September 22, 2006

The Times Square, They Are A-Changing: Uproar Over Slightly Visible Breast

People have such short memories. Time was when the whole economy of Times Square centered on catching a glimpse of a breast in some "out of the way" place.

Now, a mom from Brooklyn is claiming Toys R Us employees harassed her for breastfeeding in the store. The company claims their employees were just pointing out the availability of a nursing lounge downstairs.

What's the real story, you wonder? Is it possible that tourist-weary wage slaves in a Times Square megastore might be--oh, I don't know--surly and rude and less than fully versed in New York's nursing rights?

And is it possible that the mom--oh wait, what's that? She's a "high ranking official" in La Leche League? If that designation even makes sense [does it?], isn't this exactly the kind of grand media moment la Generalissima Lactivista might have been waiting--or looking--for? Misión alcanzada!

I'm guessing the truth lies somewhere in between. In the mean time, the folks at Gothamist are having a furious time commenting about it.

Uh oh, Toys R Us goes up against breastfeeding moms
[gothamist via dt reader eric]

8 Comments

I believe her rank in the LLL is Sturmbannführer.

Ah, jeebus, here we go again. Breastfeeding is great, blah, blah but why is it a hassle to use the accommodations provided for that purpose, I wonder? Next thing we know, people will upset cause they're not allowed to just #1 and #2 wherever they want, even if there's a bathroom right there.

Seriously, Americans in general are frighteningly becoming even more self-absorbed. I shudder to think what the attitudes of the next generation is going to be.

Yes, Fiona, it certainly moves the conversation forward when we equate breastfeeding with waste elimination. Bravo for your insight!!

[There's already enough indignation in Times Square to go around. The truth is, neither the "blah blah blah" condescending posturing nore the sarcasm "move" anything forward. But then, very little is actually ever *meant* to move this discussion forward, so much as allow people to assert their own reaffirmed rightness. -ed.]

..."la Generalissima Lactivista"...
Glass houses, Greg?

"And is it possible that the mom--oh wait, what's that? She's a "high ranking official" in La Leche League? If that designation even makes sense [does it?], isn't this exactly the kind of grand media moment la Generalissima Lactivista might have been waiting--or looking--for? Misión alcanzada!"

Greg, the next time you decide to dress down others for condescension and sarcasm may I suggest you wait until nightfall so that you might better see your own reflection in the windows of your big glass house?

[fine, and apologies. I guess unhelpful sarcasm is easier to spot in others. But I still feel a difference in skepticism about the incident and the way it was reported and the way we discuss it (Which, admittedly, could also be interepreted as me thinking I'm still "right," so go figure.)

What I had meant by the post--and the quote above-- was that even without breastfeeding, NYC has no shortage of customers from hell OR rude salespeople, so in a sense, an incident like this is non-news. But then when early reports of the incident don't have the mom ID'ing herself as a "high-ranking leader" in LLL, it seems to change the equation. Either she was omitting that fact--which would make me question her credibility or motives--or the media was. OR describing her like that is misleading because LLL just isn't organized that way. I don't know. I do know that even as a BF supporter, I sometimes find LLL's statements or strategies annoying. And if an LLL "leader" thinks that seeking media attention for confrontation is a useful strategy, I will question it. Even if it doesn't turn me off to BF, my opinion was never in play to begin with, so it's kind of irrelevant. Plus, I'm a man, so I'm tangential at best.

Does it matter how this incident really went down, or if it was possible to resolve it more effectively, or if it was reported badly, or if it was staged or exacerbated and exploited or reported really badly? Or if it was being exploited for a lawsuit settlement vs to "send a message" or further some cause?

All this seems different from characterizing someone's argument as 'blah blah blah' or not just pointing out the issues with comparing breastfeeding to other bodily functions. -ed.]

didn't I just say that?

ummmm .. shouldn't there be a picture of Uma here too?

FWIW, I read it was the woman's mother who was a LLL leader, not the nursing mom herself. I wasn't there, but my feeling is that if security was called, it was not to "point out the availability" of anything but the door.

And Fiona has clearly never spent 5 minutes in ToysRUs with a 3-year-old and a hungry baby. I can't possibly imagine why anyone would rush to the "accomodations provided". Those rooms are always sticky and depressing and always as far as possible from where you are at any given time.

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