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Bill Maher on Breastfeeding in Public and the Applebee's Nurse In

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I've never been a fan of Bill Maher. (Uh oh, here we go again, with me shocking all my readers who won't believe that I'm actually a conservative Republican.)

While I understand that liberals and "progressives" find him amusing and think the vitriol with which he attacks Bush and conservative causes is amusing, I find him unimaginative and trite. (Oh and did I mention crass?) I've had things I care deeply about insulted by him enough to not be surprised anymore.

My liberal readers on the other hand, may be surprised.

Maher talked about breastfeeding in public on his HBO show this past week and it was NOT pretty. (Nor amusing, though Drew Carey seemed to think so.)

The overall rant was that

A.) Maher shouldn't have to see a child breastfeeding when he's out in public

B.) Moms that want to breastfeed in public are lazy

C.) Breastfeeding in public is no different than masturbating in public

D.) Breasts should only be seen in public if they're on display for his pleasure

E.) Lactivists are petty little women fighting for a stupid cause (Hmm...that one sounds familiar...)

Interestingly, Maher seems to have lived under a rock for the past decade, at least in terms of breastfeeding in public. He claimed that last weekend's Applebee's nurse-in was the "first ever" nurse-in. Umm... ok. Way to do your research there Bill.

Some choice quotes from his tirade:

"I'm not trying to be insensitive, your baby needs to eat, but so do I. If I'm at Applebee's, I'm already a little nauseous. Let's not add to it!"

"Breastfeeding a baby is an intimate act and I don't want to watch strangers performing an intimate act...unless I'm paying for it."

"There's no important principle at work here other than being too lazy to plan ahead or cover up."

"It's not fighting for a right, it's fighting for the spotlight. When you go all Janet Jackson on everyone and get to drink in the "oohs" and "ahhs" from other customers because you made a baby. Something a DOG can do."

"This isn't about women taking their breasts out in public, as much as I like that. It's about how petty and parochial our causes have become. How activism has become narcissism."

"There is a place where breasts and food go together...it's called Hooters."

Want to see for yourself? Here's the clip. (Note, you'll need to "fast forward" to where there are 2 minutes and 51 seconds left on the clip to skip to the breastfeeding in public commentary.)



(Special thanks to Sara at Suburban Oblivion for pointing this out.)

My take?

Maher is the perfect example of the title he tries to thrust on lactivists. I can't see how it's anything OTHER than narcissistic to be a professed fan of Hugh Heffner and Playboy, but to take issue not only with the LEGAL right of a woman to nurse her child in public, but the very idea that mothers are willing to stand UP for that right.

In other words, it's just fine for Bill to enjoy breasts when and where he pleases, but heaven forbid a baby try to.

Apparently Bill Maher hasn't heard that breasts aren't just for selling cars anymore.

What do you think folks?

Labels: ,

  1. Anonymous noble savage | 6:58 AM |  

    A couple of the jokes -- about already being nauseous at Applebee's and breasts and food going together at Hooters -- seemed made purely to get a laugh and that's fine, but the ignorant and extremely offensive statements he made about breastfeeding women being lazy, narcissistic and 'all Janet Jackson' are puritanical and rude at best.

    I usually like Bill Maher but he got this one completely wrong. I would like to write to his show to express my opinion about that piece -- any links for where I can do this?

  2. Blogger The Lactivist | 7:18 AM |  

    Oh I have no doubt those lines were played for laughs and the Applebee's one didn't so much bother me.

    But you CAN be funny and support breastfeeding at the same thing. (Even if you love boobs in the "show me your boobs") kinda of way. I've seen Jimmy Kimmel of "The Man Show" do it.

    Anyway, only contact info I can find is the generic one for ALL of HBO, though if you use that link, it will specify that you're writing in about Bill Maher's show.

  3. Blogger Judy | 7:21 AM |  

    I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of Bill Maher, although I haven't exactly disliked him either. (We don't own a TV, and haven't had cable in over 6 years, so my pop culture influences are different than most)

    I am really disappointed to hear these kinds of comments from someone like this though.

    It brings up the interesting issues of how we see our parenting style, and how we think it is framed by our political views. I'm very liberal on most issues (although I have a couple issues where I'm not, at all - I think instead of using animals for testing we should be using death row inmates and child molesters, but I digress), and tend to assume that most people who share my political views share my parenting philosophy.

    The extreme cases we hear, of the Gary Ezzos and Pearls of the world, tend to paint conservatives as having a very different parenting style, too, even though I know from experience that it isn't always true. (And of course most people don't fall to the far end of either side - right or left - and fall somewhere in the middle on politics and parenting)

    I am always shocked when I hear well-educated, intelligent liberals attacking attachment parenting, breastfeeding, NIP, or whatever. It seems absolutely contradictory to me, and is something I really can't quite get my head around.

    And just fyi, I do subscribe to Playboy (I enjoy it, my husband never looks at it - it goes straight into my bathroom usually, lol), and I have read several things in the magazine throughout the years that have come out very strongly in support of breastfeeding. Just thought you might find that one interesting.

  4. Blogger Lesley | 7:35 AM |  

    I'm pretty liberal, but I've always found Bill Maher to be a pompous a$$, and my low opinion of him was affirmed last Hallowe'en when he dressed as Steve Irwin with a bloody piece of stingray in his chest. The disrespect was astounding.
    And I have to say, while his commentary on breastfeeding is disgusting, it's not suprising coming from him. He's always struck as being someone with an incredibly low opinion of women.
    While I watched I could not help but wonder what his relationship with his mother is like...

  5. Blogger Sarahbear | 8:05 AM |  

    I don't really dig his humor and I disagree with him on many of his views, which is one reason I never watch his show. I did think the comment about the other customers saying 'I'll have what she's having' was kinda cute and the joke about Hooters and Applebees were pretty funny, but the other stuff was just rude.

    I will say though, that it's suppose to be a comedy show of sorts (similar to The Daily Show and Colbert Report, which are much better btw). All comedy isn't for everyone, which is why there are always people getting upset when something offends them.

    Religious people are offended by a lot of comedians. For instance, Isaac Hayes, who did the voice for 'Chef' on South Park, got offended when the writers decided to do a show mocking Scientology(which is his religion). If you watch South Park, you'll see that they mock every other religion. He basically quit the show because he didn't think it was appropriate.

    People think Carlos Mencia is racist. People think Sarah Silverman is crass and rude.

    The fact is, if we took everything that offended someone out of comedy, comedians would be left with no material to write jokes about. So if it's not funny to you, it's best you stick to programming and comedians that you do find funny (generic you, not anyone here).

    If he was an evening news anchor or something, I'd be pissed, but it's a comedy show so there's not a lot that can be done about it.

  6. Blogger Stacie | 9:36 AM |  

    Well, ongoing proof that there are just as many liberal jerks as conservative jerks.

  7. Blogger Cagey | 9:43 AM |  

    Darn it! You beat me to this post. I was going to cover it this weekend, but I guess you saved me the time.

    Actually, I AM a Bill Maher fan and eagerly look forward to watching his show each week.

