Feeding a child? Call the police! …again.

A woman in Asheville had the police called on her for breastfeeding. (Video news report at link).

An Asheville woman says she was asked to cover up or leave a local Denny’s restaurant while breastfeeding her son, Sunday afternoon.

Crystal Everitt says an employee approached her at her table.

“She said you can stay if you’re not going to breastfeed your child anymore, but if you’re going to breastfeed your child, you need to leave,” said Everitt. “And of course he still needed to eat, so I had to leave.”

Asheville Police were called, but since baring a woman’s breast is not illegal in North Carolina, no report was taken.

A North Carolina law excerpt:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

But I’m guessing the police wandered off without so much as issuing a warning to the restaurant proprietors for their illegal harassment of this family, eh?

This isn’t an isolated incident. Even in Australia, a woman was recently questioned by police at her workplace for expressing milk behind a closed curtain in a parents’ room on her break.

The mother has had some public support. And some outpourings of hate. You can sample some responses here:

That “baby” is WAY, WAY too old to be breast-feeding, most especially in public! He looks almost 2 years old! Buy a pump, lady!

Have some respect. Breast feed at home or somewhere private.

It’s about modesty and class.

Why is this so hard to understand. Most of us are are not offended by breastfeeding. It’s a natural thing. We just don’t want some b-o-o-b shoved in our faces in public.

I can’t stand to see a woman breast feed in public. It makes me uncomfortable and I sometimes think a woman breast feeds in public to get attention, “look at me I breast feed”. There are al lot of natural things babies, children and adults do p-ee p-ee and p-oo p-oo, vomit, but I don’t want to see it done in public. No I did not breast feed my boys,( They were attached to me as it was) and no I am not a prude

Just for consistency, I don’t want to see a fat guy’s big ole tiddy, either!

I don’t frequent nude beaches nor do I want to see a suckling infant, or in this case a two year old nursing out in the open. If they are old enough to walk, they are old enough to hold a bottle.

What if her husband wanted a sip too?

LADIES, if you want to breastfeed your child, whip them thangs out for us ALL to see.

This shit has got. to. stop.

hat tip to msmoss on twitter.



Categories: gender & feminism, social justice

Tags: , ,

28 replies

  1. Got issues much? “It makes me uncomfortable and I sometimes think a woman breast feeds in public to get attention, “look at me I breast feed”.”

  2. I can’t stand to see a woman breast feed in public. It makes me uncomfortable and I sometimes think a woman breast feeds in public to get attention, “look at me I breast feed”.

    Or… she’s already carrying around 10 kilos of assorted baby stuff, doesn’t want to be burdened by 3 more and knows she’ll be considered a nuisance just asking to have the bottle of pre-expressed milk heated up thats IF she can find somewhere to get it done and can keep it safely cool while shopping for a couple of hours before the kid is hungry.
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Disabled pay gap: Half-wage for half-made?

  3. What if her husband wanted a sip too?
    …in what universe does that even make sense? And props for the assumption that of course she has one!
    Shit like this makes me long for our own Gulabi Gang.

  4. …in what universe does that even make sense?

    I think it’s that universe where breastfeeding totally equals having sex.

  5. I think it’s that universe where breastfeeding totally equals having sex.
    No no, you’ve got to spell it out, like s-e-x. That way, the dog won’t understand that you really mean “walk”, and… what?
    (b-o-o-b. If you type it out, you’re already spelling it. I don’t understand!)

  6. ARGH. I will refrain from reading any more comments, as between this and the “traditional hospital birth” post I’m at my limit for righteous anger right before bed.

  7. I fail to see how a “b o o b” that’s currently breastfeeding is able to be shoved in the face of a random passer by.
    Michelle’s last blog post..Tagged

  8. I fail to see how a “b o o b” that’s currently breastfeeding is able to be shoved in the face of a random passer by.

    Well, from the lactation-intolerant person’s (LIP’s) point of view, everything is about them, on account of how they’re the centre of the universe and all. So when a woman across the room “whips out” her breast (something I don’t think I’ve ever seen happen), it’s all about either grossing the LIP out or about titillating them. Nothing else matters.

  9. Oh for sure, I realize that.. I just love, and by love I mean am mildly amused but mostly annoyed by, the phrase “shoved in my face” is used this way, by people who are bothered by someone in their vague vicinity doing something they don’t approve of.. like you said, it’s all about them.

  10. Yes… I think rather than the hassle of carrying bottles on milk (people seem to be serious about that, which is just outright bizarre!), it’s far easier to carry a light blanket. To put over the heads of anyone who complains. It could double handily as a vomit rug.

  11. “To put over the heads of anyone who complains. It could double handily as a vomit rug.”
    You got the order wrong.
    And make sure you put it over their head sticky side DOWN.

