Bare Your Boobs In The Air! Like You Just Don’t Care!

September 12, 2008

Yes, I am still going on about my boobies. Such are the risks of reading a blog written by a lactating mother: I can and will subject you to my reflections on the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding. And this WestJet debacle? Falls into the category of trial.

WestJet has begun responding to the letters that so many of you have written on my behalf – no, they have not responded to me nor been in touch with me directly – and the gist* of their response is this:

Dear Unhappy Person,

Please to accept this form letter that we have cut and pasted from the form letter that we sent out when the last unhappy person complained about our ‘cover up your icky nursing boobies plz’ policy on in-flight nursing. Note that we have not even bothered to change names in these letters, such that they refer only to the last incident and not to the one about which you complain. We are paying no attention to this most recent incident, as we believe that we adequately explained ourselves the last time – we know that some people find boobies dirty and offensive and we are concerned to ensure that those people are kept comfortable, which is why we urge nursing mothers to cover their nasty boobies while they nurse on our planes – and have not bothered to pretend otherwise.

Thank you for flying WestJet! Where federal and provincial human rights codes do not apply!

Yours,

Random WestJet Owner Who Is Assigned To Deal With Annoying Customers Who Are Probably Communists And Also Maybe Perverts, Wanting To Show Their Boobies Like That.

Which, you know, makes me angry.

So now I want you to send them letters. Angry letters. Contact information is at the bottom of the original post here. And/or blog about it/write about it/pass the story along. This just sucks – again, pun only loosely intended – so much, for all of the reasons that I’ve outlined in the past.

I’m just so sick and tired of this. I just want to be able to nurse my baby without being confronted by society’s stupid issues about boobs. I want society to get over those issues, at least when it comes to nursing boobs. I want to feel empowered when I nurse, not shamed. And I want my daughter and my son – all our daughters and sons – to see that that’s how it should be.


F*ck the blanket.

* The above is my translation of their letter, which is the exact same letter sent to people who complained about an incident that occurred last month – right down to the name of the person involved.

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    { 120 comments }

    Double Agent Girl September 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Erm, aren’t bared boobs legal in Ontario?? WTF is everyone’s problem.

    wherewiller September 12, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I was just thinking Ontario Human Rights Commission – http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/pregnancy – and then I thought – you were on the flight, which provincial jurisdiction would it come under? Yeah, you probably have to go with the CHRC. I am not a lawyer but I am a bureaucrat who has some experience and I would totally help you out.

    nomotherearth September 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Love the T-Shirt. Want it. Where?

    How About September 12, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    HBM, file a human rights complaint and then CONTACT THE MEDIA. (The complaint would be a good “hook” for them). I would try the CBC, The Star, maybe the Globe.

    tif September 12, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    i LOVE that picture. and screw them in the ass. in their mother’s ass. i can’t believe they said/did/form lettered that.

    Don Mills Diva September 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Oh no they didn’t!

    I can’t wait to get that response – I will rip them a new one.

    Anonymous September 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I love that picture! My daughter always feeds her baby like that. I love it!

    As for a response, I have not yet received one.

    Booba Juice September 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    It happens all too often, I am going to link it to my blog, and write about it. Let me know if I can do anything else…and good for you standing up for what you think is right. I have been nursing for over three years now. I tandum nurse my three year old, and my three month old. And people are always sticking there noses where it doesn’t belong…every woman has a right to nurse her child when and where they want. They complain about boobies feeding children in a beautiful and loving way, and yet ad’s regularly put hafe naked women up all the time…its a double standard, that needs to finally be addressed and dealt with.

    ChurchPunkMom September 12, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Dear Prudy Narrowminded WestJet,
    I wiped my ass with your form letter. Change your policy.

    Thanks.
    Another Pervy Lactating Mom with Big Nasty Dirty Boobies.. Wanna see??

    How’s that?

    V-Grrrl September 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Ma’am? Oh Ma’am? Your daughter’s diaper is SHOWING in that picture! Would you like a blanket for her? We need to respect the delicate constitutions of perverts and pedophiles and whacked out religious people who might be offended. I’m just sayin…

    ; )

    ChurchPunkMom September 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Oh.. and I will be blogging about this (actually just added my own story of discrimination against boobage yesterday on my blog..).. and perhaps sending along a lovely piece of correspondence with the fine and dandy powers that be at WestJet.. just need to reorganize my thoughts to where they resemble something other than a long string of immature profanity, wall-punching, and floor stomping…

    Karen September 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    In addition to contacting WestJet directly, it would help if we could also target their bottom line. I noted on their website that they sell advertising in their inflight magazine UP! through Redpoint Media Group.

