On Monday. Jessie Maher was shopping in a Target store in Torrington, Connecticut, when her baby decided it was time for a quick snack. So, like women have been doing since the dawn of time, Jessie had a seat and started breastfeeding her daughter. Everything was fine until an older man took offense to something that wasn’t any of his business and started to berate the mother.
Jessie describes the scene in a Facebook post that has since gone viral:
Anybody know this asshole who verbally assaulted me in target this morning while I was breastfeeding my baby? (He’s wearing an Avon shirt)
Before the video started rolling he looked at me and said (very angrily), “can’t you do that somewhere else?… That’s fucking disgusting.. You are nasty” (he said a few other things under his breath) I responded with, “I am feeding my baby, and I have the right to do it here…walk the fuck away..leave me the fuck alone” He responded with, (as he’s walking closer and closer to me and getting louder) “you are fucking disgusting…you are fucking disgusting…you are fucking disgusting…you whore” he said a bunch more bullshit that I can not remember ….by this point EVERYONE came to my defense! Target staff and shoppers… Then I started rolling the camera….
What happens next is the kind of thing that gives me hope for the future of the human race. Instead of just ignoring a grown man trying to bully a mother feeding her baby, several customers start telling him to leave her alone. At one point, the now enraged prude marches up to a smaller man in an attempt to intimidate him. He fails and the guy walks away laughing to alert the staff, leaving the wannabe bully fuming.
At this point, the deeply offended individual demands a refund (because he’s offended, darn it!) while a woman physically puts herself between Jessie and the still-unidentified creep. The woman consoles the audibly upset mother by telling her, “You shouldn’t be ashamed of feeding your baby, okay? He can go the other way. This is a beautiful moment right now, if he doesn’t like it he can go.”
By now, several Target employees have appeared and patiently escort the obnoxious customer, who seems confused as to why they’re making him leave, away from the woman. It probably has something to do with the fact that Target’s policy is that women can breastfeed wherever the hell they want.
Here’s the video from Jessie’s FB page:
As of this writing, Jessie’s video has been seen over 5 million times with an overwhelming amount of support pouring in. Jessie herself posted in support of other women going through the same kind of senseless discrimination:
Mamas have opened up and told me their stories, they’ve said they stand by me, they understand what I went through because they too have been in public with a screaming baby…some run home and deal with the screaming baby, some hide in a bathroom, some sit down and cover up with a blanket, some sit in a hot car. This is all in fear of the reactions we get, wether it is a dirty look or the extreme situation that I endured yesterday. I choose to openly breastfeed my child when ever and where ever she happens to be hungry. I choose not to cover up because I am not ashamed of what my breasts are intended for. I stand with all mamas breastfeeding, bottle feeding, covered or not. It is hard enough being a mother, period. We need to build new mothers up not tear them down. After all they are raising the next generation of people in this country. Let’s be kind, let’s be gentle. Let’s teach mamas future mamas that they have rights when it comes to breastfeeding! Let’s normalize breastfeeding, because that is exactly what it is, normal, nothing more nothing less.
We as a country need to get over the creepy puritanical nonsense that makes the female body an object of public shame and we do that, ironically, by publicly shaming those that can’t simply let a woman feed her baby in peace. They’re nipples. Everyone has them. Get over it.
Featured image via screencap