This is yesterday’s news but it has been a busy week.
On Monday, I participated in a Nurse-In. Outside a radio station in Greenville. By the side of a busy road. With other women. I breastfed my baby.
Now I realize this action may not make a whole lot of sense to some of my readers. Let me give the back story.
We have a local radio personality–Lisa Rollins–who went on a tirade on the air about seeing a mom nursing her baby at a local Chick-fil-a. She said some of the more awful things I’ve heard about nursing in public. Things like…oh, nevermind, just read for yourself:
Lisa: I know that sometimes I talk about things that are not always appealing to men, and so I’m trying to do better with that. But you know I just I’ve gotta tell you all about something. . . . I’ll just tell you. Saturday, yesterday, we went to Chic Fil A. . . . Sat down, I was waiting for my husband to pay and bring the food. My daughter and I were sitting there and looked over and it was a woman who was breastfeeding. She had just walked in, because I saw her walk in. She walked in, she passed us, she went and sat in a booth, actually not a booth they have tables there rather than enclosed booths. We were in the one at Cherrydale. She sat down and she started breastfeeding her baby. So my daughter looked over at me and she went, “mom, see that lady over there?” And I said, “you know, could she not have done this in the car? I mean, she was on the way here, couldn’t she have, you know, while they were driving there, just breastfeed the baby?” And my daughter went “I knew you’d hate that.”
Yeah I do, I hate it. I just don’t understand why in a public place you want to – and she was covered by the baby’s head, you know her shirt was partially – I just, to me it was sorta just in such bad taste. And I know it’s just me, I guess, but is anybody out there as turned off by public breastfeeding as am I? Listen I know God gave’em to you for that purpose and wonderful, and it’s healthy and it’s the best thing to do for your child, and I understand it’s healthy for the mother as well. I just think that there should be laws – and in South Carolina there are none, no laws about this, that women should not breastfeed in a public area, and especially in a restaurant. For goodness sakes. Listen let her go to the ladies room. Let her go, our church has a breastfeeding room.
Lonzo: Can I ask you a question? Would you have noticed her if your daughter hadn’t pointed her out?
Lisa: Yes. Oh yeah, I do notice things like that. But my daughter knew that I find that to be disgusting. I just don’t see a reason for it. If she had time to, and then I thought maybe the baby was sleeping in the car on the way here, and awoke right when they walked in, I don’t know. You know you could have sat there for five or ten or however many minutes it takes to do so in the privacy of your vehicle. And then I thought also, it is 100 dadgum degrees. There’s just something about it. . . . It just bothers me, and I know that I’m probably one of the very few, if maybe the only one, but this is something that I find to be in poor taste, and I guess maybe it was because of the way I was raised, there are just some things you don’t do in public. Why is this not indecent exposure? And I don’t mean that she had her breast out and that you could really see it, but it was just I don’t know, it sorta made me, well I was gonna say lose my appetite but I won’t go that far.
Lonzo: Was she like sitting out in the open going like “hey everybody look at me, look at what I’m doing!”
Lisa: Well of course not, Lonzo, of course not.
Lonzo: So you really had to be looking around.
Lisa: Lonzo if I were sitting here, and I had a baby, and I pulled my shirt up, and I stuck my baby’s head right here, I mean would that not be noticeable to you? Of course it would be.
Lonzo: If she did it that way, I don’t understand your complaint.
Lisa: But that’s what, that’s the way she was doing it, I just find it to be . . .
Lonzo: So nothing was exposed?
Lisa: No. Not really.
Lonzo: So what’s the big deal?
Lisa: The big deal is that it’s just not the place, and listen I’m all I know these people . . .
Lonzo: So you’d rather that baby been screaming its head off while you’re trying to eat?
Lisa: If you really wanna get me riled up, you know I think if you’ve got a nursing baby . . .
Lonzo: Then you shouldn’t go anywhere, you shouldn’t go to a restaurant, your life should be over until the kid is four?
Lisa: I think you should be discreet and stay at home . . .
Lonzo: It sounds like she was discreet if you couldn’t see anything
Lisa: Or pump and take the bottle with you or something. But I don’t want to see it. I just don’t want to see it, especially while I’m having lunch.
