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Feb 29 2012

Pro-Life…as Long as It Doesn’t Need to Be Fed

Breasts are God’s gift to the wee little babies we insist be born, but ugh, keep them out of church.

A Georgia woman was told to “cover up and go away” when she started breastfeeding her newborn child during a church service. The pastor ordered Nirvana Jennette to feed her baby in the bathroom, and when she objected he told her that breastfeeding is lewd and compared her to a stripper.

The pastor asked Jennette to not return to the church, which Jennette describes as a “biker church” with a congregation made up of people who ride motorcycles.

Georgia law says a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where she and the baby are otherwise permitted to be. If an establishment prohibits a woman from feeding her baby in public, they must provide an alternative. Jennette says a bathroom doesn’t qualify.

She’s right. Georgia law specifically tells employers that they have to provide a “private location, other than a toilet stall” for their employees who pump breast milk. Because, you know, the pastor hadn’t already screwed this one up so badly.

62 comments

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  1. 1
    Sili

    Well, at least he isn’t gay, you know, if he gets so turned on by boobs.

    So there’s that.

  2. 2
    Interrobang

    I’m incredibly torn here; on the one hand, she’s got the law on her side. On the other, who’d want to belong to a church headed by a jerk like that? Well, who’d want to belong to a church anyway? (Another issue I have difficulty comprehending.)

    On the third hand, I think it’s impolite to bring babies and small children to public functions geared to adults (like church services, sit-down restaurants, and movie theatres), mostly because it isn’t reasonable to expect a baby or small child to be able to behave appropriately for the circumstances, and it’s not fair to ruin everyone else’s experience with your noisy kid. Yeah, I realise that requires a trade-off, and I wouldn’t want to make it illegal (except maybe bringing small children and/or babies into bars, which I think is reasonable, and already illegal in this jurisdiction), but everything about parenting requires trade-offs; deal with it.

    Disclosure: Don’t have kids, don’t want ‘em, also don’t understand why anyone does, so NaCl as appropriate.

  3. 3
    dan-o

    I sort of agree with Interrobang. I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding. It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private. The church should offer a spot for screaming children & feeding such that parents can still take in the service. If this is not available well then the parents need to be as discreet as possible to not disturb the service for others. I despise parents that continue to stay seated at an event when their young children become board and start bothering others. I have kids so I know what it is like to be stared at for misbehaving children…ugh.

  4. 4
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I think it’s impolite to bring babies and small children to public functions geared to adults

    I’m going to have to strongly disagree with that. Parents get to have lives, too. Especially nursing mothers. Having a child is stressful enough, without being told you can’t do anything with adults for a few months, until you get that thing on a bottle. The key is to manage any difficulties with the child so as to not be a disruption. Unless the child has some health issues, that is totally possible. My wife and I went to Skepticon 3 with our 6 month old child, and sat next to a couple with a 2-3 month old. There were no disruptions. There was a point where my daughter did start to get a bit fussy. I took her out of the auditorium and calmed her down. That was actually the point at which the people directly in front of me noticed I even had an infant with me.

  5. 5
    eric

    Interrobang:

    I think it’s impolite to bring babies and small children to public functions geared to adults (like church services, sit-down restaurants, and movie theatres), mostly because it isn’t reasonable to expect a baby or small child to be able to behave appropriately for the circumstances, and it’s not fair to ruin everyone else’s experience with your noisy kid.

    I’m with you on the movie theaters. The vast majority of movies are not suitable for 0-5-year-olds. (Unless you are seeing an Elmo show..in which case, stop complaining.) Personally, I think the volume level alone makes most movies unsuitable for small children, and that’s before we even get into content.

    However, eating lunch and dinner are not “public functions geared to adults.” They are public functions geared to humans. Everyone must eat, and eating together in a group is a pretty basic human social custom. I don’t think its reasonable to exile families with children from this basic custom.

    And, incidentally, doing so is probably somewhat counterproductive, as kids learn proper behavior from watching and emulating adults. They need to practice a behavior or manners if you want them to become proficient at it. Having them be in rooms with adults sitting and eating quietly is exactly the sort of practice experience that is likely to build their table manners. Sure, they can get some practice with mom and dad. But nothing reinforces the practice like seeing other people do it too.

  6. 6
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Interrobang: I agree with you overall on the bringing of small children (or older, ill-behaved children) to adult venues.

    However, the xtians themselves don’t want church to be an adult venue. They claim to be all about “multiplying,” about “letting the children come unto [Jeebus],” and about “family values.” Obviously, they’re all about indoctrination. Some churches resolve the issue of noise by having “crying rooms” to separate disruptive kids and their parents from the rest of the congregation.

