Why should we hide? Hollie McNish's breastfeeding anger
Leading young performance poet Hollie McNish has posted a poem called Embarrassed - about her anger at being made to feel uneasy over breastfeeding in public – on YouTube. The video has had more than half a million views. In the poem she talks of how she'd had enough after feeling she had to breastfeed her baby in public toilets. McNish, who wrote the poem several years ago, was quoted by Closer as saying: “My partner has been telling me I should share the poem for a long time and, well, I've been too embarrassed.” Here's an extract of the poem:
“I thought it was OK.
I could understand the reasons.
They said: there might be a man or nervous child seeing this small piece of flesh that they weren't quite expecting.
So I whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion.
But after six months of her life sat sitting on lids,
Sipping on milk, nostrils sniffing on piss,
Trying not to bang her head on toilet roll dispensers,
I wonder if these public loo feeds offend her,
'Cause I'm getting tired of discretion and being polite.
My baby's first sips are drown-drenched in shite …”
Embarrassed has had over 500,000 views since it was posted last week. It attacks the standards of a society where breasts are pictured in newsagents, on billboards "covered in tits", and in lads’ magazines, but where mothers attract disapproving glances when they breastfeed in public. You can watch the full YouTube video here.
McNish's passionate poem divided opinions among Closer readers. The website Mumsnet acknowledges there is a problem and tells young mothers to “know your rights and develop a thick skin. Remember, it's not illegal or immoral to breastfeed your baby in public and in many countries, including Scotland, it's your legal right to be left to do so in peace.”