background to why the Delta nurse-in
Amy wonders why the Delta nurse-in was supported, while we currently are not calling for one for 24-hour fitness.
I will detail my role & experience with several nurse-ins – The View NYC June 2005, Toys-R-Us Sept 2006, Delta Nov 2006.
Re; The View - this had been brewing for years. There had been countless incidents of disparaging remarks against breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public. For years, moms across the country had been writing to The View to complain and ask that this stop. With the pregnancy of Elisabeth, the frequency and depth of these negative comments had increased. Amongst the entire breastfeeding on-line community, the animosity towards breastfeeding on The View was well known, and even “normal” breastfeeding moms (non-activists) would have been heard these comments while watching the show.
Several incidents in the spring of 2005 (including Babs plane incident, and Elisabeth starting her baby on a bottle and having everyone cheer her) led to the point of frustration where moms on MDC started talking about a Nurse-In. At date was set, and at that point, Ashley stepped in to do the on-the-ground planning since she lives near NYC, and there needed to be a media contact person. I was following this discussion, and since I had a lot of media experience, organizing experience and connections in the breastfeeding community, I helped strategize the event and write the press kit, with Ashley. We handled all the media releases, and set things up so that it was well-run and 5 other cities were able to participate also. The planning did take about 2 full weeks out of our lives, however – we’re talking 12 hour days.
RE: Toys-R-Us – I thought this was significant and offered my help, because the incident had been well-advertised, and a complaint had been filed and accepted by the New York ACLU, which again was significant.
RE: Delta – The most important reason I felt comfortable supporting this – was because the Human Rights Commission had accepted her complaint and were investigating it.
From a distance, it is very difficult to judge the particulars of an incident, and the credibility and ability of the mom involved. Any incident involves a lot of he said/she said, and this is very difficult to investigate via the Internet. There are crackpots, and although it has never happened in my experience in being an online lactivist, there is always the possibility of someone faking or exaggerating an incident.
When doing a nurse-in, part of the objective to is generate media interest, in order for it to be successful. (if you held a nurse-in and no one knows about it – can it be considered a success?) Like it or not, the woman involved will become a part of this media interest, and most likely will have to conduct interviews and be able to answer difficult questions from the media, and from the general public. A mom can prove her ability to handle this, by doing the steps prior to the nurse-in. By doing the phoning, letter-writing, hiring of a lawyer, etc it shows she has the perseverance, commitment and intellectual ability to handle the pressure of being the centre of a nurse-in.
Of course every mom deserves to have her breastfeeding rights defended and for us to act in solidarity with her, regardless of her speaking ability or personal resources. But the reality is, a nurse-in becomes a media event and she will become a spokesperson for breastfeeding women.
Emily Gilette had shown her strong commitment to follow through in her complaint. She followed all the right steps. The Human Rights Commission would not have accepted her complaint unless people more local than I (and with more knowledge of the law than I) had investigated it, and deemed it worthy. And the press release that Emily’s lawyers has done, gave us an immediate “leg-up” in getting our Nurse-In rolling. And it was a pretty severe event, with significant tangible results – she was actually removed from the plane. People can sympathize with this – this really disrupted her family’s life. She wasn’t just asked to move to another table.
I am NOT saying that we will never do a Nurse-In for this 24-hour incident. BUT Dr. Crisp needs to follow the proper channels first before some of us will commit our personal time and energy to this.
I have a strong belief in following my gut – and it has served me well so far – whenever I supported a Nurse-In, it has turned out far more successfully than what I had dreamed of. Personally, I feel like there is one more BIG nurse-in, in me. But I have to be patient, and wait for the right time. It will come, and we will do GREAT THINGS. But this is another aspect of using the media, as we do with Nurse-Ins - each one really needs to be more successful (in some way) than the previous one.
It would look really bad for us to start calling Nurse-Ins, and have less people show up than what we expected. I recently heard of Nurse-In that had more anti-NIPers show up than supporters. That must have been a frustrating situation, and disappointing for all involved.
I hope this background helps you understand better where we are coming from.