Current mood: moodyLet me start by stating that there is no more fundamental women's right -- no, start over.
There is no more fundamental human right than for a woman to feed her child.
Engrave that in marble for the world to see and affix it to a large steel beam anchored in concrete! Perhaps, however, we also need a smaller, more portable version of it to beat people over the head with when they try to deny women that right.
Such is the case with breastfeeding. Far too often, a woman trying to feed her child is told she cannot, or is in some way restricted, or simply removed altogether from that location.
In a few jurisdictions, women not only are guaranteed to be able to feed their children in any way they deem fit, but are also given legal recourse against anyone who does try to deny them. This means three things:
- A woman may display any amount of skin for any amount of time, anywhere she is legally allowed to be;
- Any form of obstruction is off limits, including but not limited to leering by teenage boys, objections by other customers, and any request by anyone in authority to the woman to alter her behavior, covering, location or position;
- Should anyone give the woman a hard time, she has legal grounds to sue.
- It is considered a freedom, not a right.
- Localities may still act to prohibit the practice.
- Neither promotional nor tolerance incentives for employers have yet been agreed upon.
- No legal recourse wording was in the final document.
The reasoning behind this is simple. A lactating woman who feels she is being intruded upon will find it difficult to initiate or maintain the "letdown" reflex which allows milk to flow. It's instinct. Policies must do more than merely allow breastfeeding; they must support and defend it. Changing the laws to protect this basic human right must be a priority, without any regard to politics, religion, or anyone's idea of modesty.
On this sole issue, American society today continues to live in some medieval Dark Age. At once we tolerate if not celebrate female skin displays and covered breast movements, while simultaneously going ballistic at the slightest appearance of an areola or nipple at rest. At once we turn a blind eye to the woman disciplining her kid to within a hair's breadth of involving CYF, but pounce on the silent, nearly motionless woman in the corner feeding her child. At once we become indignant over anything that smarts of female immodesty, but rarely have a cross word against shirtless, overweight men whose breasts often exceed the size of many women's.
It's wrong. It needs to change. Pennsylvania has a nice start, at long last, but it still has a long way to go.