How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Don’t Bring Dirty Looks to a Machete Fight

Posted by on November 14th, 2012, under SNAPSHOTS

My solution is bigger than your problem primitive tribal breastfeeding mom

How many looks of disgust or ohmahgosh rolls of the eyes do you think this mom gets breastfeeding in public?

Bingo! Not many. At least not from people with a full set of arms in their collection.

You could argue that it’s because she’s a part of a primitive society and that they’re all simply used to a yenta jii style of dress (loosely translated as “mostly or fully buck in nakedness”).*

* Not really. Cool your Google jets, I just made that up.

We know tribal cultures don’t have wicker huts that could even pass for a cute Gilligan’s Island version of a Gap or Target, so it’s totally understandable there would be a lot of the body left wearing only the colors of the wind. But there’s just something more to this image…

You think she’s carrying a couple feet worth of sharpened metal. I think she’s carrying a million miles of perspective. Maybe we can all learn a lesson from looking at motherhood in such uncivilized surrounds…

Maybe there’d be less friction and scorn for us if we just tore off our shirts, buried our faces in a jar of strawberry jelly and carried swords when publicly tending to the raising of our kids, or ordering really complicated drinks at the coffee house…

Maybe that wasn’t the right lesson to draw from this. You decide for yourself. I’ve given you a lot of blank canvas to work with.

–Andy

Facebook or Machete
I’m not saying you get the machete if you don’t Like our Page. But I’m also not not saying that.

Instructional Diagrams
Some of my drawrings.
 

57 Comments

57 Responses to “Don’t Bring Dirty Looks to a Machete Fight”

  1. WeirdFish says:

    I do think the overreaction toward breastfeeding in public is overreaction, but at the same time, there’s also something to be said about the vehemence with which breastfeeding-in-public proponents either passive-aggressively or even just aggressive-aggressively challenge that notion, as if DARING something to make a fuss.

    There’s a compromise to be had here, and it starts with “civility,” something that’s slowly eroding.

    While we in America and probably other Western societies take far too puritanical a view toward “OMG TITS!!!!” the point is that that view does exist, it’s real, and that no amount of shoving boobs into everyone’s faces (figuratively or even literally) is going to change that. Bikinis may get smaller, cleavage more pronounced, and porn more available on Teh Internets, but that’s only titillation (no pun intended there); breastfeeding forces confrontation with the topic, whether good or ill.

    I don’t claim to have the right answer, because I don’t think there is one that’s easily had. Sure, we socially could stand to be a little more chill than our Pilgrim ancestors, but I said “easily.” :)

    • mnemos says:

      I think you’re right, there is no need to look for provocation.
      Feeling a bit uncomfortable in such situation is even healthy. After all, we’re taught not to look at your friends/family members genitals…

      However, you can breastfeed in public without showing almost anything, there are clothes for that. And little as it shows, some people will still feel it disgusting.
      I’d say to them: just grow up!

    • Julia says:

      The trick is to stop sexualizing the female form. Or hypersexualizing it, as it were. Because then it’s “HOW DARE YOU SHOW YOUR BREASTS IN PUBLIC THOSE ARE DIRTY FILTHY FUN BAGS MEANT FOR MY ENJOYMENT YOU CAN’T SHOW THEM IN PUBLIC BY USING THEM TO PERFORM YOUR BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE AS A MOTHER YOU WHORE!!!”

      Maybe people do need to be confronted with their unhealthy attitudes towards a woman’s body?

  2. Jen says:

    I breastfed while ordering a complicated drink at a coffee house. Not joking. Just do it women. Who cares.

    • I completely agree. With Child# #1 I would excuse myself and go nurse my son in the car…Child #4 I would nurse her while standing in line at the grocery story. I got so good and comfortable at it that I could run all my errands, help with homework and carry on a conversation with a baby under my shirt :) sans machete

  3. Natalie says:

    Note to self – tear off shirt, whip out the goods, and breastfeed while waiting in line with thanksgiving groceries…..hopefully the line will clear, saving me some time.

    • amy says:

      Ive so had to do this. It wasnt as terrible as you might think. Though I wouldn’t wish for the situation to happen again. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! :-)

  4. kevin says:

    My wife didn’t have any problem breastfeeding in public. In fact, I don’t know anybody who did. I think the anti-BF thing is mainly a US phenomenon, it certainly doesn’t seem to be a concern here in Canada. The strongest reaction we got were warm smiles from other parents.

