Boobs on a Plane
June 21, 2012
by Matt Villano
Even now, in the wake of the infamous TIME cover from last month, it turns out some people still have issues with breastfeeding on airplanes.
The latest incident, reported earlier this month by friend and colleague Harriet Baskas, concerns a Virgin America flight attendant who claims she was fired for asking a mom in mid-nurse to cover up. In a nutshell, passengers allegedly complained about the mother’s exposed breast, the flight attendant asked the mom to put a cloth over it, and the mother and the husband went ape.
Say what you will about the attendant herself—turns out the woman once was on a reality television show, so I’m skeptical of her motives regarding anything that gets her attention—but IMHO, the real story is the fact that fellow passengers were actually “offended” by a nursing mom.
When are people going to get with the program? We are mammals. We nurse our young. Sometimes we have to do this in public or quasi-public places. It’s not such a big deal.
I say this as a rational human but also as the father of a child who still eats from boob. At numerous times on our current Hawaii trip, Powerwoman has had to nurse R in situations that were less than intimate. R is of the age now where every little sound distracts her, so she pulls off unexpectedly. This means at least 236 people in the state of Hawaii likely have caught glimpses of my wife’s breast.
Does this warrant a freak-out? Does this make her a nudist? Should some hotel security guard (or other rule-enforcement authority) swoop in and tell her to cover up?
I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but the bottom line is this: We, as a society, can’t have it both ways. If most people are OK with models prancing around in their underwear and celebrities accentuating their, um, assets, people need to be OK with breasts serving the biological function for which they evolved, too.
Airplanes are no different from restaurants, libraries, resort swimming pools and other spots; when the kid’s gotta eat, the kid’s gotta eat. If a prudish someone gives traveling moms guff for breastfeeding on an airplane (or anywhere, for that matter), this dad encourages giving it right back—and then some.