I do apologise for two things:
- I singled you out in my last post. After hearing the audio I realise that it was not just you that was offensive, it was the entire HitsFM morning crew. You did not deserve to be singled out. Your entire station was at fault.
- I titled my last post on this issue “Don’t Be a Boob.” I intended that to be merely a play on fairly innocent words. However, as was pointed out to me, it could be taken as an insult. I freely admit that I did not consider that at that time and I am fully repentant if you felt insulted by it. I have offered to change the title. I have not done so yet because there are comments about that title, and to change it would make those comments look ridiculous and put them completely out of context. If you were offended, are offended, by my use of that phrase, I will immediately change it. It was not my intention to personally insult you.
I do not apologise for saying that your comments were offensive. They were. Nor for saying they were ignorant. They were. The fact that you – and those who support you – continue to argue that they were not frankly sickens me. If someone – especially more than one person – indicates to you that you were offensive, than you must understand that you did, indeed, offend them.
Whether the intent was there to be offensive or not is not important.
I have seen the “apologies” to some who wrote in. You continue to argue that people should not be offended. Well, I was. And after hearing from a number of other people who were, I decided to stand up for our rights.
What you said and the tone in which you said it was not directed solely at Mayim Bialik. You made very general, sweeping statements about women who breastfeed and especially those who do it for longer than what you (and any number of opinionated but wrong people, as I’ve come to realise) consider “normal.”
Even if they had been directed solely at Mayim, how does that make it any better? Insult one person or insult a group of people, you’re still insulting.
If such comments had been made about the colour of her skin, her physical ability, her sexuality or any other identifiable “minority” concern it would not have been tolerated and could’ve even fallen under hate speech. But us breastfeeders are just a bunch of dippy women who don’t realise how gross we are. So we need comments like “ewww” and “there’s being attached and then there’s that…”
Those will set us straight.
In fact such statements are not only offensive but are part and parcel of a culture of shaming that takes place for women who breastfeed, and especially upon some pie-in-the-sky best age for weaning. They are sexually discriminatory. And they lead to a culture of bullying
Since responding to your comments I have been accused of any number of things. Foremost is that I am bullying you. I maintain that I did nothing of the sort. I have heard public comments made that you have received insults over this. I did not send them. And I certainly have not seen them.
Had I seen them, I would’ve immediately contacted the person posting them and asked that they not turn this into a personal issue. After hearing Paddy Daly express on his backtalk show that you had been attacked I combed through every facebook group and tweet I could find to identify where these attacks were occurring. I didn’t find any. I personally contacted people who said you had been attacked to ask where. I received no response.
I assure you that my comments were made only in direct response to yours and that they were voiced by me because I had been asked by a number of other women to speak to this issue. A number of other women who were also offended.
Certainly being a public figure making public comments you understand that there are times people will disagree with you. I have personally received hate mail and even haphazard death threats over things I have written about. It’s part of stating things publically, especially when you decide to take on an “issue.” That does not excuse it. But I can’t believe you were entirely surprised.
Regardless, as stated, had I been able to locate the source of these apparent attacks, I would’ve immediately called for their cessation. I don’t believe in personally attacking anyone over their opinion. I don’t support it. I will never support it. If I did I would not be myself. I would, indeed, hate myself.
On the other hand, the vast number of personal attacks against me are very public. They began on Twitter. These comments were fully sexually harassing. They were personally offensive. And they were downright nasty. At that time I checked and both the HitsFm twitter account and VOCMBacktalk were following at least one of the aggressive tweeters. After attempting to ignore them, then asking them to stop, the barrage continued. No one defended me. No one stepped in and asked them to stop. I was left to deal with this on my own. I did it the best way I knew how, by answering like with like.
I would never had sat back and watched something similar unfold towards you.
Once I was finally able to get those comments to stop, I was asked, by other women who had been offended by your comments, if I would be calling into Paddy Daly’s show to discuss the issue. It had been made clear that it would be discussed, and these women feared that the only callers would be those that hold the same opinion as you: that what we do as nursing mothers is gross and despicable.
