Texas Students Support Public Breastfeeding

A duo of Texas college students have created an ad that supports public breastfeeding.

Many consider breastfeeding in public pretty taboo. Well, not the boys at the University of Texas. They’ve launched a controversial ad campaign supporting the right to breastfeed in public.

When thinking of potential places to eat, a public restroom isn’t as appealing a location as some may think. Unfortunately many nursing mothers are exiled here because their public breastfeeding is ‘uncomfortable’ for others around.

Johnathan Wenske and Kris Haro, juniors at UNT, created this campaign called “when nurture calls” as a class assignment, receiving a lot of attention. They created three posters depicting women in a bathroom stall as they breastfeed with taglines like “Table for 2” and “Bon Appetit.” These ads ask the question “would you eat here?” to support bill HB1706 in Texas, which protects mothers from harassment and discrimination when they breastfeed their children in public.

Inspired by a 2011 story of a woman who was harassed in a department store for breastfeeding, the creatives decided to shoot young mothers but not as a means to shock viewers. By seeing breastfeeding from the perspective of moms forced to nurture an infant in a toilet stall, people might see that their comfort is costing another’s discomfort.

Support and criticism about these posters have been widespread with more than 2,200 Facebook comments on the campaign. While critics argue that breastfeeding in public is seen as trashy and exposes too much, supporters retort that it is a natural process and “if you have a problem with it, the problem is you’re staring.”

The Texas bill introduced by state Rep. Jessica Farrar died in last year’s legislative session but Farrar intends to reintroduce the idea in January 2015 with the help of this campaign reigniting the discussion.

Laws in 45 states and the District of Columbia give women the right to nurse in public. However, in many cases, the legislation does not include an enforcement provision that would allow the mom to take legal action against a person who harasses or discriminates against her. Go figure.

Howard Davidson, Arlington, MA


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