    However.

    I was even shocked at the breastfeeding diatribe in the New Rules segment and felt he completely went overboard. It was typical Bill Maher with his Kid/Parent Hating rants, though.

  8. Blogger Karen | 9:46 AM |  

    Wow. That is offensive. How exactly are we breastfeeding mums lazier than bottlefeeding mums???? Honestly. But use a bit of cleavage to sell something or titillate men and *that's* okay.

    [Love your shirts and slogans in Lactivist store.]

    I find it incredible that breastfeeding is and continues to be so contentious in the US and some places in Canada. We live in BC and I find the West Coast very breastfeeding friendly. But when we lived in Toronto most women (not men interestingly) I knew deemed breastfeeding animal and disgusting, which made for some interesting debates because that was before I had children but I was pro-breastfeeding. My friends who live overseas now or who have lived overseas (I'm a military brat) just shake their heads because breastfeeding is just considered so normal there it's not even an issue.

    Do let us know if you get another way for us to let Bill Maher know what a twit he is. And I agree with Lesley that he has a pretty negative view of women overall.

  9. Blogger Melissa | 9:56 AM |  

    This dingbat gives all of us Libertarians a bad name. I hate that he calls himself that, because spouting off against BF is pretty much going against his professed political leanings (as in, as long as something doesn't deny your freedom, property rights or life then the gov't shouldn't be involved)

    Too bad I don't have HBO, I don't get the pleasure of turning the TV off when his mug comes on.

  10. Blogger lisa d | 11:43 AM |  

    it doesn't seem like Bill has ever seen a woman breastfeed... this of course is the problem.

    it's unfortunate that so many millions of women and children must get sick and perish before the rest of the world learns the necessity of breastfeeding.

    at least we know that we have done something to improve the life of at least one person in this world, Bill has nothing apparently to contribute.

    where have all the activists gone.....hell, where are the comedians?

  11. Blogger tiny-dog | 12:21 PM |  

    Let me just get on the record here as being a liberal who has ALWAYS hated Bill Maher.

  12. Anonymous Holly | 12:51 PM |  

    I have to admit, I started watching the video with an open mind, thinking that it's his job to be a comedian and that he shouldn't be taken too seriously. But after watching that piece on breastfeeding, it seemed like he was making more of a statement, not just light-hearted jokes. I'm not a mother yet, but I felt insulted as a woman when he started going off about women being lazy for not preparing ahead (as if baby's must eat only at certain times planned by the mother). I know that's what he gets paid for - making people laugh - but people like him generally have a lot of influence on those who watch him. The fact that he decided to insult breastfeeding mothers did not help getting people to see that there's nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public. I find it very sad that people so ignorant have such a public influence.

  13. Blogger The Lactivist | 1:10 PM |  

    Sure, it's a comedy show and he's paid to be funny.

    But there's no reason someone can't be funny while supporting breastfeeding.

    I mean seriously, like there are no possible jokes about the lameness of people who are offended by an eating child?

  14. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:26 PM |  

    Am I the only one who actually paid attention? Bill was using something called a rhetorical device in order to address the fact that there happens to be a war on, vast public corruption, terrorism, misery, etc... Yet more Americans have been concerned in the past week with Britney's crap performance at the VMAs, Vanessa Hudgens' nude pics, and a woman's right to breastfeed in Applebee's wide open or maybe with some kind of blanket so as to not make a spectacle over your basic biological function.
    You see, he could either come on every week and end his show with the umpteenth joke about our (arguable) national quagmire, or he could find a new way to address it. We're still not a century removed from the date when women obtained the right to vote, yet there are people make the same cry of governmental oppression because a representative of a corporation asked them to have some respect for the fact that other people are eating at the same public restaurant. If you really want to make a dent here, boycot Applebee's. They'll have an open breastfeeding policy by Tuesday, but holding a nurse-in is just going to attract the wrong kind of attention, make a spectacle, and we'll forget about it next week when Howard Stern has a nurse-in live on the air.
    As to the narcissism claim, Bill Maher has always been a self-admitted narcissist, however the fact that he hangs out with Hugh Hefner on his own time isn't narcissism. It's womanizing. Narcissism is claiming oppression instead of seeking compromise. Personally I could care less and I think anyone who whines about being shocked when women publicly breastfeed is living in some Disney-inspired fantasyland, but that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  15. Blogger The Lactivist | 1:43 PM |  

    Narcissism is claiming oppression instead of seeking compromise.

    How is he not displaying narcissism by focusing on his OWN comfort over the comfort of the nursing child then?

    There's no suggested compromise on his side. He simply wants people to do what he wants them to do.

    I thought it was a pretty accurate portrayal.

  16. Blogger Eilat | 1:48 PM |  

    I, like Judy, subscribe to Playboy and think its a great magazine. They are very pro-breastfeeding. In fact, I rememeber an "advisor" letter about a man who wanted to lactate to help his wife feed his new baby. They were very in favor and gave him tips on how to do it!

    I usually find Bill pretty funny, but very self righteous and annoying at the same time. Still, his take on breastfeeding shows me that he is a complete hypocrite. He railed against the pharmaceutical companies and the lobbyists in this country in his latest stand up show on HBO. Who exactly does he think makes formula? The formula and bottle feeding culture is an integral part of our nation's addiction to pills and drugs. That he doesn't see this shows that he is all talk.

    Or maybe he thinks babies SHOULD be breastfed, but in his contempt for mothers and families and children he thinks that it should be done out of sight. "Hey moms, just don't leave the house for the first 12 months of your baby's life."

  17. Blogger JK | 5:25 PM |  

    I was just at a party where the Mom breastfed her baby for 3/4s of it. I don't have a problem with that... I'm a nursing Mom. I saw her breasts for most of the party. I'm fine with it. No one at the party minded (or said anything). I'm thankful I live where I live.

    It's a little unusal for liberal folks to have a problem with breastfeeding... Bill is being a chauvinistic jerk. I am not surprised. He is liberal, but he is a jerk. I'm a liberal and I think he's a really not a nice person. I think he's funny sometimes, but nice, NEVER.

  18. Anonymous elderberryjam | 11:01 PM |  

    Never watched this guy. I'm not bothering to watch the video either. It will just bother me. I'm a moderate, and I don't like Playboy, and I don't like men who like Playboy. It doesn't matter if they are liberal or conservative. About 14 years ago, I learned that political viewpoints don't mean squat when it comes to men and how they view women.

    I don't like Playboy because it (and other nude women mag's) contribute to the portrayal of women as sex objects. I used to be pretty open-minded about that, but I no longer am. I don't care if the magazine supports breastfeeding. That isn't what men care about when they look at Sally Fields naked. Sex is okay, but women putting themselves out there for all take pleasure in just doesn't sit well with me any more.

    Any ignorant man, no matter what his leans, loses my interest and regard when they make such remarks. But then, I don't like many comedians anyways. He's just a hot air balloon flying over, and someday, he will run out of air.