    I’m in the states and it doesn’t seem as if there is a copy of the magazine available on-line, but if someone were able to get a copy and list the companies advertising in the magazine, we could then target letters objecting to WestJet’s response to this issue to the major advertisers urging them to pressure WestJet for change or withdraw their advertising dollars (of course cc’ing WestJets Board of Directors).

    blissfullycaffeinated September 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Unbelievable. I haven’t received a response to my email yet. I may actually wipe my ass with it — if and when it arrives in my inbox. I’ll print it out first, of course.

    Mamalooper September 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Did blog about it and will email Westjet. Want the shirt – does it exist?

    Katrina September 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I got a response and they didn’t even change the name in the form letter! They also stated that they have “no policy on breastfeeding.” Welllll why did the FA offer the blanket? you know that crap is in the training somewhere.

    Gah, it makes me so angry!

    Elisa September 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    How dare they?? I am really pissed off now. I just wrote an e-mail and sent to all my mom and grandma friends living in the US, including the text of their disgusting response and a link to your blog and asking for letters and e-mails of protest and even an actual boycot, thank you. Ooooh, the clueless bastards have angered the wrong beast – behold the power of the mommy blogger network!!! (insert evil laugh here)

    Auds at Barking Mad September 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Having just weaned my 2.5 year old, I can completely empathize with you.

    When the Little Imp was only about 6 months old, there was an issue with a local Victoria’s Secret asking a CUSTOMER, a CUSTOMER who had been trying on bras no less, and who then sat down, in a CLOSED dressing room to nurse her baby, to please take her baby elsewhere, perhaps the family restroom located at the other fucking end of the mall, to nurse as they didn’t allow nursing in dressing rooms which may be needed for customer access.

    OH YES THEY DID!

    Our local LLL group got together and after thousands upon thousands of letters written to VS company headquarters, we staged a nurses in, in front of the VS at the mall.

    It was all very tateful. But there wasn’t a blanket in sight. It was the first time I left the house without my hooter hider and for once I stopped being so goddamned self-conscious about doing something NATURAL!

    So you’d better believe when I read this post, I immediately started writing.

    I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

    FUCK THE BLANKET!

    Princess Hippopotamus September 12, 2008 at 3:54 pm
    Mandy September 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    This is all just so unfortunate. I breastfed several times on WestJet and Air Canada without incident. I just took it for granted… hmmm… airlines beware! You’ve pissed off a huge segment of your flying population.

    Karen September 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I am feeling one of those roars of epic destruction coming on! Corporations are so…so…so aggravating. (Of course aggravating doesn’t even cover it, but if I don’t tone this down, I’m going to start growling and my kids downstairs might hear and think I am yelling at them to clean up. Humm…which maybe isn’t a bad thing…)Anyhoo, will totally be blogging this when I get home from a bus stop run, and I adore Karen’s (other Karen) idea for targeting their advertisers. So for now, here are some awesome boobie pictures to tide you over and an accounting of my own personal “run in” with the stupid, stupid man.

    http://tinyurl.com/578k4q

    Ms. Moon September 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I cannot believe the world hasn’t moved on with this one. Almost TWENTY years ago a stupid, ignorant security guard in a mall told me that nursing my baby was indecent exposure. And even then, the mall manager had the manners and good judgment to apologize to me for the guard’s comment.
    I am so sorry this happened to you.

    Vanessa September 12, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    http://i34.tinypic.com/iwk5c7.jpg

    Adding to my shirt repetoire, one for the babies as well. Go Jasper, go Jasper, go go go Jasper. Haha. Now you two can match.

    fairytalesandmargaritas September 12, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Wow, they are pretty stupid not to realize that that rash of e-mails that they just got were about the same incident and that everyone is probably going to compare their letters, duh! And they’re stupid not to realize that this rash of letters means something, something big. And that they better have a “policy” and the policy better be that breastfeeding is JUST FINE, WITHOUT A BLANKET!

    wherewiller September 12, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I’m in York Region, I emailed them today (couldn’t get to it until today!). Go Catherine!

    emmawiller@gmail.com

    Miss Grace September 12, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I wrote a post about this here. Thanks for being so brave.

