Breasts are the most essential parts of a woman’s body. Media company and the showbiz industry does not bat an eyelid when it comes to showcasing women’s breasts on TV’s, newspapers, billboards, and magazines. But, ironically, they can still be a tough sell when it comes to breastfeeding in public. And that’s what South City Mall in Kolkata wants us to believe too.
Is it a Shameful Act?
Women have been breastfeeding around the world since time immemorial. However, several taboos are surrounding the same. I recollect watching a social experiment on Youtube wherein two women were breastfeeding their respective child. This experiment made me feel numb. Men stared at them with eyes wide open, while women gossiped amongst themselves, looking at them with utter disgust.
The South City Mall Incident:
There might not be any particular law or order in place for this specific issue. But it needs to be heard. Just like the recent case in South Mall, Kolkata. A woman, who on the lookout for a private place to feed her child, was left with a bitter taste in her mouth. She recommended the mall’s social media team to ensure essential amenities such as a changing room and a private space for breastfeeding newborn children.
However, she didn’t expect her suggestions to come back to her like a double-edged sword. The South City Mall’s management responded but in a misogynistic way, asking her to do her ‘chores’ at home and to ‘plan’ feeds accordingly. It wasn’t becoming of what is known to be among the more popular malls in Kolkata to react like this. It also tells how people continue to look at breastfeeding as a criminal offense.
You can find the Facebook thread here.
The insensitive comments harm the thought process of the present generations and at the same time send across a wrong message to the future. Although several people slammed the mall’s boorish behavior, calling it misogynistic and cheeky, it got me thinking how narrow a person’s thinking can be? The woman was asking for privacy, and the mall management thinks privacy is only when you breastfeed at home.
The movement has now led to #boycottsouthcitymall trending, but not many are sure how they can avoid going to what once was their favorite mall.
What Does the Law Around the World Say?
In several countries around the World, breastfeeding in public is legal and protected by the law. A few of the statues under the law are as follows –
- Breastfeeding in public is not a CRIMINAL offense
- Your area may have additional law, over and above the existing ones, to protect you
- You will have extra protection in certain places
- You can nurse whenever your baby’s hungry
- There are several gears and tools available in the market that make the process a whole lot comfortable.
It’s perhaps something that the South City mall authorities need to understand. Major malls in India, from places like Bangalore, have a separate area for mothers, where they can breastfeed their child. South City Mall though seems they aren’t that interested.
What to Do If Someone Assaults You When You’re Breastfeeding?
If you feel harassed, here are a few ways by which you can punish the perpetrator –
- Avoid threats and try to stay calm. If the assaulter gets physical, call the police.
- If a co-employee or colleague indulges in the same, approach your management and get things sorted. Remember to keep records of your conversation.
- If comfortable, post your experience on as many social handles as possible. This will let the world know about the actions of the assaulter and will act as an effective recourse.
Everybody needs a little therapy sometimes to release oneself from the stresses of life. Malls exist to cater to these needs. However, while serving the general public, they must be aware of the amenities required by people from all walks of life.
As far as the title is concerned, is breastfeeding really a sin? No. Do we need to open up our minds and cut down on the narrow thinking? Definitely!