modesty isn’t the issue

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.”

FOXNews.com – Woman Claims She Was Kicked Off Flight for Breast-Feeding Baby – Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

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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5 thoughts on “modesty isn’t the issue”

  1. I sent a note to Delta and got a response I was definitely not pleased with.

    Delta fully supports a mother’s decision to breastfeed . We even
    provide rooms in our workplaces for our employees who are nursing
    mothers to pump and store breast milk . We just ask that mothers use
    their own discretion as they would in any other public place.

    And, this is after I specifically stated in my letter that I thought it was unacceptable that they asked the mother to put a blanket over her toddler’s head. Do they allow flight attendant’s to randomly ask people to put blankets over their heads while eating?
    In the case of this woman, it wasn’t even that other passengers had an issue with it, but one single flight attendant who decided she was “offended” that the woman was nursing her toddler.
    I am writing back to say that I won’t be flying with Delta. Sorry, but I could also care less about what you allow your employees to do. I am a potential passenger who might want to bring her children with her, and, oh, *feed* them on the international 15-hour flight! I support breastfeeding/pumping facilities in workplaces, surely, but this is not even remotely responsive to the letter I sent them. Disturbing…

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  2. Ha! Giving blankets to women wearing low-cut blouses… I love that idea! It would be a great candid camera sketch to raise awareness about people’s ridiculously outrageous reactions to breastfeeding.

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  3. This just burns me up. I can’t believe the ignorance as to the actual purpose of boobs. This is as surprising as the Victoria’s Secret clerk who wouldn’t let a woman breastfeed in an enclosed dressing room because it was unsanitary. Thanks – I’ll email Delta too.

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