Or, hell, the prosecutor. There are ways to work around the don’t-miss-it-when-they-call-your-name problem.

    But mostly, you shouldn’t breast feed in public because your breasts are likely to be larger and milk-engorged, and will make other, smaller-chested women feel inadequate and unsexy. Women should support each other, not cut each other down!

  104. igglanova
    November 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Lolagirl: I just utterly fail to see what the big deal is with nip.

    Well it’s all very simple. The nipple is the evil part of the breast.

  105. igglanova
    November 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    The Eye of Sauron, if you will.

  106. Q
    November 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    If we allow women to breastfeed in public, all the men will feel ashamed for not hunting down and killing the boobie, as they are hunters & gatherers by instinct. Without feeling the manly pride of providing food for their families, the men will no doubt suffer from depressing identity crises, not to mention resentment toward their female partners and helplessness in a world they thought they knew.

    JUST THINK OF THE MEN.

  107. Lolagirl
    November 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    nip = nursing (not nipple) in public.

    Besides, I thought the entire breastal reagion was the source of all that is evil and wrong in this world.

    Darn these wanton women for taunting men of all ages with the titillating view of their breastages!

  108. November 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Besides, I thought the entire breastal reagion was the source of all that is evil and wrong in this world.

    Yeah but the nipple is where all the concentrated evil is stored. That’s why they get engorged. Evil overflow. So when you’re feeling extra… naughty, shall we say, there’s an evil buildup.

  109. anon commenter
    November 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    @Jill

    I agree, breastfeeding would be inappropriate, because [standing in front of the judge] doing just about anything other than focusing on the judge is inappropriate.

    Would you say that this is common sense or do you need to be an attorney to know that?

  110. Katya
    November 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Would you say that this is common sense or do you need to be an attorney to know that?

    It’s pretty apparent when you’re in the courtroom that doing anything other than paying attention to the judge when the judge is talking to you is a Bad Idea. Honestly, not demonstrating respect for the court is about the quickest way to a bad outcome that I can think of. When you’re in front of the bench, it tends to command your attention.

  111. November 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    However, as has been pointed out, she was not ‘in front of the judge’. She was in the back of the room, waiting to go in front of the judge.

    There’s a Distinction.

  112. DAS
    November 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Having feedingtime (including breastfeeding) in the court will confuse people: once people start eating in the courtroom, whenever the judge calls for “order in the court”, people will start shouting out things like “I’ll have a tuna sandwich please” and “what are the specials for today? … oh, on second thought, I’ll just have a hamburger, hold the mayo”

  113. November 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    DAS: Having feedingtime (including breastfeeding) in the court will confuse people: once people start eating in the courtroom, whenever the judge calls for “order in the court”, people will start shouting out things like “I’ll have a tuna sandwich please” and “what are the specials for today? … oh, on second thought, I’ll just have a hamburger, hold the mayo”

    You win so bad.

  114. igglanova
    November 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    DAS: Having feedingtime (including breastfeeding) in the court will confuse people: once people start eating in the courtroom, whenever the judge calls for “order in the court”, people will start shouting out things like “I’ll have a tuna sandwich please” and “what are the specials for today? … oh, on second thought, I’ll just have a hamburger, hold the mayo”

    *snort*

  115. may
    November 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Every time any of the many poor discriminated against men in the world sees that a woman, who only got ahead because she is a woman, can actually do his work of providing food and security for “his children” he feels that all women are essentially smacking him in the face (with their whipped out boobies). They only want boobies reserved for sexytime so they won’t feel inadequate. Think of their fee fees and do what is best for everyone!

  116. November 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    XtinaS: samanthab @43:
    I suddenly want to see a crossover between breastfeeding moms and a spaghetti western.
    “Go ahead, punk — feed my babe. *pchew pchew*”

    Pfft! Can’t laugh…client…in…room…

  117. Mama Mia
    November 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I trust Starbucks to tell me what the socially responsible beverages are: soy, fat-free, skim, 2%, whole, fair trade, sustainable, and all that. If it isn’t on the menu at Starbucks, it shouldn’t be coming out of your boob.