  7. 7
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Eric:

    I don’t think its reasonable to exile families with children from this basic custom.

    No, but it is entirely reasonable to expect the parents of a child who is having a meltdown or whose behavior is otherwise disruptive to other diners to remove that child from the restaurant, either temporarily or for the night.

    When I eat out, I pay for atmosphere as well as food; shrieking, running around, etc. are not conducive to a pleasant atmosphere. And it shouldn’t matter if this is Applebee’s or the Four Seasons, because people of modest incomes should get to enjoy a pleasant meal out once in a while, too. Including parents who have babysitters or whose children are capable of behaving considerately in public.

    The idea of building a child’s table manners is all well and good, but all buildings need foundations. Namely, sit-down meals in the home with consideration for others emphasized. I have to wonder if a lot of bad restaurant behavior these days is by kids who only ever graze from the fridge and eat in front of the TV or computer.

  8. 8
    Desert Son, OM

    eric at #5:

    Personally, I think the volume level alone makes most movies unsuitable for small children, and that’s before we even get into content.

    I’m 38, with good hearing, and I think the volume level alone is often unsuitable for adults.

    Re: subject post and comparison of breastfeeding mother to a stripper. Once again, religious mindset demonstrates the tendency to equate a basic biological function automatically and unequivocally with a sexual one, regardless of context. Instead of, “This is an instance of one animal feeding its offspring,” it becomes conflated with “This is a wanton display of something having to do with sex! Pass me my pearls!”

    It also bothers me that the pastor is also holding up “stripper” as an inherently negative example.

    Of course, you’d have to get the pastor to grapple with the idea that we’re animals to start with, so . . .

    Still learning,

    Robert

  9. 9
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding. It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private.

    Some people get weirded out when guys hold hands. I don’t tell the guys to go do it in private, I tell the people who are weirded out to get over it. I’m not saying breastfeeding is like being homosexual, I’m saying what weirds some people out is crappy metric for what should be socially acceptable.

  10. 10
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    No, but it is entirely reasonable to expect the parents of a child who is having a meltdown or whose behavior is otherwise disruptive to other diners to remove that child from the restaurant, either temporarily or for the night.

    That is entirely reasonable. What is not reasonable is to say that it’s wrong to have even a non-disruptive child there to begin with.

  11. 11
    Anthony K

    It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private.

    Breastfeeders should be more discreet because breastfeeding is something that needs to be done discreetly?

    I’m bookmarking this statement as a perfect example of begging the question.

    That is entirely reasonable. What is not reasonable is to say that it’s wrong to have even a non-disruptive child there to begin with.

    Exactly. I don’t have kids, and I don’t particularly love them. But I do love some people who are parents of young children, and I’d like them to think they can also go out for a meal without having their parenting practices scrutinised by every armchair parent in sight. If your kid is having a tantrum, by all means take the child outside or somewhere else to try to straighten the situation out. But maybe as a culture we can all learn not to freak out so much over the crime of children being children.

  12. 12
    Anthony K

    Sorry everyone. These blockquotes are having a little tantrum. I’ll just take them outside…

  13. 13
    Stephanie Zvan

    Heh. Fixed, Brownian.

  14. 14
    Chiroptera

    Georgia law says a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where she and the baby are otherwise permitted to be.

    So the solution would be to exclude children from the services. There would appear to be precedent for this.

  15. 15
    Pteryxx

    If breastfeeding were allowed in public more often without people getting all up in mothers’ grills about it, then pretty soon it wouldn’t weird people out, because they’d get used to it. Sheesh.

  16. 16
    eric

    Ms Daisy Cutter:

    No, but it is entirely reasonable to expect the parents of a child who is having a meltdown or whose behavior is otherwise disruptive to other diners to remove that child from the restaurant, either temporarily or for the night.

    Sure, to a reasonable extent. I’d say its wrong to complain about kids being in restaurants, which is what Interrobang basically did (but to give credit: he/she also said they were torn on the issue). I’d also say that you can’t possibly go into any human social gathering demanding perfect behavior. Have a bit of a thick skin for kid behavior, they’re part of your society too. But things like meltdowns? I’m in total agreement with you – absolutely the parents should remove the kid.

    There needs to be give and take on both sides. Parents need to understand when their kid’s behavior has gone too far. But adults out on their own also need to understand when kid behavior hasn’t. Demanding zero noise, zero disruption is probably not a reasanable understanding or expectation for living in any society with children.