  19. Blogger Liz | 1:34 AM |  

    Bill's just an attention-seeking naughty boy looking to see how many buttons he can push with zero sense of personal responsibility for the fact that he's a mouthpiece contributing to the contemporary cultural landscape. His ratings are down so he's gleefully hopping onto a brainless diatribe against one of the media's favorite whipping-posts, the nursing mother. I'd treat it like I'd treat any other misbehaving spoiled brat acting out for attention - ignore him and his cynical attempt to raise his profile on the backs (boobs?) of nursing moms and their babies. And as the friend of a husband said in his blog, "I did at least find great humor in hearing a show-biz professional summon up the chutzpah to call anyone else narcissistic. That’s a knee-slapper."

  20. Blogger Danielle | 8:44 AM |  

    How are these comments any less abusive than the ones hardcore breastfeeders give women who fail at breastfeeding?

  21. Blogger Shay | 1:37 PM |  

    Hugh Hefner and Playboy have done great things for women and Women's rights even if some don't agree with it. I don't think we should pull them down because Bill Maher likes to go there.

    I have heard him talk before he likes going to The Playboy mansion to drink free alcohol and look at naked or next to naked women. I personally don't think he had a high regard for women. Period. I also don't think he has a high regard for parents or children. Basically anything he doesn't like is bad and that includes breasts feeding children. To him and many people like him breasts should only be sexual objects.

    As for the rest of it, I'm not surprised he's under informed. I don't think he cares to make sure he's well informed since all he does is rant anyway.

  22. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:26 PM |  

    This society is so sexualized that it is the only country in the world that thinks breastfeeding in public is distasteful or dirty, that breastfeeding toddlers is somehow sexual. If you don't think you think that way, think upon this. The World Health Organization as well as many other health organizations believe that it is best and most healthy for the child (and yes, all children in industrialized countries as well) if the child is breastfed past two years of age, even up to five or six years old. Even I have a hard time with that - why is that?
    It just shows how much we are brainwashed to think of everything in sexual terms. And its sad because most children are only breastfed up to six months to a year in this country, which is one of the number one reasons why we are so high on the list of childhood ailments, including ear infections and allergies, that other countries do not have because they breastfeed longer. So it makes you wonder about the future of this country if we are so sexualized that we believe its distasteful to give our God-created milk to our young.

  23. Blogger The Lactivist | 9:30 PM |  

    "How are these comments any less abusive than the ones hardcore breastfeeders give women who fail at breastfeeding?"

    I guess I don't see how that's relevant?

    Because one set of people are rude and obnoxious, it's ok for him to be rude and obnoxious?

    Unless of course you're new to this blog and operating under the assumption that I or my readers would support such drivel.

    I invite you to read the entire archives of the site. You won't find me bashing moms who don't breastfeed. I "failed" at breastfeeding myself the first go round. It wasn't until my second child that I was able to successfully nurse.

  24. Blogger Danielle | 2:04 AM |  

    I am not new to your site. I have been reading ever since I was pregnant and thought I would breastfeed. Before I go back and read your entire archives, try going all over the internet and reading some of the things other breastfeeding moms say about women who can't or don't. In fact, just yesterday, I read where one woman who was having problems with it state that she "wished she was ignorant like women who formula feed" just so she could give up easier and give the baby a bottle. I don't know if you yourself think this about women for whom breastfeeding is sabotaged, but the truth of the matter is is that a lot of breastfeeding moms do. If you are the minority who doesn't hold any judgement, then that's good for you. While comments like the one this guy made are not necessary in and of themselves, a lot of times, they are deserved. Now that I have had my baby and things turned out the way they did, whenever I see a nursing mom in public, I do become disgusted and give dirty looks. It's not because I really think the act is disgusting or should be illegal. I don't think that. But what I do think is that there is a really good chance that that woman thinks I am an inferior mother and that I somehow don't love my child. That's what disgusts me. Not her breast. Some of you reading this should think about that.

  25. Blogger Danielle | 2:08 AM |  

    Karen said,
    "How exactly are we breastfeeding mums lazier than bottlefeeding mums???? "

    Bottlefeeding moms are not lazy.

  26. Blogger Christina | 5:14 AM |  

    I have never really watched him, but somehow I'm not surprised by his remarks. He's never seemed like someone who really respects women to begin with.

    It amazes me that people think like this. The baby is eating. It's a restaurant filled with people eating. If we can eat in public, can't a baby? So what if the baby's food comes from a breast. If I was a vegetarian, could I request that people not eat meat at the tables around me, because it offends me? Of course not.

    I wonder how many women are actually flapping their breasts in the breeze, spinning around to make sure everyone in the restaurant gets a show, while feeding their babies? If I'm feeding my daughter, I do it without covering up, but quietly and discreetly. I'm guessing most of us do it this way.

    Some people just can't help but look (and stare), and that's their problem and not mine. If Bill gets turned on by watching a woman feed her child, or if he just doesn't like seeing the breast used for something other than a sexual means, well, he's got issues.

  27. Blogger The Lactivist | 5:49 AM |  

    "While comments like the one this guy made are not necessary in and of themselves, a lot of times, they are deserved"

    Rude and hurtful comments are NEVER deserved.

    As for the rest of your post, it's very clear that you had a difficult experience with breastfeeding and had less than supportive friends/family/online contacts.

    I'm sincerely sorry for the struggles you went through and I'm sorry that you feel so much pain over the issue.

    While I was unable to nurse my daughter, I'm one of the lucky ones who was able to pump and maintain a supply. I spent 13 months exclusively pumping for my daughter. I have a dear friend who struggled mightily to breastfeed, but it just wasn't feasible for her.

    In fact, it might interest you to know that I am the only person I know "in real life", (excluding meeting people through this blog and then befriending them) who was able to successfully breastfeed.

    I understand the struggle and while I obviously can't say I know the pain (because I was able to get milk into Elnora, even if it wasn't through breastfeeding) I understand that it CAN be quite painful for some mothers to experience the frustration and loss of something they may have wanted very badly to do.

    Again, you won't find me, or my regular readers casting stones at formula feeding moms. (In fact, many of my regular readers ARE formula feeding moms.) I have no doubt it happens elsewhere, but I can promise you that if I catch wind of a TV personality saying anything this idiotic and insulting toward a formula feeding mom, I'll be here bashing THAT personality as well.

  28. Blogger Danielle | 6:08 AM |  

    How on god's green earth were you able to exclusively pump for 13 whole months if you weren't directly nursing her? I brought up exclusive pumping as an option, and they all told me it was impossible. I am finding out more and more lies from the whole breastfeeding "advocacy" crowd every day.

  29. Blogger The Lactivist | 6:22 AM |  

    "How on god's green earth were you able to exclusively pump for 13 whole months if you weren't directly nursing her?"

    Yeah, they told me that too. Several times. I ignored them. (But ONLY because I'd had a friend who did it and I naively thought every mom could do it.) I've since had two friends who tried and neither was able to maintain a milk supply.

    That said, I've also met dozens and dozens of women through this blog that exclusively pumped.

