Not too long ago, I wrote about how I was seeing so much value in Twitter because of the people I choose to follow. One of the highlights of my Twitter feed has been Dr Sarah Hörst, a Planetary Scientist at Johns Hopkins University.
Sarah is an inspiration, and I enjoy her tweets tremendously. She tweeted recently that she briefly left Twitter, only to return to be faced with renewed abuse from repulsive examples of our species.
Reading tweets like this leaves me feeling a little more disgusted with Twitter (the company). Despite all of Jack Dorsey’s assurances, regret, and promises, incredible people like Sarah feel like they should leave the service because remaining on Twitter means exposing yourself to relentless attacks and abuse.
I keep hoping for alternatives. I still believe that something like Mastodon is an answer but, for that to work, it needs to have the sort of community that Twitter still delivers.
I have this sense that I still need to use Twitter because the people I admire and want to follow are there, even though using Twitter increasingly leaves me feeling like I’m giving up part of my humanity in the process.
Juliet Thompson sent me an update about her campaign against United Airlines after she was harassed for breastfeeding her baby on a flight recently. She said I could share it with you.
You may have read my post about 10 days ago titled “Breastfeeding trolls” about Juliet Thompson who was harassed on a United flight when she was breastfeeding her baby. If you haven’t, here it is:
Juliet since emailed me with an update after she read my post which she said I could reproduce here:
I wanted to write and personally thank you for publishing my content on United and breastfeeding. I sincerely appreciate it.
So this is how it’s going.
The other day I launched a hashtag campaign #MonsUnitedAgainstUnited this is a rallying call for all pro breastfeeding advocates around the world. Focusing on more then just my experience and raising awareness that a change is what needs to take place in our society.
The next day united wrote me a letter of apology for what had happened. I will be writing a response in the days to come and I will make this available to you.
Where before I was set on taking legal action, now I’m hoping to settle out of court. My request is a complete policy change from the loose regulations that are now to a stricter pro breastfeeding and child friendly airline, that offers assistance to families and not a $14 gift vouchers and a “see ya later”, that doesn’t kick a mom and her toddler off a plane etc. etc. My view is that united needs a serious boob job in this department. They’re becoming notorious for mom shaming and it’s time to shape up. Together we can make it happen.
I need your continued help with this. As women and men, as mothers and fathers, as people, this is our challenge together.
Thank you for your continued support of our protest. It means so much to me.
This isn't a war about myself, or over only my bad experience, but it's for all the other women who have come before and that will come after me. I want this court case to make a change, I long to see mothers and fathers and children looked after on flights, assisted by the cabin crew and airline staff and not talked down to or pushed aside like unwanted baggage. These things 👆🏽 have got to change, if we don't change it then who will? and if not now then when? These stories are heartbreaking and sadly enough, they were all completely avoidable. Putting myself in the shoes of these moms, I'm spurred on in my decision to take legal action against United airlines. And maybe you don't agree, good- keep scrolling. I'm speaking to a generation of moms that want the freedom that this country has promised them, that want their kids growing up with no shame or perversion of basic things, of anything. "All civil liberties go hand in hand and when one goes the others are weakened." That's the reason I am not willing to let this go. Over the last 2 weeks I've read so many comments on this subject of breastfeeding in "public", mom against mom, gross stuff, bad stuff, sad stuff. It's time that moms make a stand together. Airlines like @united need to come to a basic conclusion, a commitment: families that travel with us (United) are to be looked out for, helped, cared about- not talked down to or shamed or bullied. And then you, #United, need to make all the steps necessary to insure that stuff like this 👆🏽 never happens again. An apology won't suffice. I don't want to hear that the stewardess "didn't know" about your breastfeeding policy or how to clam down a verbally abusive passenger … Does she not know how to open the emergency door either? How long does this list go? And ultimately it's your responsibility, United. It's time to be a big man, to face the facts and change the policy for good. You haven't called us back United, I know you must be busy, losing bags and all… But we have a voice and we're not afraid to use it, moms let's unite. For ourselves and the many generations after us. #MomsUnitedAgainstUnited #changethepolicy #breastfeeding
Thankfully, women breastfeeding in public doesn’t seem to be much of an issue in the parts of Israel I tend to be in although, like most of the world, I imagine there are communities where women are victimised if they feed their babies in public.
I don’t think this is the last time we will see a story about a mother being victimised for feeding her baby in a public space. At the same time, I hope that we will continue to see more and more support from those mothers’ communities that drowns out the breastfeeding trolls.
Photo credit: Breastfeeding by Nicolas Michaud, licensed CC BY NC ND 2.0
Humanity was pretty much made possible by breastfeeding so why are people still disgusted by it?
I’m still amazed that breastfeeding in public is still a controversial topic. I just read a post in Scary Mommy titled “‘Go Tell Her To Put Some Clothes On’: Breastfeeding Mom Harassed On United Flight” about another mother who was harassed on a flight because some troll was deeply offended by her discreetly breastfeeding her baby.
Somehow it is 2016 and despite the fact that it is legal for women to breastfeed, uncovered if they want, women are still being harassed and shamed for feeding their babies in public. That happened to one mother who was quietly nursing her baby on an airplane this week, and she was so upset about the experience that she posted about it to Instagram with the hashtag #MomsDontFlyUnited.
Sure, it is 2016 and you’d think we have evolved our sensibilities to the point where this is not a problem (maybe, just look at how much support Trump has and you may be forgiven for thinking we have regressed). At the same time, breastfeeding isn’t a new thing. Humanity was pretty much made possible by breastfeeding so why are people still disgusted by it?
If anything, the United aircrew should have told the passenger who had a temper tantrum about Juliet Summer breastfeeding her baby to behave, not ask Summer to cover up. If you want a little more context:
… no skin was actually visible below her collarbone, so she assumed everything was fine.
Not that this should matter but it just highlights how crazy the passenger’s objection was.