    Or TL,DR: if I can put up with your loud talker, you can put up with mine.

  17. 17
    Scicurious

    I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding. It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private.”

    Dan-o, why should this be done discreetly or in private? These women aren’t doing anything weird at all, they are feeding a kid.

  18. 18
    Pteryxx

    Having them be in rooms with adults sitting and eating quietly is exactly the sort of practice experience that is likely to build their table manners. Sure, they can get some practice with mom and dad. But nothing reinforces the practice like seeing other people do it too.

    Y’know, now that I think on it, this is also a good reason for bringing small children into public life as much as possible. Kids need to be exposed to other adults who are different from their parents. Weren’t we just talking about diversity as valuable in its own right? Kids need to learn that people different from their parents exist, so they’ll be less likely to have entrenched otherism and freak-out reactions of their own when they get out into the world independently. Puppies need to be around different people and different stimuli to be well-socialized; so should children be.

  19. 19
    Raging Bee

    Bottom line: this minister is an asshole who can’t even get over his personal hangups about women’s body parts. (Isn’t talking to Jesus supposed to help with that sort of thing, and more?) At the very least, he could have had a policy of seating breastfeeding women toward the back where they’re less visible to people whose attention is supposed to be on the altar up front.

    As for kids in public places, I find them annoying at times, but I also think, along with Brownian, that a) we shouldn’t be so sniffy about kids acting like kids (even the best-behaved kids need to blow off steam sometime); and b) parents are still people, and have the same need to get out and socialize as the rest of us, and when parents get what they need, their kids also benefit.

  20. 20
    RW Ahrens

    I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding. It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private.

    Sorry, but I am going to go all militant on you here.

    This is absolutely bullshit. The LAW – in Georgia, of all places – says that a mother can breastfeed her child ANYWHERE. Period, end of story, unless the venue has provided a “suitable” substitute. Which will differ, depending on the activity and what is appropriate for that venue.

    Nobody should feel weirded out by that, or if they do, they should just STFU. I’ve never seen a woman “just” pop her breast out of her blouse to feed her child. Women who breastfeed know how to undo things (and most clothing designed for breastfeeding is designed to make it easy) in order to hide the skin while allowing access for the child.

    Our society makes “exposing” oneself criminal enough that few women are comfortable feeding uncovered, and again, remaining modest isn’t hard.

    Mostly when you see this kind of thing, it is by someone with a conservative turn of mind with authoritarian tendencies who has just gone off the deep end about using that authority!

    Most people, in my experience, don’t really care, and will leave mother and child alone until the chore is finished.

    Which is how it should be, regardless of venue!

  21. 21
    Raging Bee

    Women who breastfeed know how to undo things (and most clothing designed for breastfeeding is designed to make it easy) in order to hide the skin while allowing access for the child.

    And besides, a baby latched onto a breast covers up more skin than most bikini tops anyway. Seriously, a little perspective is needed here. Women wear halter-tops and bikinis in public (not to mention some pretty revealing formal dresses I’ve seen at the Acadamy Awards), and art galleries have nude paintings out for all to see, but we’re freaking out about public breastfeeding? Really?!

  22. 22
    Pteryxx

    Women wear halter-tops and bikinis in public (not to mention some pretty revealing formal dresses I’ve seen at the Acadamy Awards), and art galleries have nude paintings out for all to see, but we’re freaking out about public breastfeeding? Really?!

    Yeah, because breastfeeding isn’t intended for the straight-male-gaze. It’s got to be all about them!

    (Have y’all ever seen a toddler catch sight of a woman in a bikini and charge after them (not her, them) thinking it’s mealtime? Hilarious…)

  23. 23
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    but we’re freaking out about public breastfeeding? Really?!

    In 2012. Because American women should be ashamed of their bodies and hide them. Unless they’re flirting with me.

  24. 24
    george.w

    Women wear halter-tops and bikinis in public (not to mention some pretty revealing formal dresses I’ve seen at the Acadamy Awards), and art galleries have nude paintings out for all to see, but we’re freaking out about public breastfeeding? Really?!

    Where’s a cartoonist when you need one?!

  25. 25
    Chiroptera

    dan-o, #3: I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding.

    I guess that a lot of people haven’t spent much time in the third world.

    I remember standing in the line at the bank and glancing at the woman in front of me…and then realizing she was feeding her kid right there.

    And this was in a very conservative country.

    That’s right, conservative societies who “understand” something about “traditional families” in the exact same way that US conservadumbs “understand” them, have no problem with public breast feeding.

    Why, it’s almost as if US conservatives expect mothers and wives and women to stay home and never go outside.

