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September 17, 2007

for the dogs

oh, bill. I have to say, i never liked you much. I guess I'm just suspicious of smart guys who don't seem to like smart women. But still, I never expected this. And Ceridwen, who watches you every week, felt truly betrayed. Apparently none of your bright young writers learned much about breastfeeding up there in Boston. Why should they, since it's a subject roundly dismissed by anyone who isn't directly faced with lactation. But a little homework would have been helpful. If someone had researched, you could have saved yourself the vitriol of many. Look, we know you're not into the kid thing. That much is clear. It's one thing to prefer your own relationships unencumbered by the burdens of reproduction, and another thing to publicly seethe with derision at those who choose to litter the world with their offspring. If you consider procreation a narcissistic act, fine. Say that, instead of foisting the blame on women who are fighting for their reasonable, legal rights: rights which are too often still challenged, no thanks to people like you. Your rant was bald misogyny, and it told us a lot more about you than we wanted to know.

Bill Maher on public breastfeeding, from YouTube (skip to middle at 2:59):

by rebecca at 11:08 AM
in breastfeeding


Bill Maher was right. He didn't say women couldn't breast feed in public. He said they should cover up. I breast fed my son and I wouldn't have even considered doing it without covering up.

comment by Jan at September 18, 2007 4:37 AM

Personally, I think discretion is a good idea in the interest of general decorum, but I don't think a cover per se is always practical. Both my babies were upset when i put blankets over their heads while they nursed, even though I started from the very early weeks trying to acclimate them to the idea. But whatever your opinion on cover or no, Maher's tirade crossed the line over to demeaning and nasty. I don't care if muckraking is his job. The real concerns of mothers are not a joke.

comment by rebecca at September 18, 2007 12:45 PM

I've read a few articles in response to Bill Maher's remarks and they all focus on how great breast feeding is, insinuating that Maher was arguing against it. He never said that women shouldn't breast feed. He simply stated that it should be done in private or that women choosing to do it publicly should cover up. Sure it was done with a sensationalistic slant, but try not to forget you were watching a comedy show… you know… the kind of show meant to get a laugh. Anyway, there are a lot of things that are "good" and "natural" that society dictates we do in private, i.e. sex, taking a dump, changing your maxi pads... To me, asking that breast feeding be considered private is just common sense, and the fact that people consider themselves "activists" for this cause just hilarious. Seems like a bunch of idiots with too much time on their hands grasping desperately for a cause. I would ask those people to just pick up a newspaper and find something a little more worth while to spend their time defending. There's plenty out there.

comment by Dirk at September 18, 2007 2:49 PM

As the Bill Maher "comedy show" appreciator here I'll say, sure it's supposed to funny and sometimes is. But I sit through segments about the care and well-being of DOGS on his show quite frequently. No jokes from Bill when it's comes to Man's best friend. He even had the head of PETA on the other week just to be sure people understood the important connection between the care of animals and things like the environment and war. The part where Bill said "cover-up" didn't surprise me THAT much. We've heard that argument many times. And it certainly seems like a nice compromose and for many it really is. But it's complex for reasons Rebecca suggested. Some babies kick the blanket off. Also, it does suggest that breastfedeing is shameful or obscene. And that suggestion is enough to keep millions of women from breastfeeding-- truly the squeamishness and weirdness about breasts really is a reason many women stop breastfeeding (despite doctor's orders). So, while, yeah, we do all want to be discreet, we still need to stand up to the "just do it on the back of the bus/in the closet" argument. Because it's DISCRIMINATION. That's why we put up a fight. Also, Bill/Dirk etc, why dont' YOU stop making an issue out of this? The only reason "lactivists" are "fighting" is because our legal rights are being threatened. You, in other words, started it. I also have a hunch that breastfeeding mothers (clearly invested in the future of our country, since breastmilk is a DIRECT investment in said future) are probably more likely to be supporting causes like the environment and ending the war than most.

comment by Ceridwen at September 18, 2007 4:00 PM

Like Chris Rock, Bill Maher is hilarious and on-point when he doesn't talk about women. Chris Rock's rant on marriage made me squirm. But Maher's rant on breastfeeding was just plain ugly. He seems very threatened and very angry when he talks about women. WHat is it about funny guys and women? Come to think of it, What is it with the tired misogyny of the stand-up circuit? Were these guys bullied in high school? Rejected by the cheerleaders? What gives?

This angry attack on breasfeeding is repulsive on so many levels, most of which have been raised throughout the blogosphere. but it is also upsetting because it comes from a comedian whose shtick is to rail against religious fundamentalism and American prudishness as the enemies of freedom, individualism (and fun). This otherwise liberal-cum-libertarian now seems to be advoating an American in which lactating women either stay cloistered at home or come out wearing some kind restrictive covering. Gee, sound familiar? Burkhas anyone?.

For a guy who gets his best laughs at the expense of hypocrites, Bill Maher has proven himself the biggest hypocrite of all.

comment by catrin at September 18, 2007 10:32 PM

"Dirk" is trolling over at Suburban Oblivion, too. He must be the REAL idiot. I can't imagine what he thinks of himself. LOL

Great post. Mine's up as well if ya wanna have a look. (Posted Sunday with a follow up Monday.)

comment by VDog at September 18, 2007 11:08 PM

A few of the things he said were pretty ugly, to say the least. But he's a second rate comedian trying to get laughs right? At any rate, I don't see nursing as this dirty secret-but I also don't think it's unfair to ask that women at least try and cover up. Of course babies kick blankets off, I've seen it-why not just put it back on? It is unfortunate that (cheesy cliche' coming) in our male driven/run society breasts are viewed sexually for the most part-but I seriously doubt that it's going to catch on where we have women everywhere whipping out their breasts and nursing in line at the bank. Remember the lady who argued that she had as much right as a guy to go topless in public? She did, and she won. But really, I just don't see many women ripping their tops off and heading to the corner store. Just my humble opinion.

comment by issues at December 5, 2007 8:53 PM

SO SAD!!! So sad that you people on the USA feel like breastfeeding is something bad that needs to be covered up!!!! I am so glad I live on a small 3rd world country!! I cant believe you pleople think that the image of a mom with her baby on her breast would be something "dirty"!. I live on a 3rd world country, a beutiful country, I breast feed my daughther whenever and wherever I want without neededing to cover up or feel ashamed, it is beautiful, natural and females have done it since we were chimps. So bad you guys, that are supoussed to be the ones asking for your rights dont even understand the magic of breastfeeding.

In here nobody looks at me weird or stares at me, because is NORMAL to breastfeed your kid in public, they are eating!! I would like you guys to cover your face when having lunch!

God! I am so pissed right now.

comment by Adriana at December 12, 2007 1:46 PM

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