Target Employees Defend A Breastfeeding Mother After She’s Verbally Attacked
Earlier this week, Jessie Maher was shopping at a Target in Collinsville, Connecticut and settled down at the store’s cafeteria area so she could feed her 1-month-old daughter. All was well until an angry man buying food inserted himself into the scene. “Can’t you do that somewhere else? That’s fucking disgusting. You are nasty,” the aforementioned angry man allegedly yelled at her, according to Maher’s Facebook status recounting the experience. He also went ahead and called her a “whore,” because apparently, even in the most maternal of contexts, female nipples are still inherently perverted sex objects. Thankfully, however, staff members simply weren’t having his sexist bullshit, and Target employees quickly defended the breastfeeding mother.
“I am feeding my baby, and I have the right to do it here… walk the fuck away… leave me the fuck alone,” Maher reportedly told the man, who proceeded to tell her she was “fucking disgusting” and a “whore.” According to Maher, at this point, “EVERYONE came to [her] defense! Target staff and shoppers,” and she began to take a video of the exchange, which was initially posted to Facebook but has since been deleted.
One customer told Maher, “You shouldn’t be ashamed of feeding your baby. He can go the other way. This is a beautiful moment. If he doesn’t like it he can go.” They then addressed the yelling man, saying: “Then don’t look, okay? I’m here to protect her.”
Said yelling man proceeded to demand a refund because the sight of a mother taking care of her baby apparently ruined the beautiful, natural experience that is buying food at a Target cafeteria. Considering Target employees reportedly stood by Maher’s right to publicly breastfeed and the man was walked out of the store by a Target employee, I don’t think he got one.
As terrible as gendered harassment is, Maher managed to use her experience to send a positive message. “The only way we are going to eradicate this behavior is to put it out there and show this is happening,” she told The Hartford Courant, referring to the man’s harassment. “It’s unacceptable that a peaceful woman, especially with all the stuff that has been going on, the awful hatred going around, this man thought it was OK to attack a peaceful women feeding her baby.”
And she makes a good point. From disturbingly high rates of gun violence, to widespread poverty, to Donald Trump being this close to the White House, there’s no shortage of dire, serious issues to give a fuck about, so why waste your energy harassing “a peaceful woman?”
Additionally, I’m a strong believer that female nipples aren’t inherently sex objects to be classified as nudity while men can casually stroll through local parks and Target stores topless. It shouldn’t be up to men like the one who harassed Maher to selectively choose when female nipples are “fucking disgusting” during breastfeeding and when they’re “sexy” in pornography.