    Shelli September 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    maybe we should all just mail them a plate, a fork, and a blanket, and ask THEM to please cover up while eating, and see how THEY feel.

    UGH! We applaud war, and downplay feeding a hungry baby.

    I.just.don’t.get.it.

    Michele September 12, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    In the wild, if one interrupts a lactating mother, they get eaten…

    ariberkana September 12, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    ARGH!!! This makes me SO effing angry.

    Brenda September 12, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    “In the wild, if one interrupts a lactating mother, they get eaten.” That is hands down the funniest thing I’ve read all day!

    So, this was a first for me … I have never shared my blog with ANYBODY, since it’s the one corner of the world where I can be the Queen Of Everything. This was worth a change to my royal polices, though, so here you are, dear.

    F*CK THE BLANKET! (I just like saying that.)

    Brenda September 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Grrr. “Royal POLICIES”, not “polices.” I haz no polices.

    Wow, think how much more I could accomplish if I had my own police force clearing the way…

    litanyofbritt September 12, 2008 at 6:43 pm
    Vanessa September 12, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I’m back again. No more shirts to add (though I should seriously sell them, judging by the amount of mamas who want one).

    But I disgress.

    HBM,

    Located In Community Toronto
    Mailing Address c/o Law Society of Upper Canada
    Osgoode Hall
    130 Queen St W
    Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
    Office Phone 416-977-4448
    Toll Free Phone 1-866-466-7256
    Fax 416-977-6668
    E-Mail info@volunteerlawyers.org
    Website http://www.volunteerlawyers.org
    Primary Executive Janice Wiggins, Volunteer Lawyer Service Project Director

    Anything run out of Osgoode Hall gets the nod from this student.

    canape September 12, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Here’s a link to WestJet’s Board of Directors:
    http://tinyurl.com/3ttbaf

    Based on their email scheme for the rest of the company, I would make a good guess that you can reach this list of white males by “first initial, last name @westjet.com”

    You know, just in case anyone had something to say to them.

    Mz X September 12, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    You know what? I’ve been PC and as respectful as I can be so far. But fuck this. Just, fuck it. Fuck it into the ground. This wank is getting out of control.

    A company does not need a policy on breastfeeding. The reason for this is that it will have to be taken case by case. If a woman is nursing sat alone, or surrounded by passengers who do not mind, then she probably won’t be asked to cover up. If a complaint is made then the flight staff are required to do something to resolve it. The ‘training’ the staff are given will be to respond to complaints as diplomatically as they are able. I work with members of the public and you can never please everyone, and sometimes end up pleasing no one. People suck, fact of life.

    Lady, you were gently encouraged to cover your milk bag. You were not stopped from breast feeding. You were not forced to cover up. You were not even ASKED to cover yourself. You were offered the choice, and yes, the discomforted flight attendant tried to pursuade you. And then she left you alone.

    You are not a martyr, you are not a saint. You are not fucking entitled. You have not been discriminated against – breeding parents are given extra priviliges that others are not, NOT the other way around. I don’t give a shit if you breast feed in public and it doesn’t bother me, but it is not your right.

    Multi-tasking Mommy September 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I’m hoping that by being so open about breastfeeding, I am teaching my daughter that one day she can be proud to breastfeed if she has children and chooses to breastfeed them!

    In a few weeks, I am about to be a breastfeeding Mommy again and I am super excited. A bit nervous too.

    I feel very empowered and won’t be anywhere near as apprehensive to breastfeed in public as I was at the beginning with my daughter.

    F**K them if they have a problem with it. Seriously!

    Heather in the 'shwa September 12, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    I’m a lactating lawyer in Durham and enjoy feeding my child, and would be happy to help (I leave it to you to decide how useful my help would be). I’m fairly certain you don’t have to have counsel to have standing at the human rights commission and I’m sure you’d be well spoken. Airlines are federal under the constitution so you’re looking at the federal commission. I’ll add my email if you’re interested since I fell out of blogging some time ago.

    I find it so incredibly frustrating that if I chose to bottle feed my child that would be socially acceptable do anywhere at any time; yet when I give him my breast, which is the best thing for him bar none, I somehow need to cover up (or go to the bathroom or hide from the world) lest I offend someone who doesn’t realize that said breasts they are being used for their intended purpose and that it’s normal, natural and nothing that should be covered. Asshats. lifeintheshwa[at]gmail.com

    Kate September 12, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Everyone’s so uptight about the boobs! Love the f*ck the blanket. Thanks for the laugh. Keep crusading.