  26. 26
    Chiroptera

    Raging Bee, #19: As for kids in public places, I find them annoying at times, but I also think, along with Brownian, that a) we shouldn’t be so sniffy about kids acting like kids (even the best-behaved kids need to blow off steam sometime); and b) parents are still people, and have the same need to get out and socialize as the rest of us, and when parents get what they need, their kids also benefit.

    I completely agree. And I don’t even like kids!

    But seriously, I remember when I was younger, it was expected that parents bring their kids out in public to places and even to social functions. Hell, people regularly brought kids to grown-up parties where the parents were drinking alcohol (and then driving home — ah, good times).

    Kids playing, kids hollering and crying…this was just part of the environment that one got used to.

    ‘Course, kids back then were expected to behave. And kids would regularly be disciplined by adults who were not necessarily their parents. Hmm. For some reason the word “community” comes to mind — I wonder why?

    -

    PS The above comment was a joke — I do not condone driving under the influence.

  27. 27
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding. It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private.

    You’re allowed to bring your fainting couch.
    Seriously, get a grip. It’s a fucking boob, it’s there for babies to get milk.
    Incidentially, the woman’s boob looks very much like the male one, only a bit more fatty tissue.
    And if you see a lot of things that disturb you, you should stop staring.

    Kids in public:
    I’m not going to shut myself in for the next 10 years. I don’t usually take them to restaurants without a playroom much, because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on ruining everybody’s evening.
    They’re small and they have no fun sitting at a table for three hours.
    But if somebody expects them to dissapear, they can kiss my ass .
    A kid who’s laughing in a café is something happy, nothing to be upset about.

  28. 28
    KathyO

    People seem to be conflating two different issues: should children be allowed out in public, and should children that are in public be allowed to eat.

    As I’m sure you’ve guessed from my phrasing, my answer to both questions is yes.

  29. 29
    KathyO

    Also, since many commenters have stated that they have little familiarity with kids, let me assure you that the sight of a woman breastfeeding her child will ruin your dinner far less than said child screaming to be nursed while his parents try to find other less offensive ways to placate him.

  30. 30
    Desert Son, OM

    Chiroptera at #26:

    Hmm. For some reason the word “community” comes to mind — I wonder why?

    *clears throat, concentrates*

    [Reactionary Conservative] “Socialist!” [/Reactionary Conservative]

    How’d I do?

    Still learning,

    Robert

  31. 31
    Jodi

    dan-o @#3 I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding. It really does not matter if you have a blanket over you, people still see something that should be done a little more discreetly or perhaps in private.

    I personally feel that urinating is something that should be done discreetly or perhaps in private and yet I can’t count the times I’ve had a guy walk a few feet away from me, turn around and take a piss right there while holding a conversation.

    Yea, it weirded me out. But you know what? I got over it. They are apparently unbothered by doing it in my presence, I wasn’t subjected to seeing any of their bits (which in this context would have been inappropriate), and no one was harmed in the end.

    Whatever, move on.

  32. 32
    Jodi

    Oh, and by the way? My little province here tends to be a bit backwater and behind the times and even we can figure this one out. From here: http://www.gov.ns.ca/ohp/cdip/healthy-eating-breastfeeding.asp

    “In addition to the Provincial Breastfeeding Policy, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has a breastfeeding policy that affirms a woman’s right to breastfeed in public. The policy states that women cannot be told or made to feel compelled to move to a more discrete area to breastfeed. The policy also states that women who need to breastfeed while working should be accommodated by the employer to do so.”

  33. 33
    Kierra

    WTF kind of church doesn’t have a nursery?! Or even just a small room (that would not otherwise be in use during the service) that the mother could use for breastfeeding? I have never been to any church that didn’t have at least one of these things (and most have both). That is seriously messed up.

  34. 34
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Pteryxx:

    Y’know, now that I think on it, this is also a good reason for bringing small children into public life as much as possible.

    I don’t think children need to be brought to cocktail parties, wine tastings, BDSM clubs, or most bars that do not serve meals. Adults deserve to have some environments in which they can relax without having to watch their language, have conversations interrupted, listen to shrieking, etc.

  35. 35
    DuWayne

    Sorry Dan-o but…

    I believe mothers should understand that some people, probably most people, feel a little weirded out when a mom pops open her blouse & starts breast feeding.

    Are you actually an adult? Seriously?