    Now, that being said, the opposite issue can be a bit of a problem; a family member couldn’t breast feed her second for a medical reason, and found that BOTTLE feeding in public was dangerous political territory. She had complete strangers do everything from tell her she hadn’t tried hard enough to breast feed, to demanding to know what was in the bottle and whether it was the right temperature. She handled them a lot more nicely than I would have too.

    • twowords:securityblanket says:

      Amen. I never had a problem breastfeeding in public either, and also don’t know anyone who did. But of course, I always carried a piece of cloth to cover the baby’s face and the mammary area…it was the best way to avoid offending anyone, and I got to feed my kids on their own time. Win-win!!

      • Julia says:

        I’m thinking about buying one of those just because I would feel all vulnerable letting other humans know when I was incapacitated by a suckling child. I get all cornered-rat-feeling just thinking about it.

    • mnemos says:

      Well, it’s not only in the US.
      We have the same “problem” in France. My wife didn’t breastfeed in public because she is too shy (prude?), but we still got a few comments from people when she annouced she would breastfeed. Like her gay boss (no offense, it’s true) who would not even consider bearing to see a bit of tit accidentaly…
      Tits on the net are exciting but when they go out in real to feed, they become disguting… weird…

  5. twowords:securityblanket says:

    Awesome idea, Natalie!

  6. I think my dagger eyes give off the appropriate level of “don’t screw with me while I’m nursing” but if they didn’t? I’d totally rock a machete.

  7. Claudia says:

    Spoken like an educated man!
    I have found that the people with the most disgust towards breast feeding in public are those without breasts themselves. I have physically heard many an ignorant male compare bfing in public to him whipping out his d!@k in public. Until we can disconnect breasts to being purely sexual entities, we will always have this problem. I still don’t understand WHY you must look at me BF in the first place; don’t like it? STOP LOOKING AT ME. It’s so simple. I mean, when dudes have to pee in stalls next to each other, do you HAVE to look at your junk? Just cause it’s out there, doesn’t mean its a requirement, right? I think it’s a FWP- for us to have to argue whether we think it’s ok or not to BF in public.
    You are a good man, Andy!

    • Julia says:

      I get annoyed as hell when my dad jokes “Did you bring enough to share?” when talking about women breastfeeding in public. My response is always “You’re fucking disgusting Dad. Stop being a sexist piece of shit and stop sexualizing the female body while it performs its biological imperative.”

  8. Dave says:

    I’m pretty sure WeirdFish pulled their post above out of MY head. That IS weird ;)

    Seriously, it’s allowed and all but I have more of a problem with the aggressive-aggressive moms who insist on doing it wherever they goddamn please, thank-you-very-much. If some people could lighten up about a mom doing it ANYWHERE in public, that would be great. If some women didn’t try to pretend that we’re all supposed to shut our mouths when they defiantly walk around topless in the mall while every tween in a half-mile radius are gaping at them wide-eyed, that would be great too.

  9. Kriston Glasnovic says:

    There wouldn’t *be* aggressive moms were it not for the aggressive people that make breastfeeding moms feel like they are doing something WRONG.

    Here’s the deal, this is HOW HUMANS ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT. This isn’t about bottles or who didn’t try or who couldn’t nurse for medical reasons. This is about HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOM to do something we are JUST SUPPOSED TO DO.

    The people that have a problem with nursing in public have their panties all bunched up because either they think their husband might be checking for a nipple (get another husband or therapy), or they are vajealous (I’m using new vocabulary, thanks HowtobeaDad!) because they don’t have boobs themselves. OR, they haven’t come to terms with their food issues. They don’t want to know from where their food comes.

    Whether you have a problem or not, there is no compromise that needs to be made. Children get hungry, and breastmilk is their perfect food. And if you can chew your gum, smoke your cigarettes, refuse to shower, wear that ugly yellow shirt, stand to close to me in line, fart in public, or any number of things that make me uncomfortable, I can feed my child.

    • kevin says:

      Well, the second paragraph was clearly directed at my comment.

      My wife breastfed in public. She did it all over the place, but with sufficient discretion. She never had anybody give her any grief at all, and we enjoyed that freedom.

      Her sister had a right to feed her baby in public too. That she had to use a bottle to do it is nobody’s business but hers and her baby’s, but aggressive wakadoos made it their business. Mom-shamers sniping at her in public places, calling her a bad mother, typing angry all-caps comments on blogs, and driving her to hide in bathroom stalls. Disgusting. Worst thing we got was the people who clucked at us for using a stroller instead of a sling.

