Why Nursing Women Shouldn’t Have to “Cover Up”

gap-breastfeeding-final-hed-2018.jpg
Courtesy of Adweek

Idaho and Utah recently became the latest and final states to legalize public breastfeeding, but according to the New York Times, Trump and his administration originally opposed the new law in favor of the opinions of the baby formula industry.  The full legalization of public breastfeeding across the USA is a huge success for new mothers, but could the fact that it was originally opposed by the “leader of the free world,” that only now in 2018 has it become legal, years behind other countries like France and England, show us just how far feminism in America still has to come?

The legalization, met with strong resistance, was not a simple task. During a hearing, Curt Webb, the Republican representative in Utah, said that covering yourself up to naturally feed an infant was immodest and unnecessary. “This seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all. I’m not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face.”  

However, a different Republican representative, Paul Amador, expressed his disappointment with his state’s lack of protection for mothers by saying to the House of Representatives, “Personally, I find it disappointing that we’re in 2018, and we still haven’t passed this law in Idaho. I think we can take a proactive stance here through legislation to promote the natural bond and health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. I also believe the health and nutritional choices of our families are best left as decisions for our families, not our government.” A substantial amount of people agreed with Amador’s views, echoing their disapproval over the USA’s lack of protection for nursing women.  

The struggle for women’s rights in this regard should not have taken so long, should not have been so hard. Breasts should not be be sexualized to the extent that, when feeding a child, they are forced to be hidden, and this legalization simply means being allowed to feed your child in public. It simply means not having to run to the bathroom every time you want your baby to receive nourishment. It simply means that whatever is “really in your face,” as Curt Webb claims, is a part of the human body that every woman has and should do with as she pleases. Hopefully, the legalization of public breastfeeding means that mothers throughout America can now look forward to the safer and healthier environment they deserve.

 

-Alice Butler