Lonzo: Maybe you should have went to a different restaurant.
Lisa: That has nothing to do with the restaurant I mean anyplace allows that, but I think when a mother chooses to do so in public, I just don’t think it’s always in the best of taste. And I think there should be indecency laws about that, because I don’t want to see it in a public place. You know go to the ladies room, go somewhere, go to your car, pump your breastmilk, but I don’t want to see it in public, sorry. And I know that most of, especially a lot of you nursing moms and women who are in the La Leche League or whatever are going to disagree with me, but so be it, it’s my opinion and you’re certainly entitled to yours.
Lisa: (in response to Judy) Well I mean, you say it’s not as easy as simple as I’m making it sound to be, but even when you’re not nursing, and I did not nurse my children, even when you’re not nursing and you have to prepare, you prepare your formula and your bottles and the juice, and whatever you need to take along with you. That’s just good preparation. I mean if there’s a time when you know you have to leave immediately because of an emergency, which I doubt would be the case because you had to get to a McDonald’s, I just think it’s preparation. So you just have to have some prepared, am I wrong? And I can understand and I know nursing moms, you know God bless ya, I think that’s a choice, probably the wisest choice you can make as a parent. I just don’t want to see it in public, and I don’t want to be you know rude about it, but for heaven’s sakes. I didn’t, I was thinking, it’s just bad manners as far as I’m concerned to hike your blouse up and have a baby’s head underneath, even if you’re not exposing yourself. You know you’re going to be attracting attention, whether it’s from other women or men for goodness sakes and I just don’t like to see it in public.
Lisa (in further response to Judy): Well actually I think that the individual should be more discreet, and that being, having good manners, that’s not up to the government to dictate. But it should be up to the individual, and if you don’t show restraint, listen, so be it – you think it’s a grand idea, I don’t see anything wrong with going into a restroom if you don’t see a specific nursing area and sitting on the toilet seat. If you gotta do it I guess you gotta do it. But to me there’s just no excuse for not being prepared enough to have nursed your baby before you left, in an emergency situation having some prepared bottles or something ready to go. I just find it objectionable.
And it went on and on. The tape of the show was removed from the website. And, in response, Bob McClain, another host on the station, interviewed Lin Cook from the SC Breastfeeding Coalition. But there has been no response from Lisa. Or the station regarding Lisa’s remarks.
You might say, “She has a right to her opinion.” Yes, she does. We weren’t asking for her to apologize. We were simply calling her on her ignorance and mean-spiritedness. Picking on mamas is not ok. Whether they bottle-feed, breastfeed, nurse covered, or uncovered–mamas have a tough job and deserve our support. Some of the comments from the WORD’s facebook page on the nurse-in are appalling. One guy posted about how he called a woman “white trash” for breastfeeding at Red Lobster. What is it about Red Lobster?? It takes a real man to bully a mom trying to feed a little baby.
My point is–Lisa isn’t alone in her opinion. And whatever attention we can bring to breastfeeding is important. So back to the Nurse-In.
It was fun! We were asked to leave the property soon after we arrived. So we went across the street where a business agreed to let us sit in their grassy space. News 4 was there and Kelly from the Parent Examiner. We sat in the grass and did the usual playdate stuff except there were cameras, signs, and we were on the highway! Norah asked if we were teaching mean people how to nurse their babies.
You can view better pictures by viewing the slideshow at the Parent Examiner’s coverage. Take a look. Get a good look at a nursing mom. We’re a terribly offensive bunch aren’t we? Scary stuff. One mom showed up who is no longer nursing. She chose to show some cleavage and she held a sign that said, “I’m showing more than a breastfeeding mom.”
Then the real fun began. A guy from the “Rise Guys” on 93.3 showed up in a strange costume wearing a bra and holding a sign that said, “I like boobs.” He marched about singing songs like “Amazing Grace.” I do not think he helped our cause.
In short, a group of women (and a rise guy) came together to stand up to bullies like Lisa. And not just in Greenville. In cities across the country, they gathered outside radio stations that air the Russ and Lisa show.
My husband was so very proud.