    SUEB0B September 12, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I wrote them a little letter. And I gave them a little heads-up about mommybloggers. I told them “These are people who are used to being in the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times and have address books full of media contacts…”

    Just trying to be friendly.

    Red Cup Mom September 13, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Wow. I came back to see what happened and lots is happening. It’s terrible really. Can’t people just leave nursing moms alone? I always feel uncomfortable nursing in public, but no one ever said anything or implied anything to me when doing so. I am still in shock.

    Karen September 13, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Okay, I’m back, and I have blogged it!

    http://tinyurl.com/4zkfau

    Louisa September 13, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Um i may just have lost it in my comments over on the other letter blog…kind of the same thing I would say to Mr X above…who big wuss made himself annonymous…Mr X…a company should have a policy to treat people respectfully! A woman breastfeeding discreetly at the BACK OF A PLANE should be left well alone. For GOODNESS SAKE PEOPLE!

    mamatulip September 13, 2008 at 11:46 am

    This is absolute bullshit.

    BULLSHIT.

    C September 13, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I want to smack that FA upside the head.

    I wrote a nasty email and blogged about it…

    http://whenismyturn.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/are-there-any-canadians-reading-this-psst-westjet-hates-nursing-moms/

    Gem September 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    To mz x, a baby has the right to eat without a blanket over your head. Try it, see how you like it. Somewhere over here (Scotland maybe?) you’re not allowed to complain about mothers breastfeeding. It should be law everywhere, ban complaining.

    mamatulip September 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I wrote a letter too. Sent it this morning. I asked Gillian for a personal response, and made note of the fact that I was aware that they were sending your readers recycled letters.

    Will let you know if I hear anything.

    Anonymous September 13, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I have a very question because i think I may be confused. When we are talking about breastfeeding in public are we talking about putting our babies onto the boobs and covering them up or are we talking about putting our babies to the boob and just chillen…

    K

    litanyofbritt September 13, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    MZ Z
    you ARE entitled to feed your hungry baby wherever the hungry baby and milk bags happen to be and it IS your right.

    people don’t want to see you stuff a cheeseburger down your throat in traffic, but no one knocks on your window and gently urges you to throw a blanket over your head because the sight of mayo and lettuce bits hanging off your wobbly jowels is distracting the other drivers.

    whatever happened to mind your own fucking business, people??? no one asked you to stare at her tits for the entirety of junior’s meal!!

    Roz September 13, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Sooooo back in the day I understand that there was segregated seating on buses. Cuz some white folks were a little ‘uncomfortable’ sitting beside black folks. Well, we all know that policy disappeared cuz of something called PROGRESS which allows for human rights to come ahead of the ‘discomfort’ of the ignorant.
    I read the WestJet response- what a sh*tty attitude. Guess we all know how they’d divide up their seating were this the 1950′s.

    Mz X September 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Darlings – I don’t eat cheeseburgers. I am a size 6. And I do not eat in public places. This is beside the point, but still. Thought I’d point it out. I have no problem with people breast feeding in public, as long as they cover up.

    I am anonymous because I do not want my entire family to break down. All the women in my family have children and are at times irrational. I plan on enjoying a family christmas this year without any shit flinging. I would be happy to give anyone here my full real name, address and place of work if I was certain it would not get back to my family. I have nothing to be ashamed of in my views.

    Also, if she was breastfeeding discretely, she wouldn’t have been offered the blanket. My mum breastfed in public places and often people sat right next to her without realising. The other people on the plane also deserve respect, no? They might want to eat, and your tits might not be the most appetizing thing they’ve seen that day.

    Also, no one was told to cover up. HBM was offered a blanket. OFFERED. As an option. Chill the fuck out.

    Louisa September 14, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Mz X. No reason to be ashamed of your views yet you don’t want your family to hear them…interesting.

    That’s beside the point.

    The point, which I think you have missed, is that there is nothing wrong with women breastfeeding in public. There should be no qualifications made to that sentence. There are very few women who would breastfeed in an revealing way, it is not an inappropriate thing to do.

    What is important to note, and I believe HBM did this, is that when a woman is breastfeeding in public she is in a very vulnerable position and to imply that she is being inappropriate by doing so is not only unkind and unprofessional but IT is the act that is entirely inappropriate!

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