My column today is on the Barbara Walters’ breast-feeding brouhaha.
If you are squeamish about these things–and I’m actually amazed that so many people are–just skip it. But here is one of my main points getting lost in the noise:
When millions of parents complained about the outrageously inappropriate exposure of Janet Jackson’s breast during a sexually explicit Super Bowl performance last year, they were immediately branded “prudes” by elite liberals in the media. Why aren’t those same supposedly progressive commentators bashing the ridiculously priggish Barbara Walters and company now?
1) No mother should ever be made to feel ashamed of nursing.
2) Barbara Walters is a feminist-lauded hypocrite.
3) The militancy of some of these “lactivists” is off-putting, but understandable given point number 2.
4) Enduring 10 minutes of breast exposure on an airplane is a lot less torturous than enduring an endless-seeming flight with a bottle-rejecting baby screaming from takeoff to landing. Trust me. I never had to take one on an airplane, but I know about stubborn, bottle-rejecting babies. I nursed one for 13 months.
5) And finally, no one needs to remind me about the need for modesty. I’m not, as you know, a crunchy, let-’em-all-hang-out kinda gal. When it’s practical, of course a mom should be discreet. Sometimes, though–say, when you’re a nursing mom traveling alone and your baby is starving and you don’t have a helping hand to retrieve a blanket from the overhead bin because the snobby people sitting next to you are looking at you like you’re a Zulu–a few minutes of partial breast exposure is absolutely forgivable.
One significant, two minor. In my column, I wrote that Barbara Walters “reportedly pronounced [the airplane] incident ‘gross and disgusting.'” Walters writes to say that she did not, in fact, use the words “gross and disgusting” to describe breast-feeding. (The quote came from The Calgary Sun, Ted Byfield, June 12, 2005.) I will also note the correction in my syndicated colum next week and apologize for the error. Walters informs me that Elizabeth Hasselback has not completely stopped breast-feeding her newborn. Lastly, Walters says she was “not flying first class,” but was flying “on a crowded shuttle.”
All the more reason to show the nursing mother compassion and put your hang-ups in check. But that’s just my view. Not “The View.”
Jimmy Kimmel, an ABC network colleague of Walters’, weighs in. Watch here.
The Pink Flamingo Grill shares a story of revenge. Heh.