Her Bad Mother

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bare Your Boobs In The Air! Like You Just Don't Care!

Yes, I am still going on about my boobies. Such are the risks of reading a blog written by a lactating mother: I can and will subject you to my reflections on the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding. And this WestJet debacle? Falls into the category of trial.

WestJet has begun responding to the letters that so many of you have written on my behalf - no, they have not responded to me nor been in touch with me directly - and the gist* of their response is this:

Dear Unhappy Person,

Please to accept this form letter that we have cut and pasted from the form letter that we sent out when the last unhappy person complained about our 'cover up your icky nursing boobies plz' policy on in-flight nursing. Note that we have not even bothered to change names in these letters, such that they refer only to the last incident and not to the one about which you complain. We are paying no attention to this most recent incident, as we believe that we adequately explained ourselves the last time - we know that some people find boobies dirty and offensive and we are concerned to ensure that those people are kept comfortable, which is why we urge nursing mothers to cover their nasty boobies while they nurse on our planes - and have not bothered to pretend otherwise.


Thank you for flying WestJet! Where federal and provincial human rights codes do not apply!


Yours,


Random WestJet Owner Who Is Assigned To Deal With Annoying Customers Who Are Probably Communists And Also Maybe Perverts, Wanting To Show Their Boobies Like That.


Which, you know, makes me angry.

So now I want you to send them letters. Angry letters. Contact information is at the bottom of the original post here. And/or blog about it/write about it/pass the story along. This just sucks - again, pun only loosely intended - so much, for all of the reasons that I've outlined in the past.

I'm just so sick and tired of this. I just want to be able to nurse my baby without being confronted by society's stupid issues about boobs. I want society to get over those issues, at least when it comes to nursing boobs. I want to feel empowered when I nurse, not shamed. And I want my daughter and my son - all our daughters and sons - to see that that's how it should be.


F*ck the blanket.

* The above is my translation of their letter, which is the exact same letter sent to people who complained about an incident that occurred last month - right down to the name of the person involved.


121 Comments:

Blogger Double Agent Girl said...

Erm, aren't bared boobs legal in Ontario?? WTF is everyone's problem.

2:59 PM  
OpenID wherewiller said...

I was just thinking Ontario Human Rights Commission - http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/pregnancy - and then I thought - you were on the flight, which provincial jurisdiction would it come under? Yeah, you probably have to go with the CHRC. I am not a lawyer but I am a bureaucrat who has some experience and I would totally help you out.

3:06 PM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Love the T-Shirt. Want it. Where?

3:07 PM  
Anonymous How About said...

HBM, file a human rights complaint and then CONTACT THE MEDIA. (The complaint would be a good "hook" for them). I would try the CBC, The Star, maybe the Globe.

3:12 PM  
Blogger tif said...

i LOVE that picture. and screw them in the ass. in their mother's ass. i can't believe they said/did/form lettered that.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

Oh no they didn't!

I can't wait to get that response - I will rip them a new one.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that picture! My daughter always feeds her baby like that. I love it!

As for a response, I have not yet received one.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Booba Juice said...

It happens all too often, I am going to link it to my blog, and write about it. Let me know if I can do anything else...and good for you standing up for what you think is right. I have been nursing for over three years now. I tandum nurse my three year old, and my three month old. And people are always sticking there noses where it doesn't belong...every woman has a right to nurse her child when and where they want. They complain about boobies feeding children in a beautiful and loving way, and yet ad's regularly put hafe naked women up all the time...its a double standard, that needs to finally be addressed and dealt with.

3:19 PM  
Blogger ChurchPunkMom said...

Dear Prudy Narrowminded WestJet,
I wiped my ass with your form letter. Change your policy.

Thanks.
Another Pervy Lactating Mom with Big Nasty Dirty Boobies.. Wanna see??




How's that?

3:20 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Ma'am? Oh Ma'am? Your daughter's diaper is SHOWING in that picture! Would you like a blanket for her? We need to respect the delicate constitutions of perverts and pedophiles and whacked out religious people who might be offended. I'm just sayin...

; )

3:21 PM  
Blogger ChurchPunkMom said...

Oh.. and I will be blogging about this (actually just added my own story of discrimination against boobage yesterday on my blog..).. and perhaps sending along a lovely piece of correspondence with the fine and dandy powers that be at WestJet.. just need to reorganize my thoughts to where they resemble something other than a long string of immature profanity, wall-punching, and floor stomping...

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

In addition to contacting WestJet directly, it would help if we could also target their bottom line. I noted on their website that they sell advertising in their inflight magazine UP! through Redpoint Media Group.

I’m in the states and it doesn’t seem as if there is a copy of the magazine available on-line, but if someone were able to get a copy and list the companies advertising in the magazine, we could then target letters objecting to WestJet’s response to this issue to the major advertisers urging them to pressure WestJet for change or withdraw their advertising dollars (of course cc’ing WestJets Board of Directors).

3:30 PM  
OpenID blissfullycaffeinated said...

Unbelievable. I haven't received a response to my email yet. I may actually wipe my ass with it -- if and when it arrives in my inbox. I'll print it out first, of course.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Mamalooper said...

Did blog about it and will email Westjet. Want the shirt - does it exist?

3:37 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

I got a response and they didn't even change the name in the form letter! They also stated that they have "no policy on breastfeeding." Welllll why did the FA offer the blanket? you know that crap is in the training somewhere.

Gah, it makes me so angry!

3:42 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

How dare they?? I am really pissed off now. I just wrote an e-mail and sent to all my mom and grandma friends living in the US, including the text of their disgusting response and a link to your blog and asking for letters and e-mails of protest and even an actual boycot, thank you. Ooooh, the clueless bastards have angered the wrong beast - behold the power of the mommy blogger network!!! (insert evil laugh here)

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Auds at Barking Mad said...

