the baggy trousered misanthropist

missives issued from the lair

original

Image via huffpost.

Jackie Johnson-Smith found this message written on her receipt after a restaurant meal with her family. During the meal, Johnson-Smith breastfed her baby and the waitress who wrote it, aware of the negative responses such behaviour sometimes provokes was moved to offer her support, stating that “We need to come together and support each other when it comes to nursing our children.

Johnson-Smith was so touched by Bodi Kinney’s gesture that she photographed the receipt and posted it on Facebook. Her full response is here, but the line that caught my heart was the last one.

…although I don’t need a pat on the back for feeding my child, it sure felt amazing. It is amazing how we women can make each other feel when we empower each other.

It reminded me that feminism was founded on principles of mutual support and the benefits of sharing experiences. Somehow that’s become lost, probably somewhere underneath the dust and debris that falls as we all desperately scramble for purchase on the increasingly crowded wall of ownership and academic superiority.

The truth is, we’ve over complicating it. It really is that easy, and as human beings, we should all be doing it.

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One thought on “Feminism: If It Was That Easy, We’d All Be Doing It

  1. andrewoakley says:

    Breastfeeding should be encouraged, but where an informed decision to use bottle has been made, this should be respected, and once that decision has been made, society needs to support parents of ANY gender in feeding their children, not just solely one gender.

    Raising children is NOT a feminist issue. Indeed, the concept that childcare is not solely the role of women is kind of the whole origin of feminism.

    Telling a dad that he’s not allowed to feed his children in hospital should be just as unacceptable as telling a mum that she’s not allowed to feed her children in a restaurant.

    There is a darker side to the cult of breastfeeding, particularly amongst midwives and neonatal nurses. We have twins; twins are usually bottle-fed since despite having two breasts, modern humans don’t usually produce enough milk to feed two (some mothers can, good for them; most can’t). With twins also generally being underweight compared to singletons, it is even more important that they get a full feed. So when, after several weeks of breastfeeding, our younger (smaller) twin was still having trouble with feeding and weight gain, we made the informed decision to switch to bottle. The nurses advised us to bring the twins back into hospital for a few days for observation. My wife was exhausted, so I offered to stay at the hospital and look after the twins whilst she rested at home.

    Except the hospital refused point blank to allow me to stay overnight with my own children. Only mothers were allowed to stay with their children. Fathers were not allowed on the premises after 10pm. I was totally shocked. My wife specifically requested that I stay with her for as long as possible, “in case they try to bully me into breastfeeding again”. Sure, enough, nurses kept on and on pushing for breastfeeding, every quarter of an hour or so for several hours, despite my wife clearly telling them no. Eventually I had to make a formal complaint to the ward sister that my wife had asked me to protect her from being bullied into breastfeeding.

    Where we need to be, is a world where fathers are just as acceptable a sight bottle feeding overnight on postnatal wards, as mothers are breastfeeding in public. Overnight postnatal bottlefeeding dads will, of course, remain a rare sight – if you can breastfeed, then you should – but telling a dad that he’s not allowed to feed his children in hospital should be just as unacceptable as telling a mum that she’s not allowed to feed her children in a restaurant.

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