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Not Exactly a Grand Slam, Denny's

Breast-feeding    mom    plans     protest

ASHEVILLE – A 28-year-old mom who claims she was harassed while breast-feeding her son at an area Denny’s is planning a nurse-in protest.

Crystal Everitt said she was discriminated against when she was asked to cover up while breast-feeding her 1-year-old son by a manager at the Denny’s on Patton Avenue on Sunday.

The stay-at-home mom is now planning a nurse-in protest at the Denny’s at 1 p.m. Feb. 22. Everitt says if management from the restaurant offers an apology, then instead of protesting mothers will enjoy lunch while nursing their children at the Denny’s.

If no apology is offered, mothers will protest the restaurant, holding up picket signs and breast-feeding their children.

Rick Pate, regional director of operations for the Denny's restaurant chain, said Everitt was not told to leave but was asked to conceal herself or move to a more private area.

“In this particular case, this guest was exposed in a manner that was causing discomfort toward other guests to the point of them complaining to management and leaving the restaurant,” Pate said, reading from a prepared statement.


North Carolina law allows breast-feeding in any public or private place where the woman is otherwise authorized to be. 


OK, folks, here we go again. For the record, here is what North Carolina law books have to say on the subject of public breastfeeding:

(b)       Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breast feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.  

So, here we have, yet again, a mother being harrassed in a restaurant, of all places, for the simple act of feeding her child. Lovely. This story made me wonder: for every mother like Crystal Everitt, who's willing to stand up, make a stink, call the media, plan a protest... how many others are quietly complying with bullies who think breastfeeding is indecent and have the gall to ask a nursing mother to stop what she's doing to cover up, move, or leave? How many are unaware of their rights under the law, or are simply unwilling or unable to subject themselves to the kind of scrutiny and abuse that going public with something like this invites?

Because Crystal Everitt is getting slammed, all over the internet. In blogs and comment sections of news stories, people are criticizing her morals, her character, her parenting, her clothing, even her choice of restaurants. That much scrutiny has got to be draining. And all the while, her detractors are missing the most important point of the story... she was within her rights under the law. It's a simple as that. But that's the way it goes when it's a woman's rights getting run over in our society -- everybody starts looking for all the ways she may have been "asking for it", totally ignoring legalities and rights.

So here are the FVC's (Frequently Voiced Complaints) and my responses to them.

1.) She wasn't being discreet!

She doesn't have to be. Look back at that law up there... there's no clause that says "as long as she's discreet". Why is that? Well, because for one thing, discreet is in the eye of the beholder. For some, you could be nursing under a burka, and it still wouldn't be discreet enough, as long as they know nursing is going on in the same room.  And the level of discretion that's even possible varies with each mother and baby pair. A large busted woman may show more than her A cup counterpart. The mother with the squiggley 18 month old may show more than the mother of the calm three month old. It's all relative.

2.) But my mother/sister/wife/ex-roommate's brother's cousin's girlfriend's BFF breastfed, and she was always discreet!

Bully for her. See above... discretion is relative. And no, I don't mean "should live up to the standard of whatever your relatives did."

3.) Why couldn't she just use a blanket?

Any number of reasons. Maybe she needs to be able to see to latch the baby on. (I know I do.) Maybe the baby won't eat with his head covered. (Many won't. Would you? Besides, babies like eye contact with the mother while eating.)
Maybe it was hot. Maybe mom just  doesn't feel like shouting to the world, "Hey, I'm BREASTFEEDING here!" (A blanket draped over your upper half tends to make that statement.)

4.) Well then why not go to the restroom?

Because eating in a bathroom is gross, and anyone who suggests it is a moron. Next question.

5.) What about a more private location in the restaurant?

If the mother desired privacy, she'd have asked for it. She wants to be left in peace where she already is. And she doesn't have to move. So why should she?

6.) But what if my children see that?!?!? (Seems to be frequently asked by parents of teenage boys)

Then this would be a great time to explain to them what breasts are actually for. And to all those parents of 15 year old boys, I understand that you're overwhelmed with the hormone rollercoaster you have in your house and are probably not thinking clearly, but let me clue you in: he has seen a breast before. If not up close and personal quite yet, at least in the Playboy he has stashed in his room. So why not take this opportunity to teach him some respect for them?

7.) But it was a female that approached her, and she was asked nicely to cover up/move/leave!

"Nice, polite" harassment is still harassment. Females can harrass too (Not sure why, but I keep seeing people defending Denny's because, "they sent a female to talk to her." So?)


Take a valium/prozac cocktail and go lie down. You don't belong at Denny's anyway.

And my personal favorite for this go round:

9.) She set them up! She knew what the law said. She went there hoping they'd say something so she could make this big fuss!

First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing that there is a law protecting you. Many, many women carry copies of their state's statute on public breastfeeding with them when they go out with their babies. Why? Because they know things like this happen! Knowing you have rights and excersizing them is not "setting somebody up."
Next -- and this is going to be an unpopular statement -- even if what she had in her mind that day was along the lines of, "Gee, I hope the staff and management here gives me a hard time and calls the cops so I can make a big fuss about the rights of children to be breastfed in public"... So what? Big deal. She was still within her legal right to nurse at that time and place. Denny's staff and management still screwed up. That's like saying, "Oh, that man who got busted for solicitation was set up! That undercover cop dressed like a prostitute shouldn't have been on that street corner!" Um, no. that's not how it works.  No matter what her motivations (and I am not, for the record, saying that they were anything more complex than eating a Grand Slam and feeding her baby, I'm just giving a what-if) motivations do not change the fact that her actions were lawful -- no matter how much of her breast she exposed -- and their actions were harrassing. Period. The end.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
Great entry!! I will never understand the need for people to bother a breastfeeding mom because they are offended. Don't look. It's that simple. She is doing something completely legal. It's not up to anyone on how she chooses to nurse, where or when.

Feb. 13th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
You forgot one
Why couldn't she just pump and bring a bottle? If you replace too many feedings with pumped bottles than you risk reducing your milk supply. I have two acquaintances who stopped nursing before they wanted to due to low milk supply after giving too many bottles. Secondly, many babies do not take bottles. Finally, a mom shouldn't have to go through all that much extra work
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: You forgot one
Ooops, you're right. Thanks for adding that for me! :) (I probably forgot a couple, really... it's hard to keep track of all the lousy reasons people have for objecting to NIP.)
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Stories like this drive me nuts!! I nursed my daughter EVER PLACE! Walking around Sam's Club with my boob half out (cause I thought at the time pulling my shirt down instead of up worked better! haha) Luckily I have never been harrassed.. or even really given a second glance. It's just so sad that people in our country are such PRUDES! It's a BREAST people!! BABIES have been eating off of them since the beginning of TIME! How is this offensive?! What happened? In the 70's Mr Rogers showed a NIPPLE while a baby was latching on.. an actual nipple! Now 30 years later people think it's a crime to nurse in public! SICK!! Thanks for bringing this to attention of the mainstream media Crystal!!
Feb. 13th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
thank you!!
thank you writing this. i am going to link moms to it when i send out the organizing email for our local nurse in!
Feb. 13th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
You rock!!
I just think this blog made my WHOLE day! Love it, couldn't be more happy, I would attend a nurse in in a nano second!!!
Feb. 25th, 2009 08:56 am (UTC)
The first thing I did was write Denny's and let them know how wrong they are.
Feb. 17th, 2013 12:32 am (UTC)
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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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