    You know what weirds me out? People who are so freaked out by the human body that they believe everyone should go out and about fully clothed all the time, even when it’s really bloody hot out. I am totally put off by the notion that grown adults wig at something that most any kid strives for the first time they learn to fling off their pants. It is mind boggling to me and not a little creepy that grown adults for whatever reasons, can’t be comfortable around casual nudity – the idea that they are so sexually repressed that the mere sight of bare boobs or a penis will send them into a fainting tizzy.

    But you know something? I learned to deal with this discomfort and many others when I was just a tot. And if I can get used to the idea that many people are just skeevy pervs, ready to melt into paroxysms of intense, discomfiting desire at the merest glimpse of my pasty white bum, you can get used to seeing very tiny children eat.

  36. 36
    Johnny Vector

    Ms. Daisy Troll says:

    Pteryxx:

    Y’know, now that I think on it, this is also a good reason for bringing small children into public life as much as possible.

    I don’t think children need to be brought to cocktail parties, wine tastings, BDSM clubs, or most bars that do not serve meals.

    If you don’t have something useful to contribute to the conversation, you could always leave.

    Did anyone say kids need to be taken to such places? Children aren’t even allowed into the latter two. And for the cocktail parties I throw, my friends are more than welcome to bring their children. Y’know why? Because they take them outside or home when they start becoming unruly. Just like I did with my kids when they were small. The problem with annoying children in public is not with the children, but with their parents. If you take your toddler to Sweeney Todd, you need to be prepared to leave if they get disruptive.

    Anyway, this thread is about breastfeeding in public. See many comments above: If it weirds you out, the solution is more of it. Eventually it will stop bothering you. It’s how babies eat, for titties’ sake. Get the hell used to it. I was weirded out by the sight of two guys kissing the first time I saw it. Now? I greet my gay theatre friends with a kiss on the mouth. Get over it.

  37. 37
    Pteryxx

    Sheesh, if y’all have to object to breastfeeding by whipping out public urination and BDSM clubs as comparisons, you don’t really have much of an argument, do you? It’s breastfeeding, not gay marriage. /sarcasm

  38. 38
    Interrobang

    However, eating lunch and dinner are not “public functions geared to adults.”

    Uh, hello, I said “sit-down restaurants.” Maybe we’re having a difference of vernacular or something, but where I come from, that means the type of restaurant that is inherently not child-friendly. I’m not saying don’t take your kids out in public, but take them to the kinds of things where they can learn how to behave in public gradually. You know, not unlike what you’d do with puppies and moderately bright Republicans.

    On topic, that probably means that unless you are a boor, you’ll get a babysitter or stay at home (*gasp*! How dare someone suggest that having kids might alter one’s lifestyle! Horrors!) from those type of venues/events and the issue of breastfeeding or not breastfeeding in public in those spaces won’t even come up. Problem, as far as I’m concerned, solved.

    Personally, I think breastfeeding is kind of gross, even though yes, it is natural. My particular squick has nothing to do with sex; it’s more with the idea that someone is secreting bodily fluids. For me it’s not unlike getting stuck near someone who’s sweating profusely, except it smells of rancid milk and baby breath instead of bacterial effluvia.

  39. 39
    Pteryxx

    I’m not saying don’t take your kids out in public, but take them to the kinds of things where they can learn how to behave in public gradually.

    …You do realize that kids small enough to be breastfeeding (generally babies, sometimes small toddlers) usually aren’t even independently mobile? Unless they actually cry, they’re easy to overlook; and one of the best ways to quickly stop them crying is, well, breastfeeding them.

    Kids old enough to talk, complain, or run around screaming are an entirely different proposition from the pink blobs that need milk and otherwise mostly sleep. Personally I think babes-in-arms are LESS disruptive and far more suitable for certain complex, adult environments than mobile children would be.

    If you’ve got objections to both kinds, go ahead, but it doesn’t make sense to conflate them.

  40. 40
    Pteryxx

    err, for my last read “meat blobs”. /racefail *headdesk*

  41. 41
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    On the one hand, I don’t wanna see random boobage. For any reason. If I wanna see boobs, I have the internet.

    On the other, I get that the kid has to eat.

    The way I see it, asking the BFing mum to cover up is pretty much a compromise, allowing the mother to feed the child without accidentally flashing other people. Everybody wins.

    I don’t think it’s wrong or sexist or anti-babbie (or prudish) to ask my fellow women to have a little discretion when taking care of baby’s needs.

  42. 42
    Decnavda

    Interrobang, I can assure you that every parent here is quite aware that having a child is the single most life altering decision they have ever made or will ever make. And we will continue to be aware of it even if we are graciously allowed to take the people who will one day be paying pension to a nice resteraunt once in a while.