  118. VG
    November 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Conflict of interest note: I have it on reliable authority that Caperton was breast fed in public. This explains her obvious Lesbian feminazi attitudes.

  119. Adaquinn
    November 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Mama Mia: I trust Starbucks to tell me what the socially responsible beverages are: soy, fat-free, skim, 2%, whole, fairtrade, sustainable, and all that. If it isn’t on the menu at Starbucks, it shouldn’t becoming out of your boob.

    Mom-Latte

  120. confused
    November 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Your honor, this woman gave birth to a NAKED CHILD!

  121. Caperton
    November 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    VG: Conflict of interest note: I have it on reliable authority that Caperton was breast fed in public. This explains her obvious Lesbian feminazi attitudes.

    OH MY GOD DADDY

  122. November 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    shelly:
    Breastfeeding encourages grown people to adopt infantilism as a fetish.(Totally crazy, I know, but… work with me?)

    This is more reasonable than you might think. Man sees boob and is aroused -> man notices boob is being used for an infant -> man conflates his arousal with being an infant (in part because infants get access to boobs). It’s all so simple, and yet so sinister…

    Over-the top counter-argument: anyone opposed to nursing in public is directly advocating for removing food from the mouths of starving infants. What kind of monster do you have to be to look at a tiny, helpless baby and decide that they need to go hungry? You should feel ashamed of yourself.

  123. preying mantis
    November 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    confused: Your honor, this woman gave birth to a NAKED CHILD!

    If it please the court, I would like to introduce evidence that this woman waged a 9-month campaign in which this infant was subjected to constant contact with her reproductive organs, culminating in a sustained physical assault so severe that the child has needed frequent and thorough “well-baby” check-ups since then to recover. I also have evidence that she has been subjecting the child to repeated contact with her breasts since then, demonstrating an utter lack of remorse and complete disregard for the well-being of her victim.

  124. DouglasG
    November 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Here’s a new one – what if female defending counsel began distracting the jury by breastfeeding during key portions of the prosecution case? I’ll bet such a trick would have made Rumpole green with envy.

  125. suspect class
    November 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Caperton: OH MY GOD DADDY

    Best. I am going to read this thread every day now. Forever.

  126. Lolagirl
    November 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    “Over-the top counter-argument: anyone opposed to nursing in public is directly advocating for removing food from the mouths of starving infants. What kind of monster do you have to be to look at a tiny, helpless baby and decide that they need to go hungry? You should feel ashamed of yourself.”

    Ok, the tone is overly-dramatic, but the sentiment behind this statement is actually perfectly reasonable. Infants (especially while in the noob stage) need to eat often. Stopping a woman for nursing her baby in public would force the baby to go hungry unnecessarily. It is also a shameful attempt to enforce outmoded and sexist notions on all women (e.g. that breasts are only for men’s enjoyment and titillation, more general body shaming issues, and issues related to traditional gender roles being forced on women.)

  127. shfree
    November 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Does no one think of the poor bottle manufacturers, here? They have to make a living, too.

  128. November 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Many women can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding. Therefore, she’s publicly FLAUNTING her unwillingness to create more embryos! Who will speak up for the un-conceived? Their rights are just as important as the already born baby! And probably more important than the woman!

    What if the judge is pro-life? His job shouldn’t require him to witness this! It’s practically MURDER!

  129. November 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    It is a testament to… something… that a number of comments here gave me serious pause before I realised the commenters were following the post, not genuinely presenting arguments.  -.-

  130. Donna L
    November 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    chingona: There are federal judges on the bench today who don’t let women who are wearing pants into their courtroom.

    Is this meant as a serious comment? I know that that was still true in 1980 or so (amazingly enough), although I think it was more likely to happen with a state court judge. Now? Federal judges? I’m skeptical.