    I know what you mean about breastfeeding advocates (and not just docs) telling you that. I was absolutely NAILED in many natural parenting forums for my "choice." (Didn't feel like a choice, felt like desperation.) I actually had moms tell me I should have tried harder, that I was lazy and that I was giving my daughter second best. Many insisted I couldn't claim to be breastfeeding because I wasn't putting her directly to breast. (In my view, EPing IS breastfeeding it's just not nursing.)

    You might want to read this post:

    Exclusively Pumping, Why Does it Get Such a Bad Rap?

    "I brought up exclusive pumping as an option, and they all told me it was impossible."

    Again, I'm sorry. There are few things more frustrating than looking back and seeing what "might" have been.

    On the other hand, I'd encourage you to work through the anger. (Because believe me, it's OKAY to be angry at what you didn't get to do.) The good thing about working through the anger is that it helps you get to a place where you might try again.

    I was bound and determined not to put myself through "that" again and planned to EP for my second from the start.

    About a month before he was born, my readers here convinced me to give it another try.

    Turns out that with the new knowledge I had and with a GOOD support system, we were able to pull it off. We're now 11 days shy from breastfeeding for a full year.

  30. Blogger Danielle | 6:51 AM |  

    Thanks. CYE in a few moments.

  31. Blogger JudyBright | 7:59 AM |  

    1. Bill Maher is a jerk. There's a difference between not being a Christian and calling Christians and religious people idiots. He has no respect for people who believe differently than him, especially religious and social conservatives.

    2. Danielle, I agree with about everything that the Lactivist has said, but just want to encourage you to not stereotype breastfeeding advocates and/or nursing moms. Being angry with someone you don't know just isn't right, and it'll hurt you more than it will ever do anything to them. Having miscarried my first child and not being able to nurse my second, I've heard plenty of stupid, ignorant, and insensitive comments. It's hard sometimes not to think, "Just screw em all."

    My lactivist friend is different, I promise. I've fed my baby formula in her presence, and was not condemned in the least.

  32. Anonymous elderberryjam | 9:27 AM |  

    There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about breastfeeding advocates. The majority of what I read is not negative against bottlefeeding mothers; but rather the concepts the formula companies promote.

    Danielle wrote:
    "Before I go back and read your entire archives, try going all over the internet and reading some of the things other breastfeeding moms say about women who can't or don't."

    That is unnecessary because we already do. Jennifer reads more than about anyone on here, I'm sure. I do a lot of surfing myself, and she still finds stuff I don't. That's why her blog is so cool. I think that since you think the majority of "advocates" say negative things, that you really SHOULD read her archives. I don't think you've read the "majority," but rather, where you have gone. Those truly looking for support find plenty of it, and it is there for you too.

    Giving breastfeeding mothers dirty looks because of what they might think is like cutting off your blood supply. It isn't a very constructive way to go about anything.

    Our culture in this country has become so accustomed to sit-com style comebacks, insults and touche statements when someone says something we don't like. Yesterday the John Tesh radio show out of Pittsburgh said that the average person complains 70 times per day. It is part of the distancing from eachother and disconnectedness we feel. It is part of a warring country's psyche, to distance one's self and villianize others, to make it easier to villianize and maybe kill the enemy, and we've become experts at it. We practice it in the smallest areas of life. That is the problem I have with most comedians in general. Most of the media reeks with this sort of negativity. We are brainwashed with it. It is why our teenagers are cutting themselves as an epidemic to try to "feel" something.

    You CAN create humor without the majority of it being insulting. It is why I believe in attatchment parenting, and talking about feelings in an honest, safe environment; and why I stick to blogs and sites like this on the internet rather than relying on major news sources for my information.

    Kudo's to Jennifer for trying to figure out where you are at and addressing that, instead of getting upset with the frills.

  33. Blogger Danielle | 10:26 AM |  

    elderberry jam,
    I hope you feel better, getting that out at me. Have a great day.

  34. Blogger Liz | 10:30 AM |  

    "Now that I have had my baby and things turned out the way they did, whenever I see a nursing mom in public, I do become disgusted and give dirty looks. It's not because I really think the act is disgusting or should be illegal. I don't think that. But what I do think is that there is a really good chance that that woman thinks I am an inferior mother and that I somehow don't love my child. That's what disgusts me. Not her breast. Some of you reading this should think about that."

    Youch. Such a harsh judgment against someone you don't know. I managed to successfully breastfeed for 8 1/2 months, with a lot of hard work and pumping. Almost threw in the towel at about 8 weeks because my son also suffered from severe acid reflux and I was losing. my. mind. His demand was all over the place depending on how much he was throwing up any day, so I was pumping all the time trying to build up reserves in the freezer. He only napped for 30 min. at a time, when he nursed he flailed his arms, pulled off just as letdown happened and got a faceful of milk that had to be cleaned up and him re-attached. And I was so anxiety ridden over the nasty looks and comments I was sure would be directed my way since nursing my kiddo discreetly was impossible without having a third arm attached to hold the cover while the other two dealt with him and my large-ish breast (and good lawd I would have passed out in mortification if I'd been told by a restaurant manager to "cover up or leave") that I hardly left the house. For months. See above re nearly losing my mind.

    I'm 11 days past due with my second child right now, a daughter who I hope and pray will be a more settled nurser and free of acid reflux. And even if she isn't, I'm working on mustering the courage to try getting out more with her - for my own sanity if nothing else. And because I don't feel it's right that we stop doing activities out together as a family with our 2 year old just because mommy has a hang-up about nursing in public.

    I really feel for what you went through - sounds like it was brutal. When we switched exclusively to formula (long story) I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people for whom the switch was simply a non-issue - it was like, congrats on nursing at all, congrats on your beautiful son, and would you like help with that bottle? Where I did encounter a lot of negative judgment, however, was in my "failure" to have a natural childbirth (may be headed that way again this time. I have the Cervix O' Steel.) There's an assumption held by some who are either uninformed, misinformed, or just inclined to judge others, that women who had a c/s delivery "gave up" or opted to take the "easy" (HA!) path of major surgery instead of the hard work of labor, yada yada yada. I was already dealing with some major grieving over the loss of my hoped-for birth experience, and the questions from so many people after the fact about did I try this or that (I tried it all), why didn't I induce (not a good option with an "unfavorable" - read fully uncooperative - cervix and a large post-term baby), etc. just made me feel worse. Like there was still something I *should* or *could* have done if I'd just tried harder.

    What I'm coming to realize is that women need to stop judging other women for our parenting choices and start unconditionally supporting each other because no matter what choices you (generic you) make, there's none of them that are easy, we're faced with a choir of dimwits (like Mr. Maher) happy to try to make us feel bad about ourselves as mothers, wives, women no matter which choices we make, and Motherhood Is F-ing Hard Work. The media try to whip up these mythical "mommy wars" between BF-ers and formula feeders (ignoring that most of us have a foot planted firmly in both camps), moms who work outside the home and those who don't, moms who strive for a natural childbirth at home and those who choose a hospital setting and an epidural, moms who have a glass of wine at group playdates and moms who abstain until their kids are 18 and out of the house (the Today show is one of the worst offenders here). Don't buy into it. In my direct, personal experience with friends (can't pick your relatives) women make the choices that are right for them and their families, they frequently make different choices than the woman next to them, and we're all pretty okay with that. You don't know what a mama's been through to lead her to the choices she's made until you've walked a mile with her diaper bag. I hope you'll think about this before you cast dirty looks at the next mama you see nursing in public - it might just be timid little me trying to get some fresh air and change of scenery in peace.