  43. 43
    Decnavda

    “Unless they actually cry, they’re easy to overlook; and one of the best ways to quickly stop them crying is, well, breastfeeding them.”

    *This.* Allowing breastfeeding is one of the easiest ways to prevent other people’s babies from disrupting you.

  44. 44
    Pteryxx

    re random boobage: I just have a problem with trying to legislate or shame the odd glimpse of nipple that might happen in the process of baby-teat docking. If somebody comes back from the restroom with their fly open, the *polite* thing to do is quietly let them know while pretending you didn’t see anything, even if you did. It’s not necessary to get all offended if a woman doesn’t manage to keep everything completely covered while balancing a baby, much less make a public spectacle out of it by marching up and calling her out.

    I’ve only seen women breastfeeding in public (that I know of) a handful of times in my life, and I’ve never seen flashing happen, even accidentally. I think women pretty much know by now how they and their boobs are likely to be regarded and they have enough brains to use discretion without additional enforcement.

  45. 45
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Johnny Vector:

    If you don’t have something useful to contribute to the conversation, you could always leave.

    Same to you, sunshine.

    Amazing how, once you start discussing kids and some of their less-enchanting behavior, some people who heretofore were all for vigorous debate suddenly become pearl-clutching Helen Lovejoys, ready to take offense at the slightest hint that small children do not poop rainbows that smell like lavender.

    I’ve never seen kids brought to a BDSM club, but I’ve never been to one myself, either. I have, however, seen them brought to bars, and I have read what I consider credible accounts of them being dragged to cocktail parties, wineries, and, now that I think of it, a tattoo parlors.

    There certainly are people who think that to ban a child from any particular venue is “ageism,” and, because mothers are still the main caretakers of children, “misogyny.” I see them recurrently in feminist blogspace. When I see it argued that children need to be in public more often, it’s only a matter of time before someone shows up with the “ageism/misogyny” argument.

  46. 46
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Anyone else playing Breeder Bingo while reading the comments?

  47. 47
    Pteryxx

    When I see it argued that children need to be in public more often, it’s only a matter of time before someone shows up with the “ageism/misogyny” argument.

    Except that nobody’s actually said any of that here, except you. *shrug*

    I’ve seen adults with babies or small kids reasonably often at my favorite sports bar (not in the age-restricted section). There’s only been screaming or crying maybe one time in 10, and in most of those cases, the parent calmed the kid or took them out of the main area promptly. I only remember one or two times where the disruption went on for five minutes or so. Heck, far more often the kid’s happy and screaming with laughter.

    I’ve also seen parents bring little kids to scary movies and then yell at the kids when they scream in terror. Some parents are asshats, duh. That still doesn’t justify blanket-banning kids as if they were pit bulls or ferrets.

  48. 48
    Sas

    Pteryxx –

    That still doesn’t justify blanket-banning kids as if they were pit bulls or ferrets.

    Has anyone actually said that? All I’ve seen is people suggesting bringing kids to some venues is impolite, not advocating a blanket ban.

  49. 49
    Pteryxx

    Has anyone actually said that? All I’ve seen is people suggesting bringing kids to some venues is impolite, not advocating a blanket ban.

    And to SOME venues, it is. In others it depends on the kids and the venue. As for “blanket ban” that’s my paraphrase, sure, of overly broad sentiments like this:

    There certainly are people who think that to ban a child from any particular venue is “ageism,”

    and I’d add, the conflation of having ANY kids in places such as churches, theaters, and restaurants as impolite, instead of having DISRUPTIVE kids in these places as impolite. Such as you just said, “bringing kids to some venues”. When you draw the politeness line depending on venue, and not depending on the kids’ behavior, then yeah, you’re advocating an informal blanket ban on all kids.

    Obviously, if a parent’s ignoring their screaming child in my sports bar, say, and expecting everyone else to endure it, they’re being entitled jerks. But so are people who start glaring at a parent as soon as they walk in the door with a sleeping baby in a carrier.

    Personally I think that allowing parents to have lives and allowing kids to be broadly socialized outweighs the risk of disruption most of the time. Exceptions: when a venue’s particularly vulnerable to disruption, such as a concert, or particularly ill suited for children, such as a wine tasting; or when a kid’s actually being disruptive, in which case the response should be proportionate. I don’t think churches, or the vast majority of restaurants, will suffer too much if a child cries in them once in a while. I’m more annoyed by strangers’ random cell phone conversations.

    But y’know, parents ARE people, and most of the time they can figure out perfectly well when they’re not welcome.