  12. That “baby” is WAY, WAY too old to be breast-feeding, most especially in public! He looks almost 2 years old! Buy a pump, lady!
    Ooh, yes! I love playing the “police a woman’s choice that is none of my beeswax” game! It’s even better than the “make women carry their unwanted fetuses to term and then complain about the drain on taxes these children cause” game!
    Have some respect. Breast feed at home or somewhere private.
    Respect? Why should anybody respect someone that doesn’t have the maturity in place to see a mother feed her child without being mortally offended?
    It’s about modesty and class.
    Oh. Only poor people feel a need to flash some tits as they try not to starve their child.
    Why is this so hard to understand. Most of us are are not offended by breastfeeding. It’s a natural thing. We just don’t want some b-o-o-b shoved in our faces in public.
    B o o b s are fucking natural! It’s part of that whole m a m m a l thing. You know, like mammaries? Oh, wait. Should I be saying mammaries? Isn’t that, you know, a word for br**sts? Br**sts are dirty, dirty things. I would hate to imply I support (heh) such filth.
    I can’t stand to see a woman breast feed in public. It makes me uncomfortable and I sometimes think a woman breast feeds in public to get attention, “look at me I breast feed”. There are al lot of natural things babies, children and adults do p-ee p-ee and p-oo p-oo, vomit, but I don’t want to see it done in public. No I did not breast feed my boys,( They were attached to me as it was) and no I am not a prude
    Feeding your fucking family is equated to the body’s excretory system. Delightful. What do they teach people in schools nowadays?
    Just for consistency, I don’t want to see a fat guy’s big ole tiddy, either!
    Ewww…fat people. They’re practically not people at all! Animals, even! Like cats! I hear cats breastfeed! It’s literally the same thing!
    I don’t frequent nude beaches nor do I want to see a suckling infant, or in this case a two year old nursing out in the open. If they are old enough to walk, they are old enough to hold a bottle.
    I mean, seriously, who wants to see nekkid people? Nobody likes nekkid people – people that are nekkid are about to have sex, and sex? Is totally grody, and I only do it to propagate the species. Because children are a blessing. As long as I don’t have to see them eat or being nekkid. Or p oo-p oo.
    What if her husband wanted a sip too?
    I think my snark just broke. I can’t grok this one. At all. It just makes me want to curl into a fetal position and weep for humanity.
    LADIES, if you want to breastfeed your child, whip them thangs out for us ALL to see.
    I appreciate this person’s point that parts of my LADY body are “thangs [sic]” – I love the smell of objectification in the morning!

  13. “It makes me uncomfortable and I sometimes think a woman breast feeds in public to get attention, “look at me I breast feed”.”
    The one and only time I was made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public this was exactly the attitude of the person (someone I was having coffee with). It was absolutely mortifying.
    Me too with the weeping for humanity. I think the “have some respect” phrase indicates that, along with the OMG Breast! and Breast=S-E-X tropes, some of this attitude springs from the same place as the shaming of mothers whose children are not perfect little robots in public. Children should not be noticeable in any way, public space is just for adults. Fulfilling a child’s needs in public is disrespectful.

  14. I am the mom from that story.
    My name is Crystal Everitt. I have been feeling sick reading those posts. Thanks for saying something. Hope you all attend the national nurse in Feb 22 (not this Sunday, but next Sunday) at 1:00pm (your own time zone) at your local Denny’s.
    My email is ButterflyBabiesMoma@yahoo.com
    If you want to be involved there is a yahoo group called:
    End Breastfeeding Discrimination
    Again thanks for your kind words. I really need them right now.

  15. Crystal, thanks for coming by. Most of us are in Australia and have no local Denny’s store, but thanks for the invitation. What happened was completely unacceptable and I wish you all the best.

  16. Morgan Gallagher has a roundup of some of the most misogynist language used on parenting boards and news comment sections, to illustrate one of the reasons why breastfeeding is a feminist issue.
    Commenters have called Crystal a “titweiler”, “beast”, “attention whore”, “famewhore”, “cockroach”, “tit nazi”, a “skank”, a “child abuser”; she has been criticised for the shape of her breasts (“orangutan shaped”), told she is “sick”; she has been told to act like a lady, get back to the kitchen, and “keep it in the trailer park”.
    When the fuck ‘mainstream’ feminists are going to sit up and start paying attention to this avalanche of shit, flung exclusively at women, is beyond me. Present company excepted, as usual.
    *throws things*

  17. You know the next time I meet some ignorant **** who says that women should only breastfeed in the restroom, I’m going to ask whether THEY make a habit of eating in public toilets…
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Now you’re taking the piss…