      • Kriston Glasnovic says:

        Honestly, I wasn’t directing anything I said to anyone specifically. I’m annoyed with the whole “controversy” in general! There shouldn’t *be* a controversy!

        What I was attempting to express with my second paragraph is that when it comes to the topic of public nursing, there should be NO debate about bottles, or how long someone tried to nurse, or if they did at all. I think they are two very separate issues, and honestly, I wasn’t responding to you at all, Kevin.

        The fact that people can’t keep their mouths shut and let parents PARENT drives me MAD! I had to bottle feed expressed milk to my LO sometimes, and even if it had been formula, it’s NOBODY’S business! I’m on your side, man!

  10. beta dad says:

    She’s all, “That’s right motherfucker, I’m feeding my kid. You wanna say something about it? I’ll give you the same haircut I gave him.”

  11. I breastfed whenever and wherever I wanted/needed to. After the first few weeks nursing my first child, I realized that this is no big deal. This is what breasts were made for. I nursed both my children for about 16months. That meant there were a lot of feedings that were on the run. And no, I didn’t cover my babies face with a blanket, etc. My babies didn’t want to be hidden under a blanket. So, I didn’t. We live in Canada, and I never had a problem.

    Live and let live. Feed and let feed. And save yourself a ton of negative energy by not judging other people for their choices. Bottle, breast — let a mother do what she is best for her and her family.

  12. Nita says:

    I was listening to NPR a couple of weeks ago, and they were discussing certain neighborhoods in CA where men walk around the town squares completely naked. These squares are on the public transit line, they are in shopping areas, and they are within sight of everybody. So these men can go through public life naked. . . but women aren’t supposed to publicly breastfeed.

  13. Marcy D. Martin says:

    As a first time mother at 40, I had no idea what I was getting into when I decided to breastfeed. Although I personally did not feel comfortable nursing in front of anyone except my husband, I smiled at and encouraged others who were comfortable enough. In the 2 years and seven months I nursed (my daughter weaned herself) I heard many criticisms and few compliments or words of encouragement. Without a doubt I would be more open to nursing in public now that I have experienced it once from beginning to end. Note to self- On those days wear weirdo bead necklace or faux diamond nose stud to draw attention upward.

  14. Marcy D. Martin says:

    P.S. My husband, also modest but open to what is right for our family, said the only thing that made him uncomfortable was the way my daughter always squeezed and tweeked the breast she was not on. This picture made me happy to see such an endearing behavior crosses cultures and social norms.

    • HazelBroadway says:

      Yeah, I think that is something most babies (if not all) will do naturally! :)

    • Amy says:

      Yes, that was the second thing I noticed too – I was just glad to see I’m not the only mom that has to put up with the pinching, tweaking, flicking, pulling, etc of the unoccupied nipple. I’ve found myself wishing I had twins a couple of times, since it really sets my teeth on edge. But, it also serves as a handy reminder when her nails need trimming – yeeeeoooowwwwch! lol

  15. Renee says:

    My brother-in-law’s girlfriend was over at our house and venting about a person who just earlier that day was riding on the city bus (MUNI, SF, for those interested) saying, “And it wasn’t just a baby, either, it was like a TODDLER!” with such horror in her voice as I was nursing my 3-year-old in front of her.

    I think she realized what she was saying after I gave her a semi-wide-eyed look of “Are we really doing this right now? Are we really having this conversation?”

    She clammed up and I didn’t have to say anything to her, but I would have to say that, if I wasn’t expecting our second right now (6 months pregnant) and was as dry as the desert, I would be content to nurse however long my child wanted. She reluctantly weaned herself at 3.5 years but only because “mommy has no more milk.”

  16. Shawn says:

    There are way to many stupid people in this world. Some guys will ‘get off’ if a woman walks by in a snowsuit. Breastfeeding isn’t going to do it. I wouldn’t eat in a bathroom stall, why should my child.

  17. Michael says:

    Complain in public or in a business setting and you’ll likely be visited by a breastfeeding sit-in group.

  18. Gale says:

    That picture…is the perfect example of a “mama bear.” You mess with our kids and you can superimpose that picture over all of us.

  19. Karebear says:

    Great photo! I’m a new mom who had problems breastfeeding initially but currently I’m going strong for 6 months now. I tend to go to private places when I’m in public mostly because my spirited child is so interested about everything going around him that he refuses to eat if he there is any kind of action going on, such as strangers walking by.