Having just weaned my 2.5 year old, I can completely empathize with you.

When the Little Imp was only about 6 months old, there was an issue with a local Victoria's Secret asking a CUSTOMER, a CUSTOMER who had been trying on bras no less, and who then sat down, in a CLOSED dressing room to nurse her baby, to please take her baby elsewhere, perhaps the family restroom located at the other fucking end of the mall, to nurse as they didn't allow nursing in dressing rooms which may be needed for customer access.

OH YES THEY DID!

Our local LLL group got together and after thousands upon thousands of letters written to VS company headquarters, we staged a nurses in, in front of the VS at the mall.

It was all very tateful. But there wasn't a blanket in sight. It was the first time I left the house without my hooter hider and for once I stopped being so goddamned self-conscious about doing something NATURAL!

So you'd better believe when I read this post, I immediately started writing.

I'll let you know if I hear anything.

FUCK THE BLANKET!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Princess Hippopotamus said...

There is a really similar story by CBC about a Vancouver woman http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/08/06/bc-breast-feeding-cover-up-west-jet-.html

3:54 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

This is all just so unfortunate. I breastfed several times on WestJet and Air Canada without incident. I just took it for granted... hmmm... airlines beware! You've pissed off a huge segment of your flying population.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

I am feeling one of those roars of epic destruction coming on! Corporations are so...so...so aggravating. (Of course aggravating doesn't even cover it, but if I don't tone this down, I'm going to start growling and my kids downstairs might hear and think I am yelling at them to clean up. Humm...which maybe isn't a bad thing...)Anyhoo, will totally be blogging this when I get home from a bus stop run, and I adore Karen’s (other Karen) idea for targeting their advertisers. So for now, here are some awesome boobie pictures to tide you over and an accounting of my own personal "run in" with the stupid, stupid man.

http://tinyurl.com/578k4q

3:56 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

I cannot believe the world hasn't moved on with this one. Almost TWENTY years ago a stupid, ignorant security guard in a mall told me that nursing my baby was indecent exposure. And even then, the mall manager had the manners and good judgment to apologize to me for the guard's comment.
I am so sorry this happened to you.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

http://i34.tinypic.com/iwk5c7.jpg

Adding to my shirt repetoire, one for the babies as well. Go Jasper, go Jasper, go go go Jasper. Haha. Now you two can match.

4:06 PM  
OpenID fairytalesandmargaritas said...

Wow, they are pretty stupid not to realize that that rash of e-mails that they just got were about the same incident and that everyone is probably going to compare their letters, duh! And they're stupid not to realize that this rash of letters means something, something big. And that they better have a "policy" and the policy better be that breastfeeding is JUST FINE, WITHOUT A BLANKET!

4:30 PM  
OpenID wherewiller said...

I'm in York Region, I emailed them today (couldn't get to it until today!). Go Catherine!

emmawiller@gmail.com

4:42 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

I wrote a post about this here. Thanks for being so brave.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Shelli said...

maybe we should all just mail them a plate, a fork, and a blanket, and ask THEM to please cover up while eating, and see how THEY feel.

UGH! We applaud war, and downplay feeding a hungry baby.

I.just.don't.get.it.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

In the wild, if one interrupts a lactating mother, they get eaten...

5:57 PM  
Blogger ariberkana said...

ARGH!!! This makes me SO effing angry.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

"In the wild, if one interrupts a lactating mother, they get eaten." That is hands down the funniest thing I've read all day!

So, this was a first for me ... I have never shared my blog with ANYBODY, since it's the one corner of the world where I can be the Queen Of Everything. This was worth a change to my royal polices, though, so here you are, dear.

F*CK THE BLANKET! (I just like saying that.)

6:41 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Grrr. "Royal POLICIES", not "polices." I haz no polices.

Wow, think how much more I could accomplish if I had my own police force clearing the way...

6:42 PM  
Blogger litanyofbritt said...

totally blogged it!
http://litanyofbrittainy.blogspot.com/2008/09/my-milkshake-brings-all-boys-to-yard.html

plus i want a shirt!

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

I'm back again. No more shirts to add (though I should seriously sell them, judging by the amount of mamas who want one).

But I disgress.

HBM,

Located In Community Toronto
Mailing Address c/o Law Society of Upper Canada
Osgoode Hall
130 Queen St W
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
Office Phone 416-977-4448
Toll Free Phone 1-866-466-7256
Fax 416-977-6668
E-Mail info@volunteerlawyers.org
Website www.volunteerlawyers.org
Primary Executive Janice Wiggins, Volunteer Lawyer Service Project Director

Anything run out of Osgoode Hall gets the nod from this student.

6:57 PM  
Blogger canape said...

Here's a link to WestJet's Board of Directors:
http://tinyurl.com/3ttbaf

Based on their email scheme for the rest of the company, I would make a good guess that you can reach this list of white males by "first initial, last name @westjet.com"

You know, just in case anyone had something to say to them.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Mz X said...

You know what? I've been PC and as respectful as I can be so far. But fuck this. Just, fuck it. Fuck it into the ground. This wank is getting out of control.

A company does not need a policy on breastfeeding. The reason for this is that it will have to be taken case by case. If a woman is nursing sat alone, or surrounded by passengers who do not mind, then she probably won't be asked to cover up. If a complaint is made then the flight staff are required to do something to resolve it. The 'training' the staff are given will be to respond to complaints as diplomatically as they are able. I work with members of the public and you can never please everyone, and sometimes end up pleasing no one. People suck, fact of life.

Lady, you were gently encouraged to cover your milk bag. You were not stopped from breast feeding. You were not forced to cover up. You were not even ASKED to cover yourself. You were offered the choice, and yes, the discomforted flight attendant tried to pursuade you. And then she left you alone.

