The issue is whether or not it’s appropriate for a classroom. American University Professor Adrienne Pine, a single mother, said that her daughter was too ill to take to day care, so Prof. Pine took her daughter to the classroom. Once in class, the daughter began to fuss, so the professor breast-fed while carrying on her lecture. When controversy erupted, Pine responded that she “didn’t realize the degree to which people are afraid of breasts in this country and in particular, in the workplace.”
Right – the only reason that her students, at least half of whom are female, would object to having a professor interrupt class for breastfeeding is that they are afraid of her tits. (Alternatively, they are unenlightened souls who fail to understand how natural breastfeeding is.)
Can my eyes roll any more?
That something is “natural” does not mean that you perform it whenever and wherever you would like. That something is socially acceptable outside of the office (such as men baring their chests at the beach) does not mean that such is acceptable in the office or while teaching. Moreover, her forty students were paying $50,000 a year to be in that class, and for fifty grand a year, you can expect your professor to give you her attention (and keep her boobs under wraps) for the whole three hours a week that she’s teaching your class.
As Allison Gilbert said, “In reality, working parents always need to have reliable, go-to options when a child gets sick — a friend, a neighbor, a relative — and if you can’t come up with even one alternative, you may want to consider if you’re honoring your end of the bargain when accepting a job.” Query whether a male professor would come to class dandling a baby in his arms and would start bottle-feeding her during class. (As many men are the primary caregivers, and many male college professors are married to women with high-powered careers, this is a feasible scenario.) If the response is “Hell, no, that’s unprofessional,” then women shouldn’t throw a fit when held to the same standards.
(For the record, the whole thing sounds entirely contrived; “Oh, my baby ran a slight fever and no one could have possibly taken her and she had to eat right that very minute and there wasn’t an expressed breast milk anywhere.” Yeah, right, lady – you were out to shock your students the first day of class.)