  50. 50
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    On topic, that probably means that unless you are a boor, you’ll get a babysitter or stay at home (*gasp*! How dare someone suggest that having kids might alter one’s lifestyle! Horrors!) from those type of venues/events and the issue of breastfeeding or not breastfeeding in public in those spaces won’t even come up. Problem, as far as I’m concerned, solved.

    Yeah, people, why don’t you lock yourselves in?
    I mean, why did I ever leave the house while my children were being nursed. I mean, it’s totally reasonable that I lock myself up for 6 months (do you think it’s OK if I leave for their check-ups with the pediatrician or do you think that breastfeeding there would be gross, too?) so that some random idiot like you doesn’t have to stare absolutely impolitely so they get a little glance at my boob so they can be grossed out?
    BTW, I’m pretty much grossed out by obese men not wearing shirts. Can they stay at home, too please?

    Personally, I think breastfeeding is kind of gross, even though yes, it is natural. My particular squick has nothing to do with sex; it’s more with the idea that someone is secreting bodily fluids. For me it’s not unlike getting stuck near someone who’s sweating profusely, except it smells of rancid milk and baby breath instead of bacterial effluvia.

    So, you’Re a self-admitted idiot.
    If you think that breastmilk smells rancid it proves very much that you probably never smeeled either breastmilk or rancid milk (here’s a hint: breastmilk can’t turn bad in the boobies. Unless the woman in question never changes her underwear, there is no “rancid smell”)
    So, you think that feeding babies is gross, and that sweating is gross (do people who sweat heavily also have to cater to your whims or are they allowed out in public?) and that the world revolves around you.
    What are you, 12? (I apologize to all the cool 12yo in advance)

    Ms. Daisy Cutter

    Amazing how, once you start discussing kids and some of their less-enchanting behavior, some people who heretofore were all for vigorous debate suddenly become pearl-clutching Helen Lovejoys, ready to take offense at the slightest hint that small children do not poop rainbows that smell like lavender.

    The amazing thing is that the only person who makes such arguments here is you.
    Nobody else mentioned that kids should be brought to the BDSM club. That’s something usually known as a straw man.
    As Pteryxx said, unless the kids are disruptive (or there can be no reasonable expectation that this will go well, like kids in a concert where taking them out is disruptive as well), the only reason I see for not bringing them there is that it might be harmfull for them or disrespects their needs if they have to obey certain rules for a prolonged period of time.
    Banning them just because you don’t want to see them actually is pretty discriminatory. And yes, it means that you want to exclude their parents from the public space or social life.
    Funny, my friend seemed to be pretty happy to have us, our kids and another couple and their daughter at his birthday party. The kids ran around the flat and when they were t ired we left.
    We usually bring toys, books, pen and paper for them so they can play just like home. Can’t see why a kid can’t quietly read a book in the corner of a tatoo parlour.
    Reasonable people find compromises, like parents watching their kids and other people tolerating them, or like offering childcare at conferences, so that parents, and especially mothers can attend.
    Yes, I’ve seen lots of kids behave shittily and I’ve seen lots of parents ignore them.
    I also have seen lots of adults behave shittily, only nobody thinks it reasonable to exclude all of them from locations.

  51. 51
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I am indeed amazed how many people here and in other places somehow seem to think that children are not part of society into which they’re expected to integrate magivally at age 18.
    Here’s news: The society contract that always involves juggeling the rights and needs of different people against each other is valid for children, too.
    That means we don’t grant the bigot the right not to see gay people kissing, the islamist not to see unveiled women and the mormon not to see people having a beer.
    This, of course, means that we don’t grant children the right to run around screaming in a restaurant, but this goes two ways.

  52. 52
    Sam C

    Georgia law says a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where she and the baby are otherwise permitted to be.

    Wow, I am well impressed with Georgia law!

    I’m all in favor of breast-feeding being viewed a natural process, and I don’t find it in any way distasteful or sexual (despite being a platonic admirer of the female form).

    And nursing mothers should have the option of doing it any reasonable public location or having a bit of privacy if they prefer it, according to the mother’s preference.

    My only hesitation is about breast-feeding in the mother’s workplace – I don’t have any objection except to the breastfeeding itself, but I prefer that a society generally gives nursing mothers (and other parents) the time away from paid work as they should not be forced to juggle paid work with the more important role of bringing up small kids. Of course, in Yurrp we have these nasty socialist ideas!

  53. 53
    Johnny Vector

    I hereby present the thread-time achievement award to Pteryxx. Some people need to go re-read those posts, for comprehension.

