Boobs Making Breast-Feeding Laws? February 23, 2006Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Family, Politics, Stupidity, Uncategorized.
Well, proving that some of the biggest public boobs are not being showcased in this past week’s Sports Illustrated, the Kentucky legislature is now considering a law that would prohibit anyone from interfering, in any way, with a mother breast-feeding in any public or private place. The behavior is not to be subject to any obscenity laws, period.
Now, as a man, I have to admit that I have never been in the situation of wanting to breast-feed my child and unable to do so because of shame or fear of social retribution. Likewise, I’ve never experienced fear of the local porn club asking if I can pole dance and breast-feed at the same time.
Dirty Diapers, Done Dirty Cheap
The obvious analogy is changing the diaper. I seriously doubt that anyone is going to find a naked infant to be lewd (though I have changed some diapers that were obscene), but honestly, who wants to do this in an overly public way? Certainly, nobody wants to watch it. Is it natural? Yes! Is it healthy? Yes! Do I want to watch it? No!
Keeping Abreast of Social Change
Back to the issue at hand, namely breast-feeding in public. Am I baffled why any woman would want to engage in the very private, very personal form of contact in a way that might violate obscenity laws? Yes, I am baffled. The fact that we are looking into passing this law suggests that somewhere, a mother was breast-feeding in a public place, and someone was offended.
Why were they offended? Well, in America, you can count on offending someone by doing most anything. For some reason, our offense-o-meters seem to go off with radical ease, and instead of learning to ignore behavior that we don’t like, we rush off to our state capitols to scream “there outta be a law” to our representatives. They, tending toward knee-jerk behavior associated with keeping their jobs (instead of doing the job for a term, and then going back to being a productive person), immediately pick up the flag of the voter and begin waving it until some larger group hands them a flag with stronger support (that is, campaign donations).
The Best Offense is… Cartoons?
On the other side, we have those who, in the manner of the Danish newspapers, look for every opportunity to offend someone as a means of proving their right to do so. I fully support the right to free speach that the Danes are trying to (supposedly) demonstrate. What frustrates me is the notion that if a publication chooses not to publish the cartoons, that they are somehow “cowing to the extremist Muslims!” Maybe they just don’t get their jollies by going around offending people to prove a point.
This is the same concern that I have for the legislation that’s pending in Frankfort. We either have a severe case of “lactation presentation” in public (that is, very indiscreet breast-feeding), or we have some people who need to get a life, and stop being offended at something that is completely natural. How do we solve this, short of passing a law? The answer is simple.
Be Considerate of Others
If you’re in public and need to breast-feed your child, show some consideration for the people who may not want to see your breast flipped out in the middle of the Wal-Mart. For the time being, the laws in the US generally prohibit publicly displaying your breast in other contexts (unless you happen to be a cover model of the aforementioned SI Swimsuit Issue). Instead of pushing for your right to “do what is natural,” show some thought about those around you, and how they may react.
On the other hand, if you’re offended at seeing a woman breast-feeding a child, and she’s doing so with some discretion (that is, keeping her breast covered while nursing), then maybe you need to consider the situation that the mother is in. This may be, for any number of reasons, the only opportunity that she has to feed the child. Likewise, if you were in the same situation, you might very well take the same actions. Even if you wouldn’t take those actions, look at the larger picture: Is society going to crumble because a woman is nursing her child publicly? Is this the end of civilization as we know it?
The Uncivil Civilization
In truth, we’re seeing an increasingly uncivil civilization. We have less and less tolerance of those who disagree with our views, possibly because we surround ourselves with only people who agree with those views to begin with (a “social monoculture”). This is dangerous, as it pushes us toward legislating everything, where all of our own annoying behaviors may offend someone else enough to shout “there outta be a law.”
What happens then? What happens if we push laws like the one before the KY legislature? Will the law specify that the child be less than a certain age? If there’s a minimum age, will there be an outcry from those who recommend breast-feeding past infancy (some suggest doing so to at least 7 years of age!). Will there be a “lactation check” to confirm that the mother is truly producing milk? If not, will the malls be filled with strippers having someone attached to their mammary glands?
Ready to Say, “That Sucks”?
After all, what they’re doing is completely natural. Who’s to say that the 18 year-old “mom” and her 19 year-old boyfriend aren’t engaging in something supported by the current law? I’m sure there’s a study to support that it’s beneficial for his nutrition and social development.