Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Double Shot Update

If you are on Twitter and don't live under a rock, then you've probably seen http://www.minnesotajo.com/2010/08/what-not-to-do-during-world.html and the 'tweet heard around the world'. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click the links (in order) to see my original blog post and then the news story that accompanies it. (One of my tweets is quoted in the story. I won't lie - I squeeeeeeed when I saw that.)
Sadly, Brian the owner of The Double Shot has not redeemed himself. Instead, he went on the offense and basically said that we would not defend his rights to NOT have breastfeeding in his place and that we have no concern for any rights but our own. ("WE" being the breastfeeding moms of course.) He did say that he allows breastfeeding at The Double Shot but the message was likely lost in the shuffle of his other comments. (I'd like to make clear that I'm only seeing the part of his statement that the news station aired. I have no idea if there was more to the statement and if so what was said in the statement. If there was more I'd sure love to see it.)
I sent multiple tweets to him, basically begging him to try to make this right, giving him ideas on HOW to make it right and I even offered to buy and send him an International Breastfeeding Symbol sticker for his store window to show that he does not discriminate against breastfeeding but have yet to hear back.
In the course of this whole situation, I've had the opportunity to 'chat' via Twitter with some of his customers. They are staunch defenders of Brian as a person, assure me that he's NEVER refused service to someone who was breastfeeding and would not do so and let me know clearly that what he said was in jest and completely taken out of context. According to my sources, the woman who 'inspired' the tweets was in fact a regular customer and the whole situation was a joke. The offending tweets were said jokingly and directed at this regular (breastfeeding) customer. The customers/friends of Brian's shared their frustration with me that he's being painted as a horrible person when he doesn't deserve it. They also express frustration that only one side of the story is being heard.
I'm watching this unfold on Twitter and have been an active participant. I won't lie, I got pretty fired up. My LEGAL rights as a breastfeeding mother were potentially being denied and BY GOD I wasn't going to stand for it. I put up with too much crap in the way of dirty looks, being told that I can't 'do that here', being made to feel bad for only trying to do what was best for my children. I was not going to allow some jerk to tell moms that they couldn't do what they had a legal right to do to take care of their babies!
Brian became the representative of all of the people that made me feel uncomfortable. Brian became that grandma that made rude comments in the doctor's office waiting room when I was trying to nurse my newborn and feeling completely inept because I was still a rookie at it and the blanket kept slipping. Brian became the clerk at Babies R Us who asked her coworker loudly if I was 'allowed to do that' even though I made sure I stayed covered. Brian became the restaurant manager that asked that I go nurse in the restroom. Brian was the reason that I cried over and over because all I wanted to do was FEED MY BABY and it seemed that I was surrounded by people who thought it was inappropriate.
Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one. The lactivist mothers on Twitter went on high alert. Some have made valid points about the legality of his statements. Some have been respectful and have sent him links with information about breastfeeding and have tried to educate him. Unfortunately, a lot of the moms have gotten pretty out of hand. It seems it's always easier to let the claws out when you are in front of a computer screen.
My thought is this - I disagree STRONGLY with his statements. I am NOT defending his actions. Having said that, I will not be one of the ones who is hurling insults. I've done what I can do to educate. I've tried to help him understand how hard it is for nursing moms. I'm convinced that his views are based on truly just not being able to put himself in the position of someone who has gotten the crap that we have gotten as nursing mamas.
I truly hope that he's learned something from this situation and that he will treat breastfeeding moms with a little more respect in the future. If nothing else, he's learned that Twitter has a long reach and he will take care with the kind of jokes he makes.
If anyone sees this and chats with Brian on a regular basis, let him know that one nursing mama is willing to go to battle on his behalf. All he needs to do is acknowledge that he screwed up with the tweets. Sometimes (especially when dealing with women) the best thing a guy can do is apologize and just leave it at that. No excuses, no 'let me tell you why I'm right' - just an apology.
Probably wouldn't hurt to offer breastfeeding moms a discount for awhile either...


Veronica said...

Oh, you know what? People who are mean to breastfeeding mothers, just trying to do what's best and take care of their babies make me MAD. I nurse my son in public, just WAITING for a comment, because they are messing with the WRONG LADY. And the next time around, if you ever need help, just give me a call. I'm always happy to help.

Nichole said...

Brian is an absolute schmuck.
I was sickened by his tweets and if I thought that anything that I could say to him would change that, I would try.

But, from reading his stream, I can see that he has no remorse. He is a sad, narrow-minded fool.

I wish I lived closer so I could feed my baby in his store, sans cover.

Lara said...

Well Said Jo. His apology was hardly one, and even if he was joking, this day in age, with the amount of people who are constantly "plugged in" you just can't say things like that. And the "oh, I was joking" defense, even if you really were, does not fly either. If he had joked around and said, that no Asians were allowed in his shop, or no hearing impaired people, or no people who wear purple flip-flops, those comments would be no more tolerable than the one he actually made.

The attitude that breastfeeding is gross or offensive is unacceptable, and I personally am 100% committed to doing everything I can to educate and help change the culture of our country. It is not okay to treat breastfeeding mothers who want to feed their babies in public as lepers. Ever.

jen said...

i live in the tulsa area and on monday, another mother and i nursed at woodland hills mall in support of the peaceful protest against a radio station (106.3 WORD in south carolina) whose morning host made rude comments about NIP. no one saw anything, and a woman SITTING NEXT TO ME, had to look 4 times in order to be able to tell that i was breastfeeding and was a part of the demonstration that she wanted to join. and she's a breastfeeding mother!

i dare anyone to follow me around in public and try to get a glance at my boob. unless you are sitting on my lap, i can guarantee you won't see any and i never cover.

and whose rights trump whose? the rights of nosy people to oggle me in public or the rights of my child to be nurtured and fed?

Sarah May said...

Hear, Hear!
Breastfeeding mothers will be and have the right to be angry with all of those who speak against their right to feed their children.
I breastfed all four of my children, I am proud that I did so, as it is medically shown to be the healthiest choice.
So if I feed my child in public, as any bottle feeding mother can do, I expect 100% respect and support from anyone I come into contact with.
Sadly this is not what I always received.
The issue of course is, that the breast is seen by the Brian's of this world, as a sexual object. Which of course, is just wrong in a feeding incidence.

I had a horrible experience while feeding my first baby, aged 10 weeks, in my OWN HOME, a peeping tom, watching through the window. When I spotted him, he ran away, breaking some glass as he left. It disturbed me for a while. However, I felt it important to stand up for the rights of the breastfeeding mum, and fed in public whenever necessary.

I'm glad to say, I think that people are more accepting now, than they were a few years ago. But I do think we need to push a bit more, so that the Brian's in this world fall down and their very annoying voices just aren't heard any more.

BLHess said...

I loved this post....not because I feel sorry for "him" but because you articulated my feelings exactly! I believe a lot of nursing moms feel this level of frustration, and when someone says something like this even "in jest" using social media, the strong reaction should really be expected. Even if the person it was directed towards is fine with it, I think that this is another VERY strong example of someone not understanding just how far reaching a comment can be when they post it on the internet without thinking about the ramifications. He definitely was not smart for posting something like that (hasn't he heard about the internet being "forever"??). His business will likely not suffer, but I would like to think that he would at the very least make an actual apology to anyone he may have offended instead of the pseudo apology he offered up. I definitely think it is wrong for him to be a target of hate, but at the same time, when someone does something "like this", and followed it up "the way he did" , it really opens the floodgates of anger for every proud breastfeeding mama who has been the target of those misinformed and misguided clerks/managers/old busybodies . I don't feel sorry for him, but I really hopes he learns something from this whole thing and that he really thinks twice before every post he makes on behalf of his business in the future.