  18. Oh, my.
    I have an interesting take on this, having grown up in South Beach, Miami Beach FL. (For people not from the US, it is a very glamorous, trendy place for beautiful people. I lived as a perpetual outsider!) I have breastfed at very nice restaurants there, and let me assure you, I was covering my breasts WAY more than most of the women at the restaurant, on the street outside, on the beach nearby, on the ads on the billboards, buses and store windows.
    BTW, some of those LIPs (love the acronym, Laurelhed!) win a square on Mommy Wars Bingo, especially the last one!
    MomTFH’s last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

  19. Things have really changed a lot — I breastfed both my kids back in the early 90s, in restaurants, the mall, the park, at work — and no one ever said anything except “how wonderful you are to do that!”. My kids weren’t the kind who were willing to be covered by a blanket, either. I am flabbergasted at the change in attitudes in what amounts to just a few years.
    It’s cheap, easy, the milk is always at the right temperature. I never will understand why anyone would be against feeding babies!

  20. Oh so much wrong here, apart from the fact that breast pumps, bottles and breastmilk freezer bags are *not* provided free by the government, it takes so bloody loong to express milk.
    This is about agency, and “how dare these women do something with their bodies, (especially the ultra-sexy bits) because they have *chosen* to and it doesn’t happen to have anything to do with extracting dude-approval by contributing to the male fuckfantasy” type of thing. Outrageous.
    I also have NEVER seen a woman “whip out a boob” or “shove” one in some person’s face.

  21. There are al lot of natural things babies, children and adults do p-ee p-ee and p-oo p-oo, vomit, but I don’t want to see it done in public.

    What about eating and drinking? Because that’s what the babies are actually doing, you douchemonger.

  22. What about eating and drinking? Because that’s what the babies are actually doing, you douchemonger.

    You gotta love it when someone with a cheese omelette in one hand and a latte in the other starts hyperventilating at the thought of “body fluids”.

  23. What amazes me is how many people say, “I have a right not to have to see that!”
    Really? You do?
    I mean, you could just look away… but that’s beside the point. I want to know when we were granted this “right” to not see things that bother us or make us uncomfortable. There are a whole lot of things I don’t want to see.
    MarianTheLibrarian’s last blog post..Not Exactly a Grand Slam, Denny’s

  24. Exactly. If you don’t want to see… DON’T LOOK.

  25. Okay – I know I am going to hear a bunch of chit about this. But, excuse me – you people need to know ALL the facts. You’ve only heard the press – and Crystal’s side. However, there are SEVERAL witnesses to what happened – not the least of which is a tape recording that Denny’s has in their possession to be released should Crystal decide to be stupid enough to take this to court.
    She not only FLAUNTS her breast while breastfeeding – she just leaves it there – hanging around – for a time period afterwards. In addition, she is KNOWN IN THIS TOWN for her actions. Several other restauranteurs and their employees are now joining behind Denny’s because she MAKES SURE EVERYONE NOTICES HER whenever she breastfeeds. Almost like a dare. Waiting for someone to say something. She has posted on other mommy boards about her intentions – BEFORE Denny’s took the “bite.” (Recently she was deleted from that forum because of her language and her tirades – is THAT the behavior of someone YOU want to stand behind?)
    She DARED the waitress to say something to her when she was approached and asked if she would cover up a little because some of the patrons were expressing concern over some childrent that were present. The manager approached her and offered her the use of the private dining room – she refused – LOUDLY – and nastily! She insisted HER rights were being infringed upon – not caring how others in the restaurant felt. Denny’s NEVER ONCE asked her to leave. The police were called when Denny’s was unsure of what their rights were – as well as Crystal’s. When she got loud and obnoxious, they had no choice because other patrons were getting so disqusted with her behavior, that they left. Denny’s was losing customers because of ONE customer who refused to be a lady while breastfeeding.
    AT NO TIME has Denny’s seen this as a breastfeeding issue. Mother’s come to Denny’s all the time – and there has NEVER been an issue before Crystal’s little stunt.
    So – before you condemn people for their comments – remember that people have the right of speech just as Crystal has the right to breastfeed in public.
    Enough said.
    This issue was NEVER about the breastfeeding – it WAS (and continues to be) about her behavior.

  26. “Witness”… you sound a lot like the same person who’s posting all over Topix. (Bleeding Hearts). Same wording and phrases, verbatim. And if your story there can be believed, you aren’t a witness any more than I am — you heard what a friend of a friend said, and what you read online. That doesn’t make you a witness, it makes you someone who’s way too interested in another person’s breasts.

  27. Witness, read the law.

    Ӥ 14-190.9. Indecent exposure.
    (B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

    Case closed. If you don’t like someone’s legal behaviour, look away. Perhaps you could carry a light blanket?

  28. OMG a child saw a breast? OMG OMG OMG, get that child into therapy right now! Who knows what seeing a breast could do to a child. Have some people no shame! /sarcasm.
    So someone’s kid might have seen her breast. Big deal. A good time to say ‘yeah, honey, breasts are for feeding babies’ and be done with it.

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