So now we have one group brandishing feminist pitchforks and yelling, "it's her right, this is why women hit obstacles in their professional lives!" (discrimination) and the other side sticking their noses in the air and huffing, "it's unprofessional" (which they frame as common sense).
Maybe AU could've solved the issue by posting signs like these in the classrooms?
I'm not a, uh, lactivist (that's the term, right...) I don't think. I probably don't want to breastfeed in front of the whole world. But I still think I side with the pitchforking feminists. Here's why: despite my post the other day on how the pro-life movement isn't defined by our feelings on government-mandated charity, I do think there are policies and attitudes that move us towards a more pro-life culture that do not touch directly on abortion. That's not to say that you have to embrace these ideas in order to call yourself pro-life, but more that it might help to consider creative ways to transform culture towards being more pro-woman and pro-child.
I think this is one of those cases.
Rosie wore a button-down just for breastfeeding purposes, obviously.
The medical establishment finally has gotten something right and recognizes that breast is best (something God knew from the beginning, but since doctors think they're God they sometimes get confused about natural law) - and the Church encourages this. The Church also recognizes the incredible value of women in the workplace (see especially section 4 of that letter): that women ought to be encouraged to use their God-given talents to enrich the world. But sometimes, being a mother and having a job conflict. In these cases, it might be a good idea to have some flexibility so that women feel supported in their decisions. This doesn't mean that all women can breastfeed at work, necessarily; for some jobs in particular it would be disastrous (parish organist comes to mind...now THAT would be multitasking!). But it does mean that if a situation like this arose, the University could shrug it's shoulders and say "it happens." She took her child to work, once, for extenuating circumstances, and while the child was there, it needed to eat. Shouldn't that just be the end of the story?
There's some speculation that this lady did it for show. Sure, that's possible. But the principle can be discussed nonetheless. If we really believe that women should be part of the workplace, and we really believe that children should be breastfed, then maybe we need to craft policies that recognize this reality (there was a good post on this a few years ago at the ever-wonderful Blacktating). Women can't be separated from who they are biologically; we can't say we want women's brains, but not the rest of their bodies. This is the feminism that is stupid: respect women because we can act like men! No, respect women holistically by restructuring some aspects of society to value what does not have a price tag. If we say we want women to be able to have families and work, simultaneously, then we need to recognize that the workplace will have to change. Because we can't make our boobs detachable.
My inspiration is Italian Parliament member Licia Ronzulli, proudly wearing her baby while attending a session of Parliament to vote.