  35. Blogger The Lactivist | 10:33 AM |  

    Danielle,

    I'm not sure you read elderberry jam's post. Or if you did, you read it in a way that I'm having a hard time understanding.

    What is it about her post that you think justifies your response? I don't see her speaking poorly of you anywhere. I see her trying to point out that not all breastfeeding advocates are cut from the same cloth.

    I honestly think your bitterness is really tainting your perception here.

  36. Blogger The Lactivist | 10:37 AM |  

    Liz,

    Just had to post to say "wow" and I wish you the best on your second birth. My first ("failed" NCB in hospital) and my second (fast, easy home birth) were like night and day.

    Every birth, every baby is different.

    Here's hoping you get your dream birth and your dream nursing relationship this go round. ;) Please email me after the birth (when you have some free time) and let me know how things went. :)

  37. Blogger Mama Luxe | 10:56 AM |  

    A couple of things.

    1. I am always surprised when conservatives don't support breastfeeding...although the "public semi-kinda-not-really-nudity" aspect of it would seem to require liberal support if we are to be stereotypical about liberals, the family values aspect would seem to scream stereotypically conservative. So, support it for whatever reason you like...but it seems to me to be one of those issues that should transcend US political divisions.

    2. I am SHOCKED that a libertarian would have any issue with this. It would seem that breastfeeding would be a right, and kind of ridiculous that we even need laws to affirm that right. Unless one thinks that breastfeeding presents the sort of challenge to our civilization that some libertarians are willing to legislate, like invasion by armed enemy forces or some such.

    3. I want to respond to this.

    Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who actually paid attention? Bill was using something called a rhetorical device in order to address the fact that there happens to be a war on, vast public corruption, terrorism, misery, etc... Yet more Americans have been concerned in the past week with Britney's crap performance at the VMAs, Vanessa Hudgens' nude pics, and a woman's right to breastfeed in Applebee's wide open or maybe with some kind of blanket so as to not make a spectacle over your basic biological function.

    I have to just note that comparing nurturing and feeding a baby to Britney gossip and the star of a teeny-bopper tv series is offensive. It is also silly to suggest that a person can't be interested in all these things--unless you are meditating and on a hunger strike until our troops all come home. Remember to take vitamins and stay hydrated, 'kay?

    I would also like to make the standard response that not all babies are cool with the blanket. But I won't go into details because if you cared to you could find this out on your own.

    What I am most interested in explaining is that breastfeeding and support for breastfeeding IS a major, global health issue. On par with or perhaps more important than any single war.

    Want to save lives in developing countries? Restore breastfeeding to its former place in human society.

    4. Danielle--I'm sorry that what you have seen 'round the 'net offends you and has obviously caused some hurt for you. There are extremists for every cause. They are not defined by their particular partisanship, but rather by their zealotry. There is no need for anyone to put down any safe, valid parenting choice--those who do so have problems. Please know that though they may be vocal, they are NOT the majority.

  38. Blogger Brandy | 12:02 PM |  

    I just find it ignorant and sad. I have never been a fan of Bill Maher and this gives me another reason to avoid his show.

  39. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:16 PM |  

    Mama Luxe, I love this: "They are not defined by their particular partisanship, but rather by their zealotry." This quote really puts things in perspective for me.

    I personally am obsessed and passionate about breastfeeding but I am somewhat embarrassed by breastfeeding "zealots". It makes me sad that their passion ends up alientating the people who most need our support.

    The reason I read this breastfeeding blog more than any other is because this is not a hangout for zealots. Jen is such a pragmatic, sensible commentator who understands that alienating and judging other women doesn't promote breastfeeding.

    -Ella

  40. Blogger Jill | 2:34 PM |  

    "4. Danielle--I'm sorry that what you have seen 'round the 'net offends you and has obviously caused some hurt for you. There are extremists for every cause. They are not defined by their particular partisanship, but rather by their zealotry. There is no need for anyone to put down any safe, valid parenting choice--those who do so have problems. Please know that though they may be vocal, they are NOT the majority."

    AMEN, Mama Luxe! :)

    It really hurts those of us who are passionate about things to be lumped together with the lunatics on the fringes. Not only is it insulting to us, it's embarassing to those who do it. Please don't paint with such a wide brush, Danielle! I understand why you must be feeling bitter, really I do. But twisting your pain around onto innocent people isn't going to make it hurt any less.

    I see the "ignorant bottle feeders" comment occasionally, but I prefer to think that those women do not mean ignorant as in STUPID, they are going by the literal definition:

    ig·no·rant (gnr-nt)
    adj.
    1. Lacking education or knowledge.
    2. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
    3. Unaware or uninformed.

    Simply put, many bottle feeders might just be lacking in breastfeeding knowledge and education. It doesn't mean they're stupid. Sorry you perceived it that way.

    And as for the remarks about "second best," they are true. Even formula companies admit that breastmilk is best, and in fact, according to the WHO and Dr. Jack Newman, formula is actually FOURTH best on the list of things to feed a baby. So it's not meant as an insult to anyone, it's just stating a fact.

  41. Blogger The Lactivist | 2:57 PM |  

    "And as for the remarks about "second best," they are true. Even formula companies admit that breastmilk is best, and in fact, according to the WHO and Dr. Jack Newman, formula is actually FOURTH best on the list of things to feed a baby. So it's not meant as an insult to anyone, it's just stating a fact."

    Yes, but I think on some levels, boiling it down to 'well it IS a fact' fails to capture the real issue here.

    As someone who was told (by many mothers) that I was giving my daughter 'second best' when I pumped for it, it served as a verbal slap in the face.

    Looking back from the perspective of now having both EPed and breastfed, I know that I worked a million times harder to get breast milk into Elnora than most moms who nurse direct from the breast do.

    It was a pretty big sacrifice on my part to get it done.

    I'm not an idiot, I'm aware that nursing from the breast is the ideal, but getting breastmilk into a kid is important to. As is getting a child fed (whether breast milk or formula.)

    It doesn't so much bother me anymore, because I know I did the best I could with the situation I was handed, but it DID give me new perspective on things.

    It's the reason you'll NEVER hear me put down a formula feeding of EPing mom for any reason. Tearing people down does little to advance causes, even if it's done on the basis of fact.

    (to note, I'm not saying you are doing this, I'm just pointing out that how the words get interpreted are often quite different from how they are intended.)

  42. Blogger Danielle | 3:04 PM |  

    Thanks for saying that. I couldn't get over the dictionary definition of ignorant. That was beautiful.