    I’ve been curious for a while now- for those who support breastfeeding but are making the complaint about women who breastfeed “anywhere” they want, what are some examples of “anywhere” that are particularly offensive? I really am genuinely curious which places are deemed acceptable and which are not okay in the eyes of others.

    • Willow M. says:

      I’d like to know, too. I’d think it would be better to have a content babe than a screaming one no matter where you are…

    • Nicole says:

      I think the way you nurse in public is more of an issue than exactly where you do it. If you just have your nursing tank pulled down, with lots of breast visible, and you’re in a heavy traffic spot (entrances, lines…) or walking around, then it’s going to offend many more people than tucked away in a quiet corner of the cafe/restaurant/mall/whatever with a cover, blanket, burp cloth, or even your regular shirt pulled up and resting against baby’s face.

      Even if you aren’t exposed, for people who are uncomfortable w/ even accidentally seeing an exposed breast/nipple, it can be all about the risk factor. So, the less you are covered, even if nothing is visible, the more likely it appears that the baby could flail and suddenly expose you to them. There’s another reason (I think) why older breastfeeding babies are less accepted. They’re so wiggly and are notorious for on-off-on-off nursing, especially around distractions. And then BAM! the boob’s out of the bag.

      And for some people, “anywhere” just means any place that they’re son/husband is at the same time you are breastfeeding. It was taboo for so long, we’re just not a society that’s used to it. And now with so many aggressive nursers, or uncovered nursers, or whoops there went my boob nursers, even the totally covered moms are not being welcomed by our society, because all breastfeeding-in-public moms have all been lumped into one extreme, awful box of don’t go there.

      Also, the more masculine in nature a place is, the less acceptable I suppose it would be. For example, a sports bar/restaurant on a Friday night would be “worse” than the library, kid’s park, bakery or coffee shop. More general places, such as grocery store, mall, department stores, or lunch stops are more in the middle and hit or miss on the responses.

      Some people get uptight even with the widest, best coverage nursing thingy-majig. (I’ve been loving a lightweight poncho/shawl style lately, to keep boobs, distracted baby, and mommy tummy all covered up!) You can’t win them all. But when you do cover up, or find that more tucked away spot (when possible!) the more people will admire your tender moments with baby. (Shyly, quietly, to themselves. They wouldn’t want to creep you out or something…!) Or, at least, the less you’ll have angry mobs of people coming after you!

      Anyway, great job to you for sticking it out and overcoming your obstacles with breastfeeding! You are the mom of your very own baby, and you worked hard at what you decided would be the best decision for your baby, and that is wonderful! Also, after two nursing babies, it’s been my experience that after the first year they don’t need it in public nearly as often, and after around 18 months or so, rarely. The older they get, the less they need it, the more they can be appeased with other edibles, and if you choose, the more they can understand that it’s only for home/bedtime/nap time/whatever you pick. Best wishes!

  20. nickol says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the photo. I was celebrating a friends birthday with a group of moms in a restaurant when one started nursing her brand new son. She was completely covered up, we wouldn’t have even gotten a peek. She was a pro at modestly feeding in public.
    The woman at the nearest table (who would have had to crane her neck to get a better look at the blanket) began making offended noises and giving her dirty looks.
    I asked the waitress to bring her a glass of milk, on us.

  21. GrumpyWookie says:

    Not just America – there have been incidents of (OMG) breast feeding in public in AUSTRALIA too. A woman was ejected from a sitting-of-parliament for breast feeding – caused a real frenzy in the media (about 10 years ago – I just realised).

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/stories/s793936.htm

    I think a lot of people refuse to see the difference between “boobs out” like a wardrobe malfunction – and nudity/erotic/sexualised, and a natural way to feed a child (it’s a milk-dispenser).

    Most BF’ing mum’s I know will be very discrete, and people around will see “less” boob than the red-carpet on Oscar’s night.