You are not a martyr, you are not a saint. You are not fucking entitled. You have not been discriminated against - breeding parents are given extra priviliges that others are not, NOT the other way around. I don't give a shit if you breast feed in public and it doesn't bother me, but it is not your right.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Multi-tasking Mommy said...

I'm hoping that by being so open about breastfeeding, I am teaching my daughter that one day she can be proud to breastfeed if she has children and chooses to breastfeed them!

In a few weeks, I am about to be a breastfeeding Mommy again and I am super excited. A bit nervous too.

I feel very empowered and won't be anywhere near as apprehensive to breastfeed in public as I was at the beginning with my daughter.

F**K them if they have a problem with it. Seriously!

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Heather in the 'shwa said...

I'm a lactating lawyer in Durham and enjoy feeding my child, and would be happy to help (I leave it to you to decide how useful my help would be). I'm fairly certain you don't have to have counsel to have standing at the human rights commission and I'm sure you'd be well spoken. Airlines are federal under the constitution so you're looking at the federal commission. I'll add my email if you're interested since I fell out of blogging some time ago.

I find it so incredibly frustrating that if I chose to bottle feed my child that would be socially acceptable do anywhere at any time; yet when I give him my breast, which is the best thing for him bar none, I somehow need to cover up (or go to the bathroom or hide from the world) lest I offend someone who doesn't realize that said breasts they are being used for their intended purpose and that it's normal, natural and nothing that should be covered. Asshats. lifeintheshwa[at]gmail.com

7:41 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Everyone's so uptight about the boobs! Love the f*ck the blanket. Thanks for the laugh. Keep crusading.

7:44 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

I wrote them a little letter. And I gave them a little heads-up about mommybloggers. I told them "These are people who are used to being in the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times and have address books full of media contacts..."

Just trying to be friendly.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Red Cup Mom said...

Wow. I came back to see what happened and lots is happening. It's terrible really. Can't people just leave nursing moms alone? I always feel uncomfortable nursing in public, but no one ever said anything or implied anything to me when doing so. I am still in shock.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Okay, I'm back, and I have blogged it!

http://tinyurl.com/4zkfau

2:58 AM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Um i may just have lost it in my comments over on the other letter blog...kind of the same thing I would say to Mr X above...who big wuss made himself annonymous...Mr X...a company should have a policy to treat people respectfully! A woman breastfeeding discreetly at the BACK OF A PLANE should be left well alone. For GOODNESS SAKE PEOPLE!

8:10 AM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

This is absolute bullshit.

BULLSHIT.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous C said...

I want to smack that FA upside the head.

I wrote a nasty email and blogged about it...

http://whenismyturn.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/are-there-any-canadians-reading-this-psst-westjet-hates-nursing-moms/

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Gem said...

To mz x, a baby has the right to eat without a blanket over your head. Try it, see how you like it. Somewhere over here (Scotland maybe?) you're not allowed to complain about mothers breastfeeding. It should be law everywhere, ban complaining.

2:04 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

I wrote a letter too. Sent it this morning. I asked Gillian for a personal response, and made note of the fact that I was aware that they were sending your readers recycled letters.

Will let you know if I hear anything.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a very question because i think I may be confused. When we are talking about breastfeeding in public are we talking about putting our babies onto the boobs and covering them up or are we talking about putting our babies to the boob and just chillen...

K

3:48 PM  
Blogger litanyofbritt said...

MZ Z
you ARE entitled to feed your hungry baby wherever the hungry baby and milk bags happen to be and it IS your right.

people don't want to see you stuff a cheeseburger down your throat in traffic, but no one knocks on your window and gently urges you to throw a blanket over your head because the sight of mayo and lettuce bits hanging off your wobbly jowels is distracting the other drivers.

whatever happened to mind your own fucking business, people??? no one asked you to stare at her tits for the entirety of junior's meal!!

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Roz said...

Sooooo back in the day I understand that there was segregated seating on buses. Cuz some white folks were a little 'uncomfortable' sitting beside black folks. Well, we all know that policy disappeared cuz of something called PROGRESS which allows for human rights to come ahead of the 'discomfort' of the ignorant.
I read the WestJet response- what a sh*tty attitude. Guess we all know how they'd divide up their seating were this the 1950's.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Mz X said...

Darlings - I don't eat cheeseburgers. I am a size 6. And I do not eat in public places. This is beside the point, but still. Thought I'd point it out. I have no problem with people breast feeding in public, as long as they cover up.

I am anonymous because I do not want my entire family to break down. All the women in my family have children and are at times irrational. I plan on enjoying a family christmas this year without any shit flinging. I would be happy to give anyone here my full real name, address and place of work if I was certain it would not get back to my family. I have nothing to be ashamed of in my views.

Also, if she was breastfeeding discretely, she wouldn't have been offered the blanket. My mum breastfed in public places and often people sat right next to her without realising. The other people on the plane also deserve respect, no? They might want to eat, and your tits might not be the most appetizing thing they've seen that day.

Also, no one was told to cover up. HBM was offered a blanket. OFFERED. As an option. Chill the fuck out.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Mz X. No reason to be ashamed of your views yet you don't want your family to hear them...interesting.

That's beside the point.

The point, which I think you have missed, is that there is nothing wrong with women breastfeeding in public. There should be no qualifications made to that sentence. There are very few women who would breastfeed in an revealing way, it is not an inappropriate thing to do.

What is important to note, and I believe HBM did this, is that when a woman is breastfeeding in public she is in a very vulnerable position and to imply that she is being inappropriate by doing so is not only unkind and unprofessional but IT is the act that is entirely inappropriate!

1:33 AM  
Blogger Mz X said...

My family do know my views, but when I talk to them I make an effort to be PC. When I'm talking to other people, I like to let it all out. I can't do that if I feel like someone's reading over my shoulder. The is the internet, a fair few of you aren't using real names. I don't see you attacking the hoards of 'anonymous' who are supporting you.

