In Norwalk, Ohio, Chrissy Houtz had a stranger take a picture of her while she was nursing her newborn son at the city pool, and they passed it around like a "wanted poster." She was harassed and told to stop, but after speaking with Ken Leber, the Norwalk Parks and Recreation Superintendent, who promised to retrain employees to uphold Ohio state law which protects her rights, she thought she could go back to the pool and nurse in peace.
She was wrong.
Again, Houtz breastfed her now 1-year-old son Moses at the pool and, again, was harassed. Several families apparently complained, saying it was "disgusting." Funny enough, Ohio law not only allows breastfeeding wherever the mom is allowed with the baby, but they've got a law which you would think would make this topic totally moot.
They allow women to be topless anywhere men can be.
It appears some cities choose not to uphold that particular law, but alas, it's on the books. Women's breasts were declared "not private parts," meaning they don't fall under any indecent exposure laws.
But even in other states, there are specific sentences in the laws excluding breasts bared for the purpose of breastfeeding from public indecency. So no matter what, this behavior is legal. And like our own Amy Keyishian said, well, you're going to see way more breasts on Seattle's Naked Cycling Day than you will at even a La Leche League meeting ... or three. And that naked cycling day? Also legal. And not just women of childbearing age, but that consists of older men as well. Frankly, I'd much rather stare at some breastfeeding boobs than 60-year-old cyclist butt.
Anyway, I digress. With Ohio's law, even if Norwalk isn't big on enforcing it, a woman breastfeeding at a pool should really garner little to no attention whatsoever, wouldn't you think? Some people are accusing her of having both breasts out the top of her swimsuit, and whether that's true or not I'll never know. She was forced to take down her entire personal blog after the local newspaper linked to it on their own article, spamming her with hate comments and gawkers on a blog about her family, which happened to include a picture of her nursing.
However, as she says in this video for Fox 8 News, she's not about to throw a whole towel over her son's head ... it's not like pools really are a place known for very little skin exposure in the first place, right? And with high temperatures this cruel summer, it's quite likely that she was at the pool to COOL OFF... so really? Putting even a lightweight cover over a baby's head, IF that's what she chose to do, is still likely to be incredibly uncomfortable for the both of them. Heck, even nursing in hot weather can make mom want to hold baby at arm's length.
It's just ridiculous that on a hot summer day, at a swimming pool where there are likely preteens showing way more skin than this nursing mom, in a state that declares that breasts aren't even private parts, that there'd even be an issue ... not once, but TWICE, for the same woman, at the same pool. At what point do we get over ourselves and realize that babies need hydration, summer is hot and a cover would be miserable for the child, and she's just feeding her baby and, if you DON'T make a big deal out of it, it isn't one?
Are you shocked to see skin at a swimming pool in hot weather? Does it matter if it's a bikini or a baby covering the nipple on the breast?
Image via amileegirl/CafeMom