  131. preying mantis
    November 18, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Off-topic, I know, but I’ve been thinking: We all know, from watching Law & Order if nothing else, that judges can demand that women wear skirts in their courtroom. Can they demand women wear pants? Cover their hair? Can they make dudes wear skirts? ‘Cuz I could see going to law school and pursuing a political career if it meant I could mandate kilts-only Fridays.

  132. rain
    November 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    saurus @ 47:

    I don’t have a problem with breastfeeding, but in certain places it’s just unprofessional. In the real world, not the feminist universe, businesses have the right to require certain kids of attire, and I would certainly never go around lactating titties. I don’t disagree that it’s stigmatized, but the truth is that if you want to be taken seriously, you can’t just feed people out of your boobs. Sometimes getting ahead in this world means accepting that you can’t just do whatever you want, no matter how milky and delicious, just because it’s feminist.

    There was a Canadian tax case, Symes, where a law partner unsuccessfully tried to deduct her child care costs as an expense against business income. In this feminist analysis of the case, Audrey Macklin is quoted:

    . . . as long as business is the exclusive domain of men, the commercial needs of businesses has been dictated by what men (think they) need to expend in order
    to produce income [including club fees, leased cars, and other similar expenses] . . .
    [Since] men have (until very recently) been the only people engaging in business, it is
    easy enough to conflate the needs of businessmen and the needs of business. Women’s
    needs in doing business will necessarily be different, and one might reasonably demand a
    reconceptualization of “business expenses” that reflects the changing composition of the
    business class.

    Or, as one of the lawyers on the case said of the decision: “The failure to challenge the long-standing social norms associated with gender roles and the division of labour in the household and the lack of acknowledgment of the public good of caring for children continue to cast a long shadow on the struggle for women’s equality.”
    I think the same could be said of what’s considered professional appearance and behavior. If men were the breastfeeders, would the concept of professionalism include some accommodation for them to perform this function? Or would we stop taking them seriously if we saw them nursing?

    For some strange reason, I was thinking of singlet boners. Look at how everyone seems to take it in stride, how it’s just accepted as something that happens to guys. I mean, sure, I imagine the guys are embarrassed, and there’s people loading it up to YouTube so everyone can point and jeer, but I don’t see any concerted effort to ban wrestling or anyone saying it’s inappropriate for guys to wrestle in a public place where children might see. I don’t even see calls for changing the wrestling uniform to something a little more modest. It’s more like, “That’s wrestling and that’s what we wear. Deal.” Why can’t we have that for breastfeeding?

  133. EG
    November 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Katya: many courthouses have daycare for children of people who are appearing in court.

    How would that work for babies who are still receiving food by nursing, though? Would the baby just sit there, hungry and screaming its head off, until the judge got around to dealing with its mother’s ticket, or whatever?

    Andie: However, as has been pointed out, she was not ‘in front of the judge’. She was in the back of the room, waiting to go in front of the judge.

    Exactly. Are we seriously supposed to believe that if she had been in the back of the courtroom, waiting to be called, reading a paperback, the bailiff would have thought that worth passing a note to the judge about?

    If the answer is yes, then I’m going to expand my condemnation of this judge in particular, and note that our entire court system is all kinds of stupid.

  134. November 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I’m also gonna add that in a world that makes any kind of sense, any nursing person who might be taken into custody should be _strongly encouraged_ to have the child present in court, so that they might be taken into custody together and held in a safe, supported nursing-child unit. Forcible separationg of a nursing pair is cruel and – well – sadly, not unusual.

  135. chingona
    November 19, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Hey Hey Helen: One of the new, valid points I’ve seen on this thread is that no one is allowed to eat in the courtroom, so the baby shouldn’t either. But I think it’s important to note that babies have to eat much more often than adults. Newborns eat as much as every hour! So I understand the analogy, but I don’t think the situations are parallel.

    I was one of the people who wrote that, but I meant it in the “let’s come up with new arguments” vein, not the “this is a valid point” vein. Cause, um, babies. It would be seriously inappropriate for me to crap my pants in court too, but I would hope the judge wouldn’t hold a baby in contempt for filling its diaper.