I absolutely agree there is nothing wrong with a woman breast feeding in public. However, there are conditions on that. There is nothing wrong with me eating in public, but if I eat messily with my hands, with my mouth open, drooling and spitting everywhere, I think there'd be some complaints. And rightly so. In the same way, a woman breastfeeding discretely is no problem at all, but if flesh is exposed then there is a problem. Hiking your top up or down in such a way that makes it blatantly obvious what you were doing is, while not inherently wrong, going to cause comment in some places.

A plane, while a semi public place, is also the private property of a company and, as such, they will have to field any complaints as diplomatically as possible. If another passenger or passengers made a complaint, they have to do something about it. They didn't force HBM to cover up, they offered her a blanket and left it with her. They did what they had to as a company to avoid fur flying. Trust me, as someone who works in customer service, you have to walk a fine line between offending one person or offending everybody. There isn't usually a solution that makes everyone happy - and sometimes you don't manage to please anyone. It sucks, but that's life.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Hi Mz X. I think I need to apologise for sounding aggressive. I don't mean to _ I think like you, the anonymity means I can let it all 'hang out' but that doesn't mean I can be rude. I am sorry for not being more careful in how I have expressed things.

It sounds like we largely agree. With rights come responsibility and the right to breastfeed should come with the responsibility to do it in a way that doesn't make others uncomfortable, whether it's reasonable that they be uncomfortable or not.

Having made quite a few flights in the months that my daughter has been born I have always been received with support and encouragement when it comes to travel with her and breastfeeding her on flights. I am just so amazed that this could happen. I am not sure if you have read the other info on HBM's experience, but she was being discreet, was in a row with only her family, noone complained but the hostess assumed someone may be uncomfortable rather than waiting for someone to express this. This assumption, especially by a woman, is hard for me to fathom as it just reinforces to the public that breastfeeding is something to be ashamed of...something not acceptable in society. Apart from being wrong, this can also be such a harmful message to spread.

Why is it that women are often their/our own worst enemies?

6:28 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Here's a copy of the letter I sent:
Dear Ms. Bentley,

I am writing to ask for an explanation for an incident that happened while on your airline. I find the treatment that this breastfeeding mother received to be absolutely disgraceful, insulting, sexist and a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Here is the blog post to which I am referring:

http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/09/under-blanket.html

I have read responses from your airline in the past that basically tell women that other passengers' rights are being violated because they may feel "uncomfortable". Too bad. The right of a woman to breastfeed wherever and whenever she needs to trumps all others. Perhaps you should start a policy of telling people who complain to look the other way and leave the breastfeeding mothers alone? Your airline should have a clear and coherent policy on this. The Ontario Human Rights Commission does:

You have rights as a nursing mother. For example, you have the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from nursing your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to "cover up", disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more "discreet".

from: Ontario Human Rights Commission website: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/pregnancy/index_html/view

Please respond at your earliest convenience. I know that a lot of parents are waiting to hear what you have to say.

Regards,

Michelle

I hope that will help. Also, I am a Toronto blogger.

As for Ms X, you are clearly misinformed. A company can not have a policy that violates the laws of the land or strips a person of their rights or freedoms. IT IS HER RIGHT (please get your facts straight).

I think it's long past time that we stopped worrying about a woman being "decent" as though there is something indecent about a woman's breast.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Gem said...

Michelle - that was beautiful :)

1:05 PM  
Blogger Lowa said...

I have been a lurker for some time, but wanted to comment on a few things.

I cannot articulate how angry this makes me! Why can't our babies just eat?? WHY!?!? HOW ON EARTH can someone be uncomfortable because a baby is nursing. YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!??! The babe's head blocks any view and in case it doesn't?? DON'T LOOK! DUH!

Why can't our babies just friggin' eat in peace?? Seriously??

It is just insane. Boobs are sexual objects which is SO DUMB! I always say "The only reason the silly bags of fat and milk ducts are there in the first place is to nourish our young". That is their main purpose and I can never understand why people don't use them as such. Although that is not what this is about. I just feel sad when I know women who don't even attempt ti nurse. Seems like a waste of time and money, etc etc.

My 7 yog saw a picture of Sarah Palin with her baby on a magazine cover in store recently. She said in a very disgusted voice, "Don't tell me she BOTTLE FEEDS!?!?!" LOL I am not sure where that came from because we don't talk about things like that much. Although I have told her breastfeeding is best.

Anyway, I am praying for your nephews as well. I just can't imagine all this health stuff. My father and one of my brothers have MD as well, but not the kind your sweet nephew has. I can't believe about Zachary. My son is close to his age and it hits very close to home. I will pray, pray, pray!

1:07 PM  
Blogger Mz X said...

1. Louisa, I didn't find you rude, no worries. If I couldn't take a little crit, I wouldn't be here. I realise it is unlikely in this case that anyone could have been seriously offended, but it is still possible a complaint was made. And even if one was not - the flight attendant offered the blanket with some slight encouragement to cover up. She did not force HBM to cover herself, and in fact left her alone to decide for herself. Me, I don't see the harm. I certainly don't see hundreds of responses + media interest worth of harm.

That said, I love drama and I can see why people are flocking to this. I know I'm having a great time.

2. Michelle. You're absolutely right, a company cannot have a policy that violates rights or freedoms. If they had told her to stop feeding her baby, I would be joining you in your outrage. But they didn't. They didn't even MAKE her cover up. Just asked. Barely even that. Care to tell me what law that violates?