  43. Blogger The Lactivist | 3:09 PM |  

    Danielle, where I come from, those types of responses are called "baiting."

  44. Blogger Danielle | 3:21 PM |  

    I know, the old dictionary definition baiting response. It's old.

    Thanks for sticking up for us "second best" mothers in your subsequent response.

  45. Blogger The Lactivist | 3:33 PM |  

    Danielle,

    When you're ready to be polite to my readers and myself, I'll be ready to engage you in conversation again.

    I've gone out of my way today on both this blog and via email to consider your point of view, to offer my sympathies and to try and help you work toward resolution.

    You seem to have zero interest in opening up your mind and realizing that not everyone out there is out to judge or ridicule you.

    I'm sorry you have such bitterness toward breastfeeding mothers.

  46. Blogger Jaime | 3:40 PM |  

    Bill Maher obviously has his priorities warped. He supports the rights of animals but not the rights of children. That's kind of creepy, at least to me.

    Love the Blog!!!!!

  47. Blogger Danielle | 3:51 PM |  

    And like I said before. that was your choice to keep emailing you back. You needn't put that on me. I'll be more supportive of breastfeeding mothers when I see them have more support for other moms, especially moms who choose to receive medical care.

  48. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:35 PM |  

    Rawwwrrrrr. Catfights are SO hot!

  49. Blogger Lesley | 4:49 PM |  

    Wow...I don't read for a day and the comments explode.
    I've just been having a very similar "discussion" with a fairly hostile mother regarding the same issue Danielle has, and I thank YOU Jenn for once again eloquently stating what I fumbled at with her.
    You've given me some inspiration for the next onslaught of name-calling and skewed logic I'll be bombarded with in her next message.
    Sigh.
    Why is that people have to think that becaue I breastfeed that I *must* be against formula? Or that because I birthed in hospital that I *must* be against home birthing? Or that because I have a family bed I *must* look down upon those who do not?
    I just don't understand why there is so much dissent amoungst mothers...aren't we all trying to do the same thing? To raise our children with love and nurturing and hoping they turn out ok???

  50. Blogger Lesley | 4:51 PM |  

    Danielle...

    Respect breeds respect. You want it, you need to start showing it.

    And you've not done that here.

  51. Blogger Jill | 8:24 PM |  

    *sigh*

    Danielle, it's clear that you're here for no other reason than to pick a fight. And that's really sad.

    Many of these commenters have tried their best to make you feel better, and all you have to offer in return is passive-aggressive attempts to goad us into acting like the evil, formula-hating witches you're convinced we are.

    To paraphrase an old quote: "Dealing with a troll is like spitting on a fish - it's best not to bother."

  52. Blogger Katrina | 3:08 AM |  

    It kinda gets my gall up a little to see folks claim that bottlefeeding mothers are ignorant in any way. I breastfed my first 3 sons for a total of almost 6 years. My fourth son was a different story.

    There are some points:
    1. You can't MAKE a baby latch properly. Some just won't do it. My first son latched like nobody's business. Second and third took a little work but did great. #4 was a chomper and nearly took my nipples off but never latched well. (Yes I used lactation consultants and LLL, plus with 6 years experience I thought I could solve this issue. Wrong.)

    2. I did pump for him for 5 weeks. The problem I ran into was having to pump at the exact same time he was hungry. It almost never failed. I was so exhausted I could barely function.

    3. Supply was never an issue as I tend to be a bit of a milk cow. No offense intended but I tend to have a lot of milk.

    4. I decided, with my husband, that #4 would be happier with a happy, sane, rested mommy and that formula would not kill him.

    I used to be hardcore about bf-ing...NO BOTTLES! NO FORMULA! Sure I could have killed myself to EP but why? Why not ENJOY our new son instead of being miserable and a sucky parent by trying to achieve some ideal?

    Yes breasfeeding is best, but I certainly wasn't ignorant in my choice to formula feed. My son is healthy and happy. And I am soooo much happier now than when I was chained to the breast pump. A happy momma certainly helps make a happy baby.

    That said, we gotta love each other and support each other's choices. We chics gotta stick together!

  53. Blogger Sarahbear | 8:46 AM |  

    Liz, your post was awesome. I especially thought the comment about 'until you've walked a mile with another mom's diaper bag' was very cute.

    Jennifer, it's absolutely amazing that you had people tell you that you were giving Elnora 'second best' because you were pumping and not nursing. I just can't believe the audacity of some people. I guess there are people out there who just have to put something about someone else down in order to feel better about themselves.

    I must say that the ONLY place I have 'met' mothers with condescending attitudes about anything were on the internet. Mainly there seems to be quite a few on the babycenter boards. In the real world, where people's true identities and flaws can be seen, people aren't nearly as judgmental.

    So Danielle, try not to judge everyone as quickly and harshly as you have been. After all, it's not very fair of you to ask that people don't think rude and hateful things about you for feeding your baby formula, and then turn right around and give a breastfeeding mother dirty looks because she 'might' be thinking things about you. Chances are she's not thinking about you. She's probably doing one of two things. Either looking into her beautiful babies face and thinking how precious s/he is or she's trying so hard to make sure every square inch of her breast is covered up so that some manager doesn't come over and embarrass her and ask her to leave.

    Your average mother is far too busy, if she's got her kids with her, to be judging another mother's parenting skills.

  54. Blogger Bjet | 9:51 AM |  

    i have started a petition to get HBO to make maher apologize. if you want to be included email your name and city to: billmahermustapologize@comcast.net

    all email will be kept private and not shared with anyone.

    here is the letter, so far:

    HBO,
    Bill Maher must apologize for his offensive attitude toward women and their caring for their babies. His “new rule” about women not breastfeeding in public, comparing it to masturbation, or his comparing women having babies to dogs is misogynistic and we expect more from him and HBO. HBO has a reputation for being intelligent, creative, and sophisticated. None of these terms define Maher’s erroneous and ignorant rant on your airwaves September 14, 2007.
    There is no reason for this type of hatred to be considered humorous and we hope that HBO will educate its public and its “comedian”. Maher should attend a class on breastfeeding so that he actually understands it role in human survival, or have Carolyn Malone, who sponsored the Breastfeeding Promotion Act, on his show.
    Does Bill put a blanket over his head when he eats? Does he remove himself to a dirty public restroom to eat? If Bill can’t control his hormonal, physical, or emotional response when he sees an inch of the side of a woman’s breast while she feeds her child then he should get some therapy. His comments are disgusting, denigrating, prejudiced and inciting of hate and misunderstanding. His promotion of misogyny should be considered a hate crime.

    Bridget Culpepper
    Portland, OR

  55. Blogger Mrs. Sara | 12:59 PM |  

    O_o

    Whoa!

  56. Blogger Nikki Stafford | 5:43 PM |  

    First of all, I too posted on Bill Maher's rant today with the utmost disgust. I only heard about it last night, and after I posted I decided to come over here to see what was being said about it. But I'm sad to see that the comments on this board that could have otherwise been constructive have instead been taken over by someone who thinks all breastfeeding moms are judgmental.

