I’ve been casually following the debates surrounding the topic of mothers breastfeeding in public in the U.S. I say casually because it isn’t something that affects me personally, but is a frequent topic on websites that center around women and feminism, so I read the stories but don’t generally get worked up about it. But I just read a story over on Bustle that really hit a nerve. I have never been to that site before, so I don’t know if it typically publishes this kind of garbage or if it is a fluke. The title asked “Are breastfeeding curtain on Chinese public buses pro-woman or anti-feminist?” I took the bait and clicked. The article is about how a bus company in Zhejiang Province installed curtains for nursing mothers who wished to use them. There really isn’t a story here. Mothers are not forced to use them, some women appreciate them, others just don’t use them, so…I got nothing.
The part that pissed me off, though, was where the writer, Aria Bendix, said, “In a climate where public breastfeeding is often met with dirty looks and occasionally being asked to leave a restaurant or store, what does it mean that women are encouraged to hide behind a curtain in order to feed their children?”
It’s pretty clear that Bendix has NO FUCKING CLUE what is going on in the world outside of a few buzzy news stories in the U.S. In China, there is no anti-breastfeeding climate. Women are allowed to breastfeed their kids whenever, wherever they want and no one treats them with disdain. The only problem with breastfeeding in China is that the rates are too low because of a culture that believes formula is better and most new mothers work. Almost anywhere you see kids, you will see a mother breastfeeding and no one gives it a second thought. It’s a baby, and it’s eating. No one cares.
Aria Bendix, you need to step back and realize that just because a few shitty Americans have a very narrow cultural view of something does not mean people on the other side of the world have similar beliefs, issues, or problems. You should learn more about a culture before you impose your erroneous, predetermined understanding on it and hold it up as click bait.