Tuesday, January 10, 2012

There IS a difference

I saw this on Facebook today and it irritated me to no end. Liking one of these, but not the other one does NOT make you a hypocrite. They are two entirely different situations. They differ from how and why you'll see them as well as choices and respect for the freedoms of people around you. I always say that your freedom extends to the point that it impinges on someone else's. Our freedoms are not limitless. There has to be a mutual respect for people around us if we are to all maintain a healthy level of freedom in the first place.

Looking at the left picture, we have someone who is a waitress and wears a certain "uniform," if you will. Chances are, this is not worn at a family restaurant. That kind of exposure is not appropriate for families or young children. This is not dissimilar to Hooters (although the dopey manager of the Hooters in Biloxi, MS thinks it's a family oriented place). I would not take my children to a restaurant where the women dress like the kilted beauty above. If I do, then it's on me. I am responsible for explaining more details of female anatomy to my kids before their brains are ripe enough to get it. That being said, other than a stomach which can be seen at the beach, she is only showing a little more than average cleavage (average as defined by the United States in 2012).

Now let's look at the right. By area, she is showing more of her breast than the waitress. Then there is the act. The woman on the left is not doing anything but standing there. The woman on the right is performing a public, intimate act in public. I may kiss my girlfriend in public, but I don't make out with her. That's a private act that stays private, as is breastfeeding. Explaining to a child about the parts they see on the left is different than explaining the act that is happening AND the parts they see on the right. Now, let's talk about the freedom aspect. Like I mentioned above, if I go into Hooters or the place the left side girl works, it's a choice. If I see the woman on the right in a restaurant (or a park as it seems from the pic), I have NO choice. It is thrust on me whether I like it or not. Who is to say this won't happen in Walmart, McDonald's, BestBuy or a TGI Friday's, all of which do not house the woman on the left or her exposed anatomy. But the act of breastfeeding may happen anywhere, without means for escape. 

If there is one thing I cannot support, it is being forced to endure someone else's nonsense. This blog is a prime example. If you're reading this far and you're pissed off I have ZERO sympathy for you. You clicked the link and have read down to the 4th paragraph so far. You are free to leave at any point. If I interrupted something you were doing, made you a captive audience and forced you to read/watch/listen, then you'd have a substantial claim to be aggravated at me. If I am mid-meal at a truly family friendly restaurant when a breast pops out and the baby starts his meal, I have no choice. I suppose I could forego eating, pay for a half eaten meal, get up and leave, but I shouldn't have to. Private stays private.

I wouldn't complain about breastfeeding at a Mommy and Me class; that's expected. I don't even complain when a blanket is used to show some damn discretion. I'll never forget the woman in January of 2003 standing at the return counter of  Best Buy where I was an employee. Her shirt was pulling up on one side, breast was out and baby was feeding. It was less discreet than what we see above. Entire boob out in the breeze for the world to see. Telling me that's the same as the cleavage on the left? So, I'm standing there trying to assist her (with her computer, not breastfeeding) half shocked, half horrified, half formulating an opinion on whether this is ok or not (that's 3 halves for those counting). I'm clearly distracted. I'm 23, in public and this is new to me. It gets attention. She is offended that I'm surprised her boob is out in Best Buy. She storms off with the baby under one arm and the laptop under the other. Truthfully, there were about 3 of us behind the counter, all with the same quizzical look on our faces. We are doing our jobs. She took her breast out. Were WE the strange ones?

How can anyone honestly say that both of the above pictures are the same? If you want to rally support for breastfeeding, fine. If you think there should be more accommodations to be milked in public, fine. Is the above picture really your soapbox? I guess this is more about properly choosing your argument and supporting visual aids than about the argument itself, when you get right down to it. That picture above is asinine. 

Think about the amount visible, the act, the location, the intent, and the in-your-face-no-matter-your-opinion factors of each and then tell me I'm a hypocrite. 

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