    Someone has been writing comments that have been baiting people, and Jennifer has shown an immense amount of patience on here, but I wanted to say that not everyone who breastfed did so painlessly and easily.

    I breastfed my first daughter, and had a terrible time with it. Most breastfeeding moms remember that first week with the bleeding nipples, the searing pain, the legs shooting out when the baby would latch... well, I had that for almost six months, because I'm in a very, very rare minority of women who suffer from extremely sensitive nipples that won't actually desensitize the way they're supposed to.

    I ended up in Jack Newman's office after going through hell for 2 months trying to breastfeed, and I know how you feel about the judgmentalism; I felt like if I quit, I would have somehow failed as a mother, and a lot of the breastfeeding rhetoric had made me feel that way. But on the other hand, I believe the reading materials from lactivists are important, because they force people to keep soldiering on and to keep trying, because breastmilk is SO vastly superior to formula.

    So at 7 weeks, I went to see Jack Newman for the first time (he had a long waiting list, which is why it took me so long). I went in, he sat down and looked very understanding, and I explained how much pain I'd been in, that my latch was perfect, I'd been tested for yeast, that everything appeared to be fine, so I was baffled. And his response was, "So you're just going to give up then?" And I looked at him with some surprise and said, "no... that's why I'm here. I don't want to give up." He said I sounded defeated and that I wanted to give up. And that was pretty much the attitude he gave me the entire time, that despite the pain and agony I'd gone through, I was somehow giving up.

    In his book, he has a very tiny tiny section on women with my condition, and said it's SO ultra-rare that he hates to admit it exists, because he thinks it gives women a loophole where they can get out of breastfeeding because their nipples are too sensitive. So I think he perhaps recognized that in me, and didn't want to admit it.

    That said, he got down to business and was very helpful, and gave me some hints, and made a second appointment for me to come back. He was convinced it was yeast, even though I'd been tested, and he gave me a battery of things to try. So I went home, tried them all to no avail, and was back at 11 weeks. At that point he gave me an antibiotic and sent me home. After 3 days breastfeeding was worse, if you can imagine, and then I got an email from his assistant with (no kidding) the word OOPS in the subject line, and a note saying they were supposed to give me a second prescription for domperidone because the antibiotic he'd prescribed actually lowers your milk supply, which was why I was having a terrible time. It took over a week for my supply to come back up to normal, but once the antibiotic was done, nothing had changed, so it turned out (surprise) I didn't have yeast.

    I didn't go back to him after that, but despite everything, I still recommend his book and his teachings to people, because while his methods might be harsh, his message is SO important.

    I breastfed because I believed in it. I wasn't bullied, but I know what you mean about the guilt, and I felt that I would be a lesser mom if I didn't breastfeed, but that wasn't my main reason for doing it. I did it because I believed in it so strongly. I never had another breastfeeding mom make me feel guilty; I brought the guilt on myself by reading this stuff and feeling so strongly about it.

    My daughter weaned herself at 9 months, and I was extremely sad. Despite the pain, I loved it, I really did. So many of my close friends have had babies since then, and not one of them had breastfeeding problems. Unlike Danielle, I didn't go and visit them and glare at them because they were having no problems, I was THRILLED that they wouldn't go through what I did. One friend tried breastfeeding, had absolutely no problems, but then at 2 weeks someone told her that formula would let the baby sleep longer, so she suddenly switched. I was extremely saddened because she'd been given the gift of easy breastfeeding and threw it away, but in the end I recognized that she was the mom, and this was her choice to make.

    I'm sorry that you glare at women and talk to them with such hostility, Danielle. Because despite all the hell I went through, when I see a woman formula feeding her baby, I don't think anything of it and I don't pass judgment. So it's too bad to think that when I'm breastfeeding my second child, who is due any day now, if you were to see me you'd be glaring at me with contempt when I would never offer you any ill-will.

    Thanks for writing this post, Jennifer. Bill Maher is a boob (no pun intended) who has no respect for mothers or women, for that matter. He makes it sound like every woman who breastfeeds whips her top off and stands on tables to do it. I have never seen a woman breastfeed in a less-than-discreet manner.

  57. Anonymous Abby | 7:38 PM |  

    Jen, I know we haven't seen each other hardly at all since we had babies, but you do know someone in person who successfully and almost exclusively breastfed (even at work!!!) Me!

  58. Anonymous Abby | 8:18 PM |  

    I just watched the video, and deciding not to comment based on what others said, I wanted to say that I found his comments disturbing.

    I made my husband listen with me, and he laughed at a few of the "jokes" but overall feels the same way. He's actually the one who was most encouraging to me about nursing in public when our daughter was little. He was supportive, and if anyone would have given me a sideways glance, he probably would have kicked them. (or not, but he would have glared right back)

    We both agreed that we don't like Bill Maher, but that doesn't have much to do with what the pig said. I wanted to hear it from him, as I have heard through the grapevine many other celebrity comments and rarely had the chance to hear what they actually said from their mouths.

    Sam (my husband) made a comment about the lack of research into nurse-ins that would probably offend some here, and I won't repeat, but in general it seems that political commentators don't really do that well in their research.

    I'd much rather listen to Jon Stewart, whether I agree or disagree with him, because for some reason, he seems more balanced to me. I wonder what he thinks of NIP?? Anyone know?

  59. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:08 PM |  

    My question is... when did being pro-anything become anti-something else? Yes, I am pro-breastfeeding. Yes, I was able (after a hard two weeks) to breastfeed and have now been going 18 months strong. Yes, I am modest and spent most of my time "away" from others because my daughter would get distracted at EVERYTHING including our cats meow causing her to try and expose me at every opportunity. She refused to nurse under any covering (wanted to look at and touch my face) and refused to take a bottle.

    Being a formula fed child myself (as was my mother), I felt it was important to ME to do the best I could to breastfeed. So please don't assume that I look down on those who bottlefeed. BTW how would you be able to tell if there was breastmilk or formula in the bottle anyway?

    Maybe those "looks" were from a mother like me who couldn't use a bottle (at all) and was envious of those having some time not having to have a child attached to the breast.

    And wouldn't it be great if we could all support each other in a positive light and assume the best in people? I wish we weren't so hard on ourselves or each other... there are enough of those kind of people (Bill Maher) out there already.

  60. Blogger The Lactivist | 4:23 AM |  

    Ha! Good point Abby!

    Yay!

  61. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:38 AM |  

    This is an important issue, one that I highly support, but you lost me with throwing liberals and progressives around. Why do you have to classify? Not all liberals like Bill Maher. Personally, I can't stand him and my liberal self wouldn't rather be roasted alive than listen to him speak. How is classifying those who do watch him help your cause? Or maybe that just makes you a little like him. He is using derogatory comments about breast feeding women and you are using them about someone's political choice. Hello pot...you're black.

  62. Anonymous Carla | 7:00 AM |  

    wow, what a debate (and I only skimmed it)
    Jenn, you are absolutely not the first conservative republican lactivist I've ever met.. though for some reason, I pegged you differently!