    I’m in court fairly regularly for work, and despite the “no eating and drinking” signs, lots of people have bottles of water or even coffee travel mugs, including the attorneys. The judge could, if he or she wanted to, order everyone with water out of the courtroom. But just cause the judge is within his rights wouldn’t mean he wasn’t being an asshole.

  136. chingona
    November 19, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Caity: Fun fact: if you eat vanilla-flavoured things regularly while lactating some of the compounds that give vanilla it’s sweet yumminess will be excreted in your breastmilk. Not sure about chocolate, though

    Human milk is really sweet all on its own. It might very well be more vanila-y if you eat vanilla, but even without it, it’s like the milk left in the bowl after you eat Frosted Flakes sweet.

  137. chingona
    November 19, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Donna L: Now? Federal judges? I’m skeptical.

    I know of one who was on the bench in the mid-2000s. He might be retired by now. (I don’t know the name. A co-worker of mine was occasionally in his courtroom.) I’m sure it’s pretty rare. My point was only is that judges have a lot of discretion and the public has very little recourse.

  138. November 19, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Amarantha:
    breastfeeding is unsanitary because the milk is stored at 98.6 degrees. People, milk and other dairy products should always be stored at 45 degrees or below, in a refrigerator, especially if those foods are in a restaurant. Violation of the health code!!!

    I find this very discriminatory, not ALL women have body temperatures of 98.6 degrees. It;s very important to consider the wide range of normative body temperatures and how they relate to the axises of oppression. Congratulations on the successful erasure of millions of women.

  139. Josephine.e
    November 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Maybe I just have more respect for babies (yknow, tiny people who are completely helpless and innocent) than I do the Judicial System. This seems so ridiculous to me! After nursing three babes whenever and where ever I wanted (actually, when THEY wanted), it just seems like second nature to me. Comparing breastfeeding to reading a newspaper or fiddling with one’s cell phone is just silly. A better comparison would be … I dunno, bouncing a baby on your knee, or smiling at a baby, or tickling a baby, or .. well, doing anything with a baby.

    This just reminds me of the “people with kids should stay our of ADULT (read: public) spaces” argument. Kids are different than adults. Babies are HUGELY different than adults. It’s strange to me when I hear people make comparisons like “Well, if there’s no eating in the courtroom, that should go for babies, too.” Why? The way I used to nurse, there was nothing distracting about it (unless you had a hang up bout nursing in public), at least no more “distracting” than having a baby in the room to begin with.. so the only logic I can see here is “These are the rules that respectful people follow. If you do not follow these rules then you are lacking in respect!” … Or, maybe these are the rules that MEN created without even thinking of respecting mothers and children. Maybe it’s time to rewrite the rules!

  140. Verity Khat
    November 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I am SO GLAD that I got to work a few minutes early today, because I’ve been guffawing for almost 10 straight minutes and have done more than a few spit-takes reading all your hilarious comments! I seriously have tears squeezing out of my eyes, I’m laughing so hard.

    In all seriousness, though, if babies are allowed to do human things like attend to hunger in a courtroom, they might get the idea that they’re human beings with human rights. Everyone knows only fetuses have rights; once you’re born you’re just SOL, kiddo.

  141. roo
    November 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Well, the antis could have said it’d be inappropriate for her to be standing in front of the judge, chowing down on a burger– so why should he baby be eating in the same situation?

    I don’t know, I can’t get past that it seems so much more preferable to have a mom BFing than to have a hungry baby wailing in the courtroom,

    People are stupid.

  142. roo
    November 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    EG: Howwouldthatworkforbabieswhoarestillreceivingfoodbynursing,though?Wouldthebabyjustsitthere,hungryandscreamingitsheadoff,untilthejudgegotaroundtodealingwithitsmother’sticket,orwhatever?

    Exactly.Areweseriouslysupposedtobelievethatifshehadbeeninthebackofthecourtroom,waitingtobecalled,readingapaperback,thebailiffwouldhavethoughtthatworthpassinganotetothejudgeabout?

