Oh, hell no, Short Pump Town Center Mall. Ashley Cooper isn’t budging from that bench.
In a week of stunning public-relations fallout (helllooooooo, United Airlines — how’s your stock doing today?), you’d think maybe companies across the U.S. would be a little more hands-off, a little more sensitive to the diverse humanity that keeps them profitable.
This time, it’s Short Pump Town Center Mall that really needs to get its security guards on the same page as most of the rest of the 21st century. Mall guards harassed Ashley Cooper — a very chill mother of two, including one nursing infant — and demanded that she stop breastfeeding her baby unless she went into the designated “nursing room” at the mall. (That was already occupied. Because, hey, there’s one. So attentive to mothers’ needs!)
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But Cooper knew her rights and calmly refused to leave her spot on a bench in a quiet corner of the mall. She told guards, “In the state of Virginia, I can breastfeed anywhere I’m legally allowed to be.” And she continued breastfeeding her 8-month-old baby — and began live-streaming the encounter on Facebook. How d’you like them apples, Short Pump Town Center Mall? (Seriously bad PR move, you guys. Get with the program.)
In the video, appalled bystanders approached Cooper to offer their support and ask if she needed assistance. Nope. (In fact, Cooper had told her husband to stay in line to see the Easter Bunny with their 3-year-old. She’s got this, people. Everyone stand down.)
This video should be suggested viewing for all nursing moms as a primer in breastfeeding rights — and refusing to be intimidated. May the Ashley be with you.