1:37 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

For what it's worth, I also blogged about it: http://michellesamom.blogspot.com/2008/09/why-cant-people-leave-breastfeeding.html
I really hope you get the apology you deserve and that this does not happen any more.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Mz X, if you read the letter I sent (above) you will see that: "They should not ask you to "cover up", disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more "discreet"." (source Ontario Human Rights Commission).
You can also look at the recent CBC article:
http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/08/06/bc-breast-feeding-cover-up-west-jet-.html
Which discusses the same (this time in BC).
Or you can go to:
http://www.infactcanada.ca/Breastfeeding_Rights.htm
and read more on this issue.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Ms X - I was being discreet. I'm always discreet, for my own comfort - because I worry about people having reactions. Which is wrong, and part of the point here - I should not be made to feel ashamed for feeding my baby. As I've said many times - new mothers are vulnerable enough as it is, and the nursing relationship sometimes so tenuous (it can be brutally difficult, painful at worst; awkward at best) that it just sometimes doesn't take much to do emotional damage and/or tip them in the direction of not nursing at all. To be told - to just be encouraged - to cover up is to be told that there's something unseemly, something shameful about what you're doing. Why is that okay?

All sorts of people are made uncomfortable by all sorts of things. My disabled nephew, I'm sure, makes some people uncomfortable when he eats in public, but would anyone tell his mother to throw a blanket over his head? Some people are uncomfortable with same-sex relationships - should same-sex couples be told to not hold hands in public? My point is - some rights simply trump issues of social discomfort. Urging a blanket seems like no big deal - unless you're an anxious, stressed nursing trying to calm a fussy newborn, or simply a shy mother who's already ill at ease with wrestling her boob into her child's mouth, in which case that urging hurts and shames. Just as it would hurt and shame any other person whose age, ability, sexuality, what-have-you made someone else uncomfortable to be told that they should go elsewhere/cover-up/whatever so that they wouldn't spread discomfort.

The flight attendant wasn't aggressive with me. She didn't demand that I cover up. But she did urge me, and she was persistent. And I was already being discreet (not that that should matter - sometimes - as with a fussy squirmy baby - it's impossible to be totally discreet.) I should not be asked to cover up, I should not be urged to cover up, I should not have 'covering up' suggested to me - how I breastfeed is entirely up to me, and nobody else's business. Anything else constitutes the interference that the Ontario Human Rights code and BC human rights code and federal human rights code proscribe. And rightly so.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Vanessa - you figure out how to make those into t-shirts, I'll totally buy one. ;)

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

If the pro-blanket people weren't such perverts, or threatened due to self-esteem issues, and able to control their over-sexualization of everything, it wouldn't be a problem.

I see no reason why innocent mothers should pay for others' lack of self-restraint. You go, C.

4:59 PM  
Blogger LD said...

You know what? I understand where you are coming from on this, and I totally agree with why you would be upset.
I nurse on planes also - and I've never had anyone comment.
The thing is, when you're nursing generally your baby is quiet.
It's far easier to look the other way when someone is breastfeeding (discreetly or not) than it is to block the noise of a screaming baby.
When we were travelling this summer I asked my doctor how to best protect my baby's ears (she was 3.5 months) and she told me to nurse as much as I possibly could - especially on take-off and landing.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

You want one? I actually can print them. I was playing in a custom program. Its not hard, and shockingly, not expensive.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Mz X said...

HBM - you make some fair points, but the fact is, this is a unique situation and it is hard to make any accurate analogy. The real issue here is the double standard - childfree women or women with older children are not able to show their breasts in public, so may be irritated by breast feeding women being allowed to expose themselves. Comparing it to sexuality just doesn't fly. Straight people who criticise same sex couples usually engage in public displays of affection themselves, which means they are the ones with the double standards in that case.

My definition of discrete would be for no more flesh to be visible than a fully dressed woman - ie, some cleavage but no under cleavage, nipple or sides of the breasts. I agree that this is an arbitrary standard but if I am expected to be covered up, then so should you.

I actually probably have very similar views to many people here. I don't have a problem with breast feeding, and think it's probably best for babies to be breast fed. I also don't think women who breast feed should be stopped from doing it in public, but they should not expose themselves (unless I can go topless as well, because I would fucking love to). That's just good manners.

I gotta say though, you come across a lot smarter than your followers :P I don't agree with all you're saying, but you make some damn good points. I'd still prescribe you a chill pill, but I no longer think you need a triple dose.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Actually, Mz X, in Ontario (which is where HBM lives...and so do I), it IS legal for women to go topless.

Just tossin that out there.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Actually, Mz X, again, you are misinformed. In Ontario you are free to walk around topless. Enjoy!
Your definition is not the law, and there is no reason why HBM should conform to your idea (or anyone else's) of modesty.
Good manners means minding one's own business. It would be impolite to stare at someone while they were eating at a table, and it is impolite for anyone to gawk, stare or complain about a mother breastfeeding her baby.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next...

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next...

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

Mz X...Having witnessed Catherine nurse Jasper numerous times I can personally assure you that when she's got her boob in her kid's mouth the only thing you can see is the back of Jasper's darling little head.

I show more cleavage with the shirts I choose to wear than Catherine does with her tits hanging out.

9:27 PM  
Blogger whensheworeponytails said...

Catherine,

I still haven't heard back from them but if I get that letter I'm going to be irked. Not that they will care.

I think Michelle showed that where you live you CAN go topless. Which has already been said. So whether Mz X agrees or not is really a big fat WHO GIVES A SHIT. I really hope you don't let that person give you an ounce of pause since you've had enough to cope with this year.

I have an idea. Why don't we give blankets to the people it bothers and let them cover their heads up? We want to make sure they are comfortable with YOUR RIGHTS.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...

I'm from New York State, and so obviously I can't comment on Canadian law, but our civil rights law states specifically that it is completely legal for any portion of a woman's breast, including the nipple, to show, if the 'show' is incidental to breastfeeding. And this is in New York, where we all have big sticks up our asses.

The part of your story that pushed it over the edge, for me, at least, was that it is legal to be topless in Ontario, and the airline suggested BREASTFEEDING was bothering people?

Why? Because they can't touch them whilst the baby's working? Because they might just shoot themselves in the eye with milk made from last night's tacos? Good Lord.

I'm totally going to be ranting about this tomorrow. And writing a letter to those dirty old men.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does everyone on this blog attack people with differing views (Mz X)? Is there no room for debate?

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not love that picture more!

Good for you for fighting back....and most importantly, good for your sweet baby that Momma can stand up to the all the ass*@es and give him his lunch!!

Seriously, don't people have more important things to worry about on a plane??

8:52 AM  
Blogger Momily said...

I would love it if pro-breastfeeding discussion could exist without the odd slam against bottle/formula feeding (Iowa). Yes, breast is best, yadda, yadda, yadda, but some women are not able to breastfeed. Sheesh - why does this always come up?! You're not a better mom because you are able to breastfeed, just as you're not a bad mom for formula feeding. Iowa - I hope you instill some tolerance in your daughter on this one.

Yes, it’s just one comment here (and a few on a previous post of HBM’s that I reacted to in the same way) but I find it interesting that none of you jumped on Iowa for “unempowering” and diminishing those of us who can’t nurse, but Mz. X is the new resident antichrist. I’m sorry Iowa, but I don’t see the “LOL” in a 7 year old girl judging women who use bottles to nourish their kids.

As for the Sarah Palin dig, her politics are not my politics, but if she were any other woman with a special needs infant pursuing the greatest opportunity in her career, I sure hope no one would be shitting on her for bottlefeeding her baby.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Momily, I hope that you know that I'm totally opposed to anyone slamming bottle-feeding. I'm against anyone out and out slamming anyone - I'd rather we debate than judge. That said, I'm guessing that people skimmed over Iowa's comment and took on Mz X because Mz X's comments are challenging both the post at hand and the comments - so it's a more obvious target for debate.

I've used a bottle in public and never been judged for it, but I know women who have and I think that it can be just as pernicious as anti-bf'ing judgement.

Women feeding their kids should just be left alone, period.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

You know, if this had happened to me, I think I would assume that the kindly woman stewardess was not herself uncomfortable, was not trying to GET me to cover up, but maybe was touched by the scene and wanted to make ME comfortable as much as possible. Maybe wanted ME to feel as free as possible to nurse on a plane and maybe thought a blanket would help.

Of course, she was wrong, and she would have been wrong it it had been me as well.

But I think that's how I would have read it.

Is there not any chance that this is what happened? That the benefit of the doubt might be a valid perspective?

Just a thought....

9:29 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Catherine - I wouldn't deny that the FA was doing what she thought was the best thing, or even that she thought that I *would* be better off covered off. But she wasn't offering me comfort, asking if I was alright, if I needed anything - she was encouraging me to cover myself while nursing. Which, I think, is wrong. Flight attendants should - in my ideal universe - follow a policy of 'do not intervene' in dealing with nursing women. Offering me comfort would have been lovely - asking if there was anything that I needed - but that's not what she did.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous lavandula said...

hi catherine i can't believe their response is to post a form letter referring to another incident. you know i flew KLM airlines with a breast feeding infant and wasn't asked to cover up with a bklanket and this was in the 90's.i am one of the mums who complained but don't live in GTO. good luck catherine and if i can do anything else for you and other nursing mums i will

11:21 AM  
Blogger LD said...

Also, I posted about this also.
http://workingonperfect.blogspot.com/2008/09/at-issue.html

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Thank you for getting me angry, Catherine. I had never written an angry letter to a company who did something stupid before writing West Jet about your experience. You're inspiring.

I'm not GTA but I'm also not far away (in Kingston) should CBC be interested (I heart CBC).

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Oz said...

My babe refused to be covered with a blanket while nursing - he'd rip the damn thing off and then look around, leaving my nipple flapping in the breeze. So, while I personally would've preferred to be covered (though I think everyone should be able to nurse undisturbed whether covered or not), it just wasn't going to happen, no matter how many people offered blankets. The blanket just made the whole fussy baby wrestling situation worse.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Oz said...

My babe refused to be covered with a blanket while nursing - he'd rip the damn thing off and then look around, leaving my nipple flapping in the breeze. So, while I personally would've preferred to be covered (though I think everyone should be able to nurse undisturbed whether covered or not), it just wasn't going to happen, no matter how many people offered blankets. The blanket just made the whole fussy baby wrestling situation worse.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Steph said...

Try: http://www.lawhelpontario.org/ and the Durham Community Legal Clinic to make some connections. Although once this hits cp24 or The Star I'm sure you will have folks knocking on your door to help. The other high profile WestJet flyer who experienced the same disrespect has also setup a Facebook page.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous http://thebroadspot.blogspot.com/ said...

You are so cool! I respect this work so much. You are making the world a better place for future mothers. I am totally linking to this post on my blog. I want all my friends to know about this campaign. We are pro-public breastfeeding (if you want to do it, that is) at Broadspot!

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you were made to feel uncomfortable, but do you think it was the FA's intention to make you feel this way? She will probably say no. You absolutely have a right to breastfeed but no one denied you this right. Unfortunately, one doesn't have the right, sad to say, never to be made uncomfortable. Going the lawyer, CBC, HRC route will be a world of hurt.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anon - I have a right, I think, to not have anyone intervene when I'm bf'ing to make suggestions about how I might do it more appropriately. At least, that's what the Ontario human rights code says.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Just saying that many similar cases have been presented to various HRC in Canada and have taken years to be decided. Perhaps it is time for a new approach is all.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Gillian (NOT THE WEST JET ONE) said...

