After my recent kvetching about my breastfeeding boobs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this story about a woman who was kicked off a plane for breastfeeding her child.
Take a moment to think about that. A woman. Kicked off a plane. For feeding her child. Why should that sentence be any different with the word “breast” in it?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Clearly the airline thought those breasts could be a threat to our national security.” And I can’t argue with that. Breasts are obviously weapons of terror, and babies? Oh, don’t get me started on the danger of babies.
The only other explanation is that we as a society are so uncomfortable with breastfeeding that the idea of ejecting a family from a plane because the mother refused the suggestion of covering her baby’s head with a blanket while he nursed sounds reasonable because breastfeeding? Inherently immodest. Obscene.
“A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way,” that does not bother others, said Paul Skellon, spokesman for Phoenix-based Freedom. “She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that’s all I know.”
And a mother should feed her child discreetly…why? Food consumption is allowed on airlines. Flight attendants regularly hand passengers food items, which they can consume at their leisure. I have eaten food on a flight in the past, and I do not recall ever being told that I must do so discreetly, under a blanket, to spare my fellow passengers embarassment. Does bottle-feeding require discretion? Do flight attendants demand that bottle-feeding children eat under cover?
And if it’s a breast issue, what exactly do we intend to do about women in low-cut blouses? Are they given blankets? (I’m entertained to no end by this idea, but that’s neither here nor there.) Even the most eagle-eyed fellow passenger, craning his or her neck to ogle the breastfeeding mother, can see no more exposed breast than is visible in your average tank top. Then again, we are a society who collectively panicked by the momentary glimpse of Janet Jackson’s nipple. Go, us.
Delta and Freedom airlines: feeding a child is not immodest. It does not require discretion. If a mother chooses for her own comfort to cover up while breastfeeding: fine. Some mothers do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it does not suggest that it’s a requirement.
Let’s all take a moment to tell Delta how utterly ridiculous this whole thing is. Shame on you, Delta.
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