I have started this introduction about six times now.
As I write this, my hands shake and my blood boils. Today I watched a social experiment by Joey Salads called "Sexy vs Breastfeeding in Public (Social Experiment)." The video features two women. One is dressed in shorts and a top that exposes her cleavage and the other is acting as a breastfeeding mother.
The women take turns sitting on a bench in a mall. The "sexy" woman, as pone could expect, receives attention from several passersby, but no one says anything to her except for one guy. The man comes up to her, introduces himself, and, while showing his body in between her and the side of the bench, asks if he can sit with her. He makes a pass at her. "You can follow me on Instagram," he says.
The screen cuts to the breastfeeding women having her turn on the bench. A man passes her. He does a double take and says, "Seriously ma'am? You have to do that here? That's disgusting." Two young women say to her in passing: "That's so disgusting." Finally, a pregnant women asks if she can sit with the mother. They have a conversation, talking about their pregnancies, breastfeeding experiences, and what to expect in motherhood.
The final scene of the experiment shows the women sitting side by side on a bench on a sidewalk. A man passes by and expresses his disgust. "I don't appreciate your tit being out like that," he says. Joey Salads, who is standing behind the women asks him why he feels this way. He points to the woman with the low-cut shirt, "Her boobs are out too," Salads says. The man replies, "That's different. That's just how her shirt is. It's not gross."
They deliberately stopped what they were doing in order to inform this woman that her actions were "disgusting" and that nursing in public is unacceptable. These peoples' comments left me breathless and physically sick. I can barely think straight right now because the reactions of the people in this video are so disgusting.
Joey Salads has received criticism accusing him of staging this social experiment, and if these allegations are true, he has obviously lost some of his credibility as a video journalist. But, regardless of the authenticity--or lack thereof--of this social experiment or any others conducted by Salads, his argument remains valid: breastfeeding should not be a controversial topic. It should not be something that seems out of the ordinary or inappropriate in public spaces.
Anywhere infants are allowed, nursing should be as well. Not only should it be allowed, but it should accepted, encouraged, and normalized.