Over the 4th of July I was breastfeeding my son in a public place in Nashville, down an unoccupied hallway, with my mother sitting beside me (blocking the view from the main hallway), and I was covered up with a hooter hider. Like, neck to knees, draped in a black cape. And somebody complained, and the female security guard asked me to leave. Remove my child from my breast and depart! I am making people uncomfortable with that slurping sound! I said no, and my mother just about killed her with a glare of death.
So, I rally behind HBM on this one. My baby is almost 5 months old, and I am working full time and feeding him with my body, and this shizz is HARD. Whatever, I'll keep doing it, but hell if I'll let somebody bully me into stopping, and hell yes I will rally behind my bfing sisters to let us do it as and when we need to.

And yes, FAs have to walk a line when determining what to do about a complaint. I guess my beef is that it would seem that they immediately side with the complainer, instead of with the mother. If I complain that brown hair bothers me, are you going to ask the brown-haired guy to wear a hat? No, because that's unreasonable. So why isn't this?

5:05 PM  
Blogger LazyCrazyMama said...

Hell yes!! Why are others so damn uncomfortable with it? Should we let our babies starve for your comfort?

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The real issue here is the double standard - childfree women or women with older children are not able to show their breasts in public, so may be irritated by breast feeding women being allowed to expose themselves."

Women who are breastfeeding are not out to show their breasts in public; they are out to feed their children. That's what breasts are for. So if you are irritated because you can't go topless just because you like it, the double standard you should be attacking is the one that allows men to go about in public without a shirt.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anon - THANK YOU.

I would add, no-one would think to suggest that it's not fair that visually-impaired persons are allowed to bring companion animals where pets are not usually allowed - companion animals are a *need*, not a luxury or lifestyle choice. Likewise, nursing mothers *need* to use their breasts to feed their babies - they're not exposing (however partially) their breasts for fun.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Mz X said...

"...but Mz. X is the new resident antichrist."

...I like that.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mz X - seriously, be flattered. rebel angels are all the rage.

although it raises the question - who's the christ? 'cause I'm not taking that mantle, thankyeverymuch.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Mz X, as a childfree person, you clearly lack the experience of nursing a child, do not know how children act when they nurse, and do not understand the mechanics of nursing. This is not to meant to be a criticism of your childfree lifestyle. It is meant to be a criticism of your attempt to claim knowledge and authority in an area in which you have next to none.

For instance, one thing you clearly have no personal experience with is the fact that many babies refuse to nurse under a blanket. My child did, when he was a baby. I tried for months to get him to nurse under a blanket, to no avail. He would refuse to eat until it was removed. He would cry and thrash because he couldn't stand the sensation of having a blanket over his head. I imagine he felt like he was being smothered. I don't really blame him. But my attempts to "be discreet" by covering up with a blanket wound up with everyone staring at my wailing, flailing child as breastmilk soaked the blanket and my clothes.

It's also clear to me you currently have too much time on your hands, and too little attention in your life. Perhaps you should get a dog? I am personally a dogfree sort of person, but I hear they help pass the time. Or, if you have a dog, perhaps you should find a more fulfilling hobby than trying to provoke people you've never met on the internet.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Just saw you on CBC News -- go HBM!

P.S. Baby J is super cute.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous J Kat said...

Mom just wants her 15 minutes.

Look at the language on this blog site. It isn't about breast-feeding. It is about her wish to, quote, "Bare Your Boobs" and "still going on about my boobies". It isn't about the child, but about mom's exhibitionism.

Get a life!

6:24 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

*rolls eyes at J Kat*

6:35 PM  
Anonymous J Kat said...

OK, just read through the previous posts. I understand your audience a bit better. Here are some of their gems.

-- "WTF is everyone's problem"

-- "screw them in the ass. in their mother's ass"

-- "I will rip them a new one"

-- "wiped my ass with your form letter"

-- "Pervy Lactating Mom with Big Nasty Dirty Boobies.. Wanna see??"

-- "perverts and pedophiles and whacked out religious people"


And that's just form the first dozen or so. This blog isn't about a concerned mother pursuing freedom or her child's welfare. It is about a bunch of wanna-be 14-year-old girls and their potty mouths.

You make it easy to side with the airline.

The CBC broadcast makes it seem like you had a tantrum. You got your 15 minutes -- should have been better prepared.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

J kat

Is that all you've got?

Complaints about the mother and other people that have posted here? Really??

Last I checked - the issue was breastfeeding in public - not the language on this blog.

Go away.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous elaine said...

I forgot to add

Fuck the blanket.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 48 year-old mother and have no problem with breastfeeding in public. But do I want to see your boob? NO. It's not about feeding your kid, it's about seeing your "bits". THAT is what makes people uncomfortable. You may not get it, but then neither do the people who hork (sp?) on the sidewalk -- they think it's totally natural, too. Cover up! No one will care if they don't have to see your body. It's simple. Please, get over it and go with the flow.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Mz X said...

J Kat, I love you. Are there more of you? I hope so.

7:39 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

IT IS EATING. End of story. Yeesh.

7:55 PM  
Blogger fav.or.it said...

It's not about that, but we're not all into nudist camps (or topless) either. That doesn't automatically make me uncomfortable with my own nakedness, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to see another woman's body. I have no problem with breastfeeding (heck, I did, and so did my mother who had 6 kids from '46 to '66 and is in her 80s), but do I want a shot of your boob? No. Just use a cover-up. So your kid screams? You don't have to encase the baby, just veil yourself. (And if you can't encourage a baby who throws it off, to get used to it -- good luck with your future parenting!)

Lots of people do things in public that they think is okay. but others don't. I cannot abide spitting (I don't want whatever is in your lungs that you NEED to get rid of, to be on my shoes when I walk in my home. You should probably see a doctor!), but so many think it's completely normal. Not too keen on guys hugging up to a tree to pee, either.

No one (with a brain) is telling you to go into the airplane bathroom and lock yourself in. Just have some consideration for other people's comfort level and keep your parts covered. Life is all about compromise.

sent from: fav.or.it

8:18 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Holy disanalogy, Batman. Breastfeeding is like spitting?