    With that said, from a Bill Maher fan (I never miss Real Time... ever) I'm extremely disappointed in last week's "speech". But again, as a fan, I'm not surprised. There have been many issues over the years in which I've disagreed with him as a liberal. His many jabs over the years about children, babies, marriage and so on is just to name a few. So this is why its not surprising.
    I'm not at all excusing it. I've already tapped out an email to HBO about it.. I just wanted to mention that even some of his fans, like myself, are not at all happy about last week's New Rules.

  63. Blogger The Lactivist | 7:12 AM |  

    Umm...anonymous, I didn't say anything negative about liberals or progressives. I simply said they tend to watch Bill Maher. (I know almost no conservatives or republicans who watch him.)

    Unless calling someone a liberal or a progressive is, in and of itself, a "slam" then I don't see your point.

    That said, I suppose I could have easily inserted the word "some" or "most" or whatever in front of it to make it clear that I understand that not ALL liberals or progressives like him.

    My bad for assuming my readers wouldn't be looking for things to be offended by. :)

    I don't have to agree with someone to like or respect them. Though in the case of Maher, I neither like, nor respect, nor agree with him. ;)

  64. Anonymous Abby | 8:42 AM |  

    In Jen's defense (though she does well defending herself) I thought it was pretty clear that she was shocked that someone who is supposed to be so progressive in his attitude, politically and socially, would be so chauvinist and Victorian about women's breasts. She wasn't condemning the liberal attitude at all, rather pointing out that clearly, Bill Maher doesn't have one when it comes to women and children. I'm quite sure that any woman who would have him would either be barefoot and pregnant, or not want children at all.

    As a conservative Christian myself, I have struggled with whether or not to use a political label, and decided that it's better to hear both sides and stick to the one I agree with, and more often than not it's not the one you might expect.

    And also, breastfeeding in general, as someone else so aptly put it, is a social and political issue more important than MANY others. If a Bill Maher can't see that, then maybe he needs to find something else to try to be funny about.

  65. Blogger Julie Pippert | 4:22 PM |  

    The things Maher said didn't strike my funny bone at all, but they did strike my Things That Chap My Hide bone.

    Maher isn't even my larger concern, though, it's some of the comments in the various blog discussions...you know, the ones that act like "it bothers me so you have no right to do it" is the SOP protocol for life.

    And that's the angle I took when I wrote about it.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  66. Blogger Tera | 4:52 PM |  

    I continue to be baffled both as to why Maher's "jokes" were funny by anyone and as to why this blog about them has inspired such a heated debate? Why are breasts so totally okay at Hooters/Victoria's Secret or in the mall/on TV to sell beer/cars/you-name-it but such a hot, polarzing issue when it comes to breastfeeding? Yikes! Needless to say breastfeeding has been happening for longer, and all mammals are set up to do it. With complete respect to mothers who cannot or choose not to, I don't see why people need to get so bothered about those who do. It's baffling to me as to why this discussion even exists or why anyone would think to make fun of FEEDING A BABY! It is a strange world.

    That being said, I have a tip about the tshirt at Cafe Press. How about a photo of a nursing baby on the front or back? It might make the point a little more clear.

  67. Anonymous S. Nielsen | 5:07 AM |  

    ..... I don't think you quoted Bill accurately ONCE .... I found your site by accident and had to watch the video when I saw it there. There are significant errors in almost all of your quotes yet you have the video right there to check for your self. I doubt Bill does all his own research for his show - if he does any - yet you slam him for not knowing this was not " the first ever nurse - in "..... people who breast feed in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks.

    S. Nielsen
    gotohal@hotmail.com

  68. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:24 PM |  

    So, enlighten us, S. Neilson, do these misquotes make what Bill Maher said OK? Did Jen and others misquote him so terribly and take him out of context so inappropriately that his entire point was misunderstood? Is he really a suporter of breastfeeding with a clear understanding of the process and empathy for how it might feel to be ridiculed, humuliated and condemed for feeding a child? Or is he really the big ass he comes across to be in the quotes, accurate or not.

  69. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:18 PM |  

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  70. Blogger The Lactivist | 7:17 PM |  

    The change I want to see is the day when people realize that it's just as silly to ask my child to eat with a blanket over their head as it is for me to ask my mother to eat with a blanket over her head.

    Thus, I WILL be the change I want to see by continuing to feed my child when, where and HOW he likes to eat. :)

  71. Blogger The Lactivist | 7:18 PM |  

    (Sorry, deleted the post before my last one because it contained a swear word that I don't allow on my site. Here's the edited version.)

    Almost all of these comments echo one underlying pattern:

    "you give a hoot about what people think about breastfeeding."

    It has already been established that everyone--including Bill Maher--is cookoo about boobs. [snip]
    So who cares what they think?

    Do you believe a sit-in will change anything?

    Just breastfeed your children. Wherever you want, for as long as your child wants.

    If the cops show up, leave. They don't want to arrest you.

    If Applebees employess harrass you, throw a blanket over the babe. You should always have one on hand for cold or sun purposes anyhow.

    And forget about it.

    Be the change you want to see.

  72. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:28 PM |  

    Funny thought... if it weren't for the fact that our breast were made for producing milk, we wouldn't be as well endowed as we are... we'd probably be as flat chested as men and not have to...

    ... worry about breast cancer (as much)
    ... wear bras and other constricting garments
    ... be able to go "shirtless" on hot days
    ... not work at "hooters"
    ... not have men view them in a sexual manner

  73. Anonymous Anonymous | 12:22 PM |  

    I was totally insulted by Bill Maher's insensitivty towards breatfeeding in his last segment. I am a mother of a young daughter, and an attorney. I cannot even begin to tell the horrors of what I went through at my old LAW FIRM when I sought to pump at work. The fact that this country is so behind the rest of the world when it comes to an issue so basic and fundamental to the welness of all humans - still amazes me. So, what we know is this: women can expose their breasts if it is in the interest of sexuality and the pleasing of men. But when it comes to feeding and nurturing their babies (by the way, the REASON why women have breasts in the first place) that is just plain wrong and oh wait - immoral. Bill needs to give it up - he is doing a great injustice to the liberal and democratic movement. I would expect such blubbering from the republicans - mainly a member of the Bush administration.

  74. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:00 PM |  

    What I think? I think you are pathetic, uptight and totally unintelligent.

    "Maher shouldn't have to see a child breastfeeding when he's out in public"

    Bullshit. It was a joke, and what he said was funny to someone who isn't uptight.

    "Moms that want to breastfeed in public are lazy"

    Nonsense.

    "Breastfeeding in public is no different than masturbating in public"

    Nonsense - you clearly didn't see the program, or you really have the QI of a dead rat.

    It's uptight narrowminded censorship minded people like you that are the cause of wars and death and destruction.

    He cracks a few jokes and that is all you freak out over, how about having a government who tortures people and start wars. You are no better then they are.

  75. Blogger The Lactivist | 7:45 AM |  

    Well gee. You sure put ME in my place with your thoughtful and constructive debating techniques. ;)

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