We’ve all heard it before. Many times. Our only surprise was that it came from such a public identity.
Trust me. I had other things to do. But I also had work to do for my community. I am a breastfeeding advocate - as I am an advocate for any other number of things. And when I am told that someone is afraid to speak but that they feel strongly about an issue, I do borrow their voice and speak for them. Because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I knew it would draw the anger of ignorant people and the attention of trolls.
So I called in to Backtalk. I was shouted down when I tried to explain how your comments were offensive. My integrity and that of my friends was called into question. And finally I was asked why, if breastmilk (not, mind you, breastfeeding) was so important for my child, well why don’t I just pump off my milk and feed it to him in a cup so that no one can make rude comments.
- Why don’t all the gay kids getting bullied at school stop acting so gay so they don’t get bullied?
- Why don’t black people just stick with their own kind so that they don’t suffer racism?
- Why don’t rape victims just shut up about the whole thing so no one can accuse them of being over-dramatic or lying?
- Why don’t the disabled stop asking for all these accommodations if they don’t want to stand out?
And I won’t even get into the specifics of how ridiculous it is to ask a woman to spend time and money pumping just so you can be comfortable. And I'll try not to point out that you don't need to SEE a woman breastfeed to know she does breastfeed - I'm not ashamed of the fact that I breastfeed my son and I won't hide it.
As a result of the attention garnered –mostly because of the way I was attacked by your supporters -I was asked to speak on CBC radio about breastfeeding. At the time I was told that it would not be about Randy Snow. And , for the most part, it was not. It was about the comments and the culture those comments come from.
And popular media is a big part of that culture. Such a big part that people who don’t know me were encouraged to attack me because Randy Snow said he was being attacked, despite the fact that none of these people had seen these attacks. And I don’t doubt that some personal emails were received that were insulting. But I had nothing to do with that. Although the general public seems to think otherwise.
I’ve received personal emails too – ones telling me to “lay off Randy, he’s a nice guy.” And I don’t doubt that he is. In fact, that’s what I was counting on when I wrote my last post – that his decency would allow him to see how hurtful those comments were. But I never “laid on” Randy to begin with. I responded to your public comments and then I tried to clear up misconceptions about the length of time a woman should breastfeed. That is all.
For your station and your fans to say that none of this was a big deal and it means nothing is obviously a stretch of the truth. For if it hadn’t been a big deal it would’ve died. I’ve posted before about things that have offended me. They don’t always get that kind of attention. CBC contacted me because this was a story. And I accepted the interviews because as an advocate I saw it as a chance to spread a message of tolerance for breastfeeding mothers.
What it comes down to is this. This one of just a few “apology” letters I’ve seen:
What was said yesterday was in no way meant to come across as soapboxing or judgemental. What a woman chooses to do with her body and her children is entirely her choice. We would never begin to tell her what she is doing is wrong when it comes to something so personal.I opened a dialogue. I was attacked. During that dialogue you had a chance to see:
The only reason it ever came up is that it was from Mayim Bayalik. Not that she isn't entitled to share her thoughts on the topic and very well could be an authority on it. It is just that she played Blossom and what we deal in primarily is pop culture.
We are actually surprised by the feedback we are getting from it. Not contructive opinions like yours but some people are being downright nasty over comments that we didn't think were in anyway controversial.
Thanks for your feedback though. It is never a bad thing to open a dialogue.
- How many women and families were also offended.
- How your comments are part of a bigger picture of shaming breastfeeding women for a multitude of supposed “sins.”
- That this is an issue of national interest, given the sharing of the news items via CBC and MSN.
You claim you weren’t being purposefully offensive? Than apologise. Because the only other alternative is that you were purposefully offensive and you’re not willing to apologise. People were offended. You’ve seen why. Your comments were hurtful and yet very recognisable to many of us. What hurts the most, though, is that you won't simply acknowledge this and apologise, but instead encourage a backlash against those who were offended.
This is the point where you say “I’m sorry.”
It’s what I would do in your shoes.