Well, one is a totally selfish act and the other is a totally sefless one. I'll let everyone here figure out which one is which, and if it isn't obvious then it's clear that there is nothing that can be said that will crack the skull to shine the light in.

(Hint: Breastfeeding is the selfless act. Dammit. I gave it away, didn't I?)

8:32 PM  
Anonymous heather.pnr said...

Just wanted to say that I thought the news piece was great. Mothers should be allowed to nurse in the manner that works best for their children, not that makes random bystanders comfortable.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Wow, some of these anti-breastfeeding/HBM comments are pretty sweet (what? No, we're not trolls! Just because we keep taking shots at your and your readers? No, totally not trolls!). I especially like the pseudo-Victorian concern with the "language" on the blog (ZOMG! Swear words on teh internets!). In the spirit of such offensive comments, and in honor of HBM's home country, let me just paraphrase one of its great politicians. If you're bothered by a woman breastfeeding, just turn your fucking head away.

8:46 PM  
Blogger whensheworeponytails said...

C, Just saw the piece on the net and I thought you looked and sounded awesome.

I do actually get those people who are a little uncomfortable getting used to breastfeeding for what it is. But that is THEIR problem. I don't know if I and my children are lucky enough where I live to have a written right in regards to this but since you do I can't understand why this was ever an issue.

Unfortunately differing opinions turn into rudeness these days. I can't tell you how many times I am wearing Squeaker in a store (in a sling) and hear some Mom say, "Oh, she's going to spoil that baby." Wow. I needed you opinions on how to raise my third child. Thank you for your thoughtful help. No, they weren't requiring I put the baby down but they just had to vocalize their whining as if I needed a load of their brain vomit.

Why can't people just look away when someone else is doing something that they have every right to be doing? Why does it have to be "OH but I don't like it?!" I could see it if you were smacking him around. But feeding him?

It's just sad the measures we slap against Mothers. And worse when we can't just look away when we don't like what we see. That must have been a REALLY small plane you were on, C. Was there a remote control?

9:12 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

First of all, where the HELL have I been? Secondly, I had a little girl who gave birth in our free play area at at school once a week last year. Precious. Third, I would have TAKEN that flight attendant OUT. TAKEN HER OUT!

oh yeah.

9:14 PM  
Blogger chandlerful said...

"If you're bothered by a woman breastfeeding, just turn your fucking head away" -jeffrey

That quote pretty much sums it up. There's not really anything else to say on the non-existent "debate" of breastfeeding in public. I can do it, the law protects me, and you are free to mind your own business. Nurse on, mamas. Anywhere, anytime. The only way to normalize it, is to keep on doing it.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Mary Helen said...

Just saw the piece -- you sounded great. I can't believe people have the nerve to complain about this. If you don't want to see this natural, wholesome act, or *gasp* see a boob...DON'T LOOK!

2:26 AM  
Blogger Mz X said...

People who disagree with you and dare say it =/= trolls. On the internet, if you express an opinion and aren't ready to back it up, you will be knocked down, hard. I see that you argue well and can hold your own but you are still acting as if it's a personal attack. It's not, lovey, it's how the internet works.

2:50 AM  
Anonymous J Kat said...

CBC had done you in -- people will come to this site looking for a kind and gentle mom and get smacked with "f*uck the blanket" "screw them in their mother's ass" and "turn your fucking head". You make the airline look like the victim.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

J Kat - I would hope that people will come to this site and read my posts, rather than pick through the comments on one post, looking for curse words.

I get the impression that you're looking for something to be offended by. Otherwise, I'm not sure why you don't turn your head or click away - if this is all so distasteful to you.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mz X - I'm not taking anything as a personal attack. I'm passionate about defending nursing mothers' rights - and I had a personal reaction to the incident that has been under discussion here, because I experienced it as shaming - but I don't take disagreement with that cause personally.

And believe me, I've endured far worse trollage. This kind of disagreement, as much as some of it baffles me, is nothing.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone think that because public breastfeeding is a relatively new phenomenon that not all of society has fully embraced it yet? I was born in the 60's and babies were pretty much strictly bottle fed. I had 3 kids in the 80's and bf but it was expected to be done behind closed doors. The more prevalent public bf becomes the more it will become a societal norm. I can recall when a pregnant bikini-wearing woman was SHOCKINGLY OUTRAGEOUS! Now you see them everywhere and where they used to be "gross" now they are adorable.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Tantrum said...

My dirty nasty boobies did not allow me to nurse my son. They failed me...but by god my body gave me a baby so I will not complain anymore. You need to freaking get on these ASSHATS. Do whatever you can to get a fire lit under their butts. Do you remember hearing the story about the TSA guy here who made a woman drink her own bottled breast milk here in Seattle before getting on a flight? That made the news, he was fired and all kinds of melee ensued. Every woman should have the right to feed her baby the way that she sees best. If they make nursing mothers cover their babies with blankets then bottle fed babies should have to be covered too!

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Talora said...

Goodness. All this fuss over a bit of cleavage. Less cleavage than we see on television, or in print ads, or on a public billboard, but if that cleavage is associated with a nursing mother then knickers suddenly get twisted. Sadly, that logic is what is twisted.

My take home message from all this is that I will not be providing West Jet with my business. My nursing days are behind me now, but I'll continue to support the care and feeding of children, in all its many forms, by spending my money with those companies that do the same.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Have been having my own, much smaller, discussion on my blog and am just finishing the thoughts today...if any of you are interested...Mz X perhaps? Would be curious to know your thoughts...

11:22 PM  
Blogger SewCrazyDogLady said...

Here is what I don't get.. if people are uncomfortable watching you nurse, then WHY are they watching?! For crying out loud, its just a boob.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Lotta said...

Bastards!

I love that picture.

2:09 AM  

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