  22. Willow M. says:

    I’m currently breastfeeding my second kid and have never had anyone say a word to me. I like to think if anyone ever does I’ll pull my boob out of my child’s mouth and give the offender a good squirt in the eye. I’m so over this whole controversy… Do we really have nothing better to complain about? It all comes down to lessons learned in kindergarten; mind your own business and if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

  23. Bou says:

    <3
    I'd loooove to have a sword next time I will breastfeed my son in public. Maybe that will allow him to eat quietly without any interruption by some narrow-minded-prudish guy è_é

  24. Dejah Danger says:

    I breastfeed, uncovered, in public. I breastfeed, uncovered, in front of my dad, my brothers, my kids, and anyone else that happens to be around when my son is hungry. He will tear anything away that is around his face, so the fact that I don’t want to cover (it’s SUCH A HUGE PAIN) is great for him. I breastfeed while grocery shopping, while on public transit, while in the doctor’s office, during appointments, wherever! I live in Seattle and, so far, have had nothing but compliments and kudos for breastfeeding and babywearing (which makes the NIPing easier on the go) while I’ve done it. I’ve been approached by men and women of all ages that told me how wonderful it is, and usually, they just wanted to tell me my baby is cute and realized I was breastfeeding after. Some people apologized for “interrupting” but I always assured them they had nothing to apologize for; he’s eating and you noticed, so there’s nothing to be sorry about.

  25. Desiree says:

    I love how it’s barely noticeable, but the baby is holding the other nipple in his free hand. This is an ancient and worldwide behavior, stemming entirely from instinct for babies, to comfort themselves by holding on to the breast or the other nipple to stimulate milk production. I was told it was “indecent” to allow my child to “fondle my breasts” by a passing good Samaritan when I was nursing. I told her maybe her perspective was the problem, not my breasts. Whatever, people. When you’re nursing, they’re food bags, first to your bayb, and then surprisingly enough, even to you – even you, the person conditioned to believe that they are a taboo extension of your sex organs, you get over that false veneer and realise that your breasts are originally, and according to the prime directive of human bodies, just a great food source, and even if you don’t take instinctive and basic human behavior to heart, nursing becomes a calming source of enjoyable down time and can be just about the only time your baby becomes blessedly calm and relaxed. No matter how conditioned you were in your youth (I was totally conditioned myself), you really do get over it. They lose all sexual connotation, and they become nothing more nor less than the easiest, simplest way to get your kid fed on the go. Heck, if it worked for the Clan of the Cave Bear, it’ll work for me. At least where nursing goes.

    Of course, once you stop nursing, they turn back into a taboo novelty again. But I never forgot what the body showed me when I was nursing. That perspective is the only thing that makes them taboo.

  26. Suzanne says:

    I believe the technical term for your kiddo playing with your other nipple while nursing is “twiddling.” My squish does this ALL THE TIME. She even does it when we’re not feeding, if I just carry her she does it! I LOVE this picture! That’s how I feel sometimes when I NIP. I don’t cover up because it’s too hot and my little girl won’t allow it anyway.

    Honestly, if men can go without a shirt I should be able to breastfeed anywhere. Heck! I should be allowed to go without a shirt in every place they can!

    Good job! I love this blog!

  27. IdaLula C says:

    Given that our breasts are an erotic reality, full of life, nurture, and the truth that we as women are the source of live birth on this planet, fear of breasts and the power of breasts reflects a deep sexual immaturity in our time and in our culture. Set those beauties free. Life would be so much more interesting.

  28. Mary C says:

    I love the pic! Glad to know mine wasn’t the only one who twiddled. I nursed my son until he was about 16 months old. I nursed in public but for the first bit, I always went to the dressing room or to the car. As the weather got warmer, I stayed inside in the AC and got bolder with my choice of nursing location (aka anywhere i could sit down). I never got any dirty comments, but I did get a lot of questions from children. They wanted to know what the baby was doing and when he was going to stop so they could play with him. Their parents looked terrified that I was teaching their children about babies eating off the boob, but they never said anything to me. I always just said that he was eating and that he would be done in a few minutes. The fear left their eyes and they would relax a bit. I never covered up but wore clothing that allowed my son to feed but me to stay covered. I got so good at it that a person once leaned down to get a closer look at my son and didn’t even realize what I was doing. The man just smiled and told me how cute he was and then walked away.

  29. Cara says:

    Actually, as I do a fair amount of genealogical research into my family, I am finding many, many references to EXTREMELY casual attitudes in the 17th and 18th centuries. It has seemed it not uncommon to nurse freely in from of even casual acquaintances and no one seemed uncomfortable. From what I can tell, sharing nursing babies amongst all nursing mothers present in any sort of gathering was rather commonplace as well. So how has our cultural norms swung this far back in the other direction in just a couple of hundred years? I really don’t get it, another poster said it best “Live and let live. Feed and let feed.” It’s as simple as that folks!

    And try to remember the Golden Rule…..If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

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