    Iftheanswerisyes,thenI’mgoingtoexpandmycondemnationofthisjudgeinparticular,andnotethatourentirecourtsystemisallkindsofstupid.

    Oh, and speaking for myself, I would not be willing to hand off my baby to some random courthouse daycare I know nothing about. Babies are too little and need too much care to be trusted to public servant number three.

    Never mind the whole, “oh yeah, and he has to eat, too!” aspect.

  143. roo
    November 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Oh! Thought of one.

    Since I can’t breastfeed my baby, if I sat near another woman breastfeeding, I might be cruelly tempted to sneak up and latch my baby on to her when she wasn’t looking.

    HAHA! Your gut flora will be mine! I steal your antibodies!!!

    It’d be encouraging the delinquency of a bottle feeder.

  144. thatwoman
    November 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    That’s #6. Wanna try something original?

    I breastfed my kids for a total of more than 5 years, and while there were a lot of things I did ‘whip it out’ was not on the list.

    Blondie, Esq.:
    Ithinkit’sinappropriatetowhipoutabreastinpublic.Period.(Ialsopersonallydon’twanttoseeit.)Idon’tunderstandwhyanyonewouldwanttodoitinpublic.I’mwithBethennyFrankelandotherwomenwhoagreethatit’sjustnotappropriate.

  145. Kristen J.
    November 20, 2011 at 1:35 am

    roo: It’d be encouraging the delinquency of a bottle feeder.

    Best.Argument.Ever.

  146. Raja
    November 20, 2011 at 3:06 am

    RootedInBeing:
    Itisabsolutelyridiculousthatwecannotgetpastseeingbreastsaspurelysexual,youknow–notlifesustainingoranything–justcauseforahardon.

    So are our genitals for that matter as they have the purpose that is nonsexual which is releasing waste that the body doesn’t need. But we don’t let people walk around naked in public either. Whether that is a good or bad thing is an entirely different moral debate

  147. Kay
    November 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    What, are you kidding me? RAW milk?!!

  148. Em
    November 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I was a trial lawyer for years before staying home with my kids. The “no food or drink” rule serves a number of purposes — protecting people with allergies, avoiding spills or crumbs, and avoiding distracting noises or smells. All of which are effectively not issues with nursing. Except that I used to spray across a room quite easily, but I’d wear a pad in public in those days. I’ve always gone by the rule that a screaming baby is far more distracting than me sitting in a corner cuddling them.
    You ladies crack me up, this was awesome!

  149. Anna
    November 21, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Well, if you leave a baby to go hungry, they start to scream.

    Putting a booby in their mouth and feeding them is clearly inhibiting their natural urge to release tension and let go of their emotions by having a good, cathartic scream.

    Want a generation of emotionally-inhibited children? Fine, go on and selfishly feed them in court when they would much rather be screaming.

  150. EmilyCaroline9
    November 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    If we let women breast feed in public, children might start thinking that bodies are functional for something other than sex. THE HORROR.

  151. PGH
    November 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Too bad she wasn’t in Pittsburgh, she could have called the milk truck for help. Not only is it legal to breastfeed in public, it’s also legal to drive a truck with a giant boob.

    http://www.themilktruck.org/

  152. Jigglypuff
    November 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Blondie, Esq.: i

    What is it with anti-breastfeeding people and referring to “whipping”? I have yet to see someone “whip out” their breast when they are feeding a child. They simply adjust their shirt so the baby’s mouth can reach the nipple. Jesus Christ.

  153. antiprincess
    November 28, 2011 at 7:24 am

    What is it with anti-breastfeeding people and referring to “whipping”? I have yet to see someone “whip out” their breast when they are feeding a child. They simply adjust their shirt so the baby’s mouth can reach the nipple. Jesus Christ.

    oh, I whip them out all the time. just yesterday on the city bus I put someone’s eye out. WIN!

Comments are closed.