  54. 54
    Ezekiel

    I’d be interested in knowing how breast-feeding ever became “icky and weird” to begin with. It’s the way things are. Our entire taxonomic class name is based on milk production. At what point did some cultural wave of idiocy waft through a population leading to this extensive debate over something that is non-sexual, non-deviant, normal behavior?

    The neat thing about kids is that with proper guidance they can become giving, gregarious, productive members of society. They may grow out of their egocentricity. Whereas, clearly, some adults will be forever mired in it.

  55. 55
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Personally I think babes-in-arms are LESS disruptive and far more suitable for certain complex, adult environments than mobile children would be.

    And many adults.

  56. 56
    DuWayne

    Interrobang –

    Sorry, but I’m going to call bullshit on your “sitdown restaurants” (Dennie’s is a sitdown restaurant) ban. When my eldest was just old enough to string together a coherent statement of want, we could comfortably take him to very nice restaurants – with compliments. Probably couldn’t do that now, because circumstances have changed, but I wouldn’t try it now.

    Don’t get me wrong – I loathe people who don’t manage their children in nice restaurants – or McDonald’s for that matter. While a wider range of behaviors is acceptable in the latter, nowhere should be a free for all. But when children are capable of behavior appropriate to the venue, please feel free to screw yourself and your scowls when they walk past.

    That said – I don’t have issues with business owners choosing to restrict whether children are welcome. I understand that it is a pain to deal with self entitled asshats who think their spawn are magical beasties who shit rainbows and can do no wrong. I also accept that there are many venues that are simply inappropriate for kids. That doesn’t mean kids should never be allowed in decent restaurants and coffee houses.

    Personally, I think breastfeeding is kind of gross, even though yes, it is natural. My particular squick has nothing to do with sex; it’s more with the idea that someone is secreting bodily fluids. For me it’s not unlike getting stuck near someone who’s sweating profusely, except it smells of rancid milk and baby breath instead of bacterial effluvia.

    Get over it. I don’t like a lot of stupid bullshit that I’m forced to deal with – not the least being that prudish asshats who are responsible for laws that require me and others to wear clothes all the time in public – even when there isn’t a practical reason to do so.

  57. 57
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Actually, I’m not sure why the charge of ageism wouldn’t be appropriate. The percentage of children that annoy me is probably pretty similar to the percentage of adults who annoy me. So if I were to start complaining about annoying children instead of annoying people, then I’m discriminating over something that’s out of their control. I take my toddler to sit down restaurants all the time. You know what she does? She eats, and she talks to me a bit. Sometimes she colors. And you’re telling me that it’s impolite to have her there? Why? Why is that more impolite than sitting in the booth next to me smelling of cigarettes or too much perfume/cologne/aftershave/body odor? Or talking too loudly? Or expressing the wrong political views? Cheering for the wrong team?

  58. 58
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    WMDKitty:

    Anyone else playing Breeder Bingo while reading the comments?

    /raises hand

    There’s a lot of huffy and willful misreading going on in this thread. Not that I’m surprised…

  59. 59
    eric

    Interrobang @38: Uh, hello, I said “sit-down restaurants.” Maybe we’re having a difference of vernacular or something, but where I come from, that means the type of restaurant that is inherently not child-friendly.

    All the sit-down restaurants I know about carry child high-chairs or booster seats. That implies the restaurant itself is trying to to be friendly to kids, yes?* Do none of the places you eat have high-chairs stacked in a corner or in a closet somewhere? I’d frankly be surprised if that was the case.

    *Maybe in some states its a legal requirement, but this also supports my point, since that means the residents of that state have seen fit to decide via their representatives to make children welcome in restaurants.

  60. 60
    Nicothodes

    WMDKitty

    Anyone else playing Breeder Bingo while reading the comments?”

    Because it makes perfect sense to refer to people who don’t want their lives to revolve solely around raising their children by terms that reduce them to their choice to reproduce.

  61. 61
    Nicothodes

    Something screwed up in my comment. I meant to quote WMDKitty @46 with the response that showed up in the blockquote.

  62. 62
    Timothy (TRiG)

    We had a similar conversation recently at The Slacktiverse, and Kit Whitfield pointed out that how annoying you find a behaviour depends largely on how much you like the person doing it. The minor foibles and odd habits of someone you love can be endearing, while those of someone you dislike are intensely irritating.

    And so it is that children behaving perfectly, talking in a normal voice, disrupting no one, are nonetheless seen as disruptive. Some people just don’t like kids. Their loss.

    ***

    Is this pastor going to be sued for breaking the law?

    TRiG.

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