this is fascinating. who knew that breastfeeding at work could hold such political implications?
from the article:
For those with autonomy in their jobs — generally, well-paid professionals — breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator. But for lower-income mothers — including many who work in restaurants, factories, call centers and the military — pumping at work is close to impossible, causing many women to decline to breast-feed at all, and others to quit after a short time.[emphasis mine]
It is a particularly literal case of how well-being tends to beget further well-being, and disadvantage tends to create disadvantage — passed down in a mother’s milk, or lack thereof.
why is this interesting to me, since these boobs of mine will never fill with milk? because it's a great example of how class privilege gets expressed (heh) in our culture. it's more than an academic exercise; it's two different realities for women who are in similar nursing situations. these women all have breasts, milk, children and need but only one set has access to the equipment, the time, the privacy. and because of this difference, based on class, there are health care implications for both of these sets of children (and their mothers.)
it's all linked, when you look at it closely.
i wonder what would happen in that law firm mentioned in the article if one of the assistants used the lactation room provided for the lawyers. would she be forbidden? and are the women with privilege even aware that there's this dichotomy? or do they even care? i'd care. a lot.
read the article here: On the Job, Nursing Mothers Find a 2-Class System - New York Times