This time, however, the interloper intent on forcing a mom to go home or feed her kid on a toilet? A police officer.
Rosalyn Mizzell of Omaha, Nebraska, has a 4-month-old son, Calvin, who, like many babies, feeds on demand. He's also exclusively breastfed, which means that when he got hungry while Mizzell was attending a town hall meeting on Wednesday night, she fed him, never expecting that there would be fallout for something so simple.
A man, who was "offended" by Mizzell feeding her child, went and tattled on her to a police officer, who bravely stood up to ensure that the fragile sensibilities of the other forum attendees wouldn't be likewise offended by the sight of a stray bit of side boob.
According to Mizzell, here's what the officer said to her: "Don't do that in front of me. Have more respect for yourself and everybody else here."
First of all, wow.
Second, there's something profoundly wrong with someone whose entire job is to understand and enforce the laws of their state not knowing that the laws in their state specifically mandate that as long as a mother is allowed to be in a place, she's also allowed to pop her breast into her child's mouth and feed them, without regard to some random dude and random cop's feelings on the matter. We can only conclude that the officer didn't know the law, considering the fact that she told Mizzell she would cite her for indecent exposure if she didn't comply with her directive.
Her directive, let's remember, for Mizzell to "have more respect" for herself, brings us to this: Just because you don't respect somebody for breastfeeding doesn't mean they don't respect themselves. That's called projection, and it's positively ridiculous to do.
You can be sure that Mizzell respects herself just fine, thank you. She told the officer that she was going to take a hard pass on her request to stop feeding her hungry child, and no charges were filed against her, because she wasn't doing anything wrong.
Here's the thing: It really doesn't matter what you or anyone else thinks or feels about public breastfeeding. Forty-nine states have laws in place that allow women to breastfeed wherever they damn well choose, as long as they're authorized to be there (what's the deal, Idaho?). If something about a mother feeding her child is offensive to you, you basically have a standing invitation to rage internally and rant on Facebook, but you can't compel them to stop, and you can't enlist the police in your crusade.
Or you can, but unlike this police officer, most will likely tell you to cry some more, build a little bridge and get over it, because the mother isn't doing anything wrong.
Recognize that your discomfort is your problem and yours alone. You don't get to tell women that they aren't respecting themselves just because you're antsy about it. And you definitely don't get to write yourself a free pass to actually be disrespectful and then try to offload it onto them because OMG boobs.
As for Mizzell, she's filing a formal complaint against the lawbreaking officer, despite the stunning fauxpology she got from her, which Mizzell summarizes as essentially being, "I was offended. Other people were offended. If you wanted to breastfeed, you could have done it in the bathroom or stayed home."
Listen, if you're going to choose to be a police officer, at least have a little respect for yourself and learn about the laws you'll be enforcing. If you can't do that, maybe it would just be better to just stay at home.
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