One British poet has eloquently described what so many women feel while breastfeeding in public, perfectly summing up the double standard surrounding breasts in our society.
Most anyone who has breastfed in public has experienced some form of discrimination. Whether it be an awkward comment or an uncomfortable glance, we’ve all had that split-second moment when we’ve wondered if we should cover up.
British poet Hollie McNish penned the piece while sitting on a public toilet after her then six-month-old fell asleep following a breastfeed. She titled her poem “Embarrassed,” as it describes the truly horrifying lengths that women go through to ensure that others are not left to feel uncomfortable around a breastfeeding mom.
McNish expresses disgust over having to use “discretion” to feed her child. She writes:
“But after six months of her life sat sitting on lids,
sipping on milk, nostrils sniffing on piss.
Trying not to bang her head on toilet roll dispensers,
I wonder whether these public loo feeds offend her?”
The poem goes on to question the double-standard that we set as a society for women. While breasts adorn magazine racks and billboards, women are continuously shamed for using breasts to feed their babies.
McNish alludes that the formula companies must enjoy watching the way in which women are treated around public breastfeeding. Speaking for all the women who have stopped breastfeeding due to the lack of societal support, she writes:
“And I’m sure the milk-makers love all this fuss.
All the cussing, and worry, and looks of disgust.
As another mother turns from nipples to powder,
Ashamed or embarrassed by the comments around her.”
McNish worked in collaboration with Director Jake Dypka to bring her piece to life. Apparently, her work has struck a chord with many. In less than a week on Upworthy, the video has had close to one million views. McNish originally published her poem in 2013 and has been viewed over 1.4 million times on her YouTube page. Check it out here: