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Where Breastfeeding Mothers Pumped at the Oscars Was Unacceptable

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
03/03/16  12:13 PM PST
Lactation Rooms

By Jessica Shortall for Mashable

Opinion Piece about the Need for Lactation Rooms

At Sunday night’s Academy Awards, Best Supporting Actor nominee Tom Hardy was asked by an L.A. Times reporter why he was out in the lobby. “I’m just waiting for my wife (Charlotte Riley) to finish breast pumping in the bathroom,” he replied. “She has to do it every hour.”

At the same event, pregnant women were lavished with praise: Emily Blunt “glowed,” Chrissy Teigen “stunned” and Anne Hathaway was “blossoming.” But once they stop being magical vessels of new life, even A-list new mothers are out of the spotlight and into the bathroom.

(Red carpet watchers did offer slightly creepy commentary on Charlotte Riley’s “fabulous” breastfeeding cleavage, but the admiration of her milk-filled breasts wasn’t enough to get her a sanitary room in which to make food for her baby.)

In 2013, Adele told a reporter that she was “running to the toilets…to pump and dump. Which loads of people were doing…All these Hollywood superstars, lined up and breastfeeding in the ladies.” And in 2006, the L.A. Times reported that Capote producer Caroline Baron had “put a call in to the Academy wondering how she would get a breast pump past security.” The reporter noted that the Academy was “used to accommodating people…including those who might need to get to the bathroom frequently and quickly.”

Take a moment on that last line. It makes clear the institutional and cultural assumption at work in these examples: If a woman wants to be at the Oscars while she is making food for her baby, it is considered an “accommodation” for her to be directed to a bathroom to do so. And that’s for the powerful celebrity attendees. There are also women who invisibly staff the event: the publicist, the bartender, the cleaner refilling toilet paper in the restroom. Presumably some of those women have babies, too, and if they’re like the hundreds of women I’ve interviewed about pumping at work, they have even less opportunity to take breaks and pump in a clean, private space.

Read the Full Article at Mashable.com

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