Thursday, November 16, 2006

Campaign to Partition Women's Bodies

Posted on Alternet.org

I'm thinking that instead of legislating what women can and cannot do with their own bodies in this country, we should propose a law that partition's women's bodies into sections much like what we seem to be doing with Iraqi land.

Therefore, we can enact one law that lords over a woman's uterus related to all things reproductive: pregnancy, abortion, childbirth. A woman' s uterus may be used to grow and house the pre-born but may not be emptied of its contents via an abortion.

We can then legislate women's breasts allowing for the bearing of boobs on billboards, in strip clubs and in television & print advertising - that is, for purposes solely related to ogling and superficial sexuality.

Public breastfeeding is OUT under those legal tenets. We all know how repulsive breastfeeding is, right?

According to Delta Airlines, breastfeeding your baby on an airplane is tantamount to public drunkenness and will get you thrown off a flight. On October 13th, as a Delta flight was preparing to take off from Burlington, Vermont, a 27 year-old mother, seated in the second to last row in a window seat, preceded to breastfeed her 22 month old child.

A flight attendant asked her to "cover up" and offered her a blanket - which the mother declined. The flight attendant, apparently up-in-arms over this blasphemy, called to a Delta ticket agent to remove the family (!) from the plane. The young mother, feeling extremely embarrassed at that moment, complied.

MSNBC quotes the mother as saying, "It embarrassed me. That was my first reaction, which is a weird reaction for doing something so good for a child."

I'd say so. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services both promote breastfeeding as a tremendous health benefit for the baby as well as, in some instances, for the mother (it has been reported that breastfeeding reduces a woman's risk of breast cancer later in life).

In fact, the CDC is committed to increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States. Delta Airlines needs to step up to the plate and institute a company-wide policy that directly addresses public breastfeeding as permissible as well as ensure that their employees are up to snuff with their cultural competency skills.

According to MomsRising.org, a new advocacy web site started by Joan Blades from Moveon.org and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (author of The Motherhood Manifesto) this mother was publicly humiliated for doing what doctors, and even large government agencies advocate. They've got a petition going to Delta Airlines to encourage support of breastfeeding mothers.

They are also lobbying to get Congress to pass an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 called the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. Not sure what that is but it's worth some research...

9 comments:

Nodesh said...

I enjoyed reading about your "partitioning." Tis definitely a mixed message that is being sent to mothers who want to try and do the right thing. I just hope this Delta incident doesn't further isolate moms who might say to themselves "well, I could get into trouble for doing this, so perhaps I shouldnt...".

Anonymous said...

I am a Delta flight attendant. I don't know the details of the situation in which this nursing Mother was removed from the flight.
But, I want you to know I would NEVER ask a nursing Mother to cover her baby. Flight attendants are nursing Mothers too. I pumped my breasts for 6 months while I went to work and flew a Miami-New York round trip 3 days a week when my daughter was an infant.
The actions of one flight attendant should not reflect on all flight attendants.
Thank you,
Eileen

Anonymous said...

"Covering up" with one of those filthy blankets could amount to infanticide. The attendant and only that attendent should be spanked. I was on a flight on another airline when the flight attendant did not want a sight-impaired woman to have her Guide Dog in the cabin because she was seated in the first row. Ah, Coach Class! The passenger resisted and a Customer Service rep was called in. She realized that the law was being broken and she said that the woman and her Black Lab could stay after all. Profuse apologies all over...

Amie Newman said...

Clearly, this is an issue for Delta Airlines to confront as a company policy issue. I hear you, Eileen, that one flight attendant's actions should not (and do not, in my view) reflect upon all who work for Delta. I am just incredibly frustrated with society's expectations regarding what women's bodies can or cannnot be used for! As a mother of two, I can tell you that - as nodesh referred to - breastfeeding is difficult enough without the fear that you'll be publicly humiliated for it!

Thanks for commenting, all!

Carrie said...

What can one really say that has not already been said....perhaps the attendants discomfort came from the AGE of the child being nursed.Has anyone pondered that idea???? I, myself, have nursed three of my children, and all of them have had "public" nursing here or there, but only when the situation could not be done in private. I support every aspect of public breastfeeding, however, I DO NOT support it after 18 months of age. Most of a childs nourishment should come from food served on a plate. If anyone really did any research in this matter, they would discover that the AAP does clearly state that nursing after 18 months of age serves hardly any nutritional purpose at all, and that it clearly could only be recommended for calming purposes. With that said, I believe that her reasons for nursing a 22 month old child were simply for that reason, to calm her, and SHE STILL HAS THAT DAMN RIGHT, REGARDLESS OF ANYONE'S DISCOMFORT OTHER THAN HER CHILDS.!!!!!! I would not care to see someone breastfeeding a child old enough to SAY what flavor mommy's milk tasted like, however, I still think we should all be allowed to do it whenever and where ever we want.
With that being said, maybe National Security should have breastfeeding mothers banned from all check points, we are carrying liquids in our bodies, right?! haha that was a joke for the lame.

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