Author compares breastfeeding in the open to 'public urination' and gets booed by 'This Morning' viewers
Her comments, however, did not go down well with a lot of viewers of the show, and some even called her a 'snob' for voicing her thoughts on the matter.
As per recent reports, an author has caused major uproar owing to her comparison of public breastfeeding to urinating in the street. Speaking to 'This Morning' on Wednesday, Virginia Blackburn, called the act of breastfeeding in public "anti-social" and said that it should be kept as private as possible.
According to the Daily Mail, the show was hosting a debate on the particular topic after mothers at the panel, Natalie Forester and Chloe Hattersley, were asked to stop nursing their children in the pool at the Dimensions Leisure Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. Blackburn, the author of 'Theresa May - The Downing Street Revolution', seemed to agree with the pool's decision, saying that quite a lot of people "don't want to see" women breastfeeding their babies out in the open.
Some viewers, however, objected to her views and some even called her a 'snob' while expressing their disappointment on Twitter. Blackburn is known for writing celebrity biographies, and during the show, she even spoke aloud about how breastfeeding was a bodily function, and people should keep their bodily functions private.
When asked if it was comparable to public urination, she said: "I do think it's on a level with it actually. You have a path that leads to anti-social behavior and I think it's on the same path." She continued: "I don't want people to start engaging in bodily functions which have usually been kept private. There are many bodily functions that are natural but we don't do them in front of other people."
The two mothers who were also on the show were greatly disappointed by Blackburn's comments on the issue. Hattersley said: "Breastfeeding is the most natural and normal thing anybody can do. It's only in the western world where we have built up this idea that breastfeeding should be done behind closed doors and between mother and baby."
Blackburn, who is also a journalist, then told her that she was quite "well-traveled" and had not been in a single country that was open with women breastfeeding their babies out in public. Her comments were criticised by viewers, who called breastfeeding "natural and normal."
One person tweeted: "What a snob this woman is on This Morning how can feeding your child be disrespectful to others? Get this woman off she's rude and disrespectful." Another said, "So, best stop breathing in public because that's a bodily function too." A third said: "What a snobby attention seeking cow! I'm definitely not against breastfeeding its a normal and natural thing a mum feeding her baby."
According to Forester's claims, she was approached by the swimming instructor and told to leave the pool as under the center's food and drink policy she was not allowed to breastfeed in the water. The mother-of-three, from Sneyd Green, Stoke, believes that the rule goes against the Equality Act of 2010 which states, 'a business cannot discriminate against mothers who are breastfeeding a child of any age'.
Stoke mother asked to leave swimming pool for breastfeeding son: Natalie Forester was taking part in a baby swim session at the Dimensions Leisure Centre in Stoke-on-Trent with her 18-month-old son, Josiah, when she was told to leave the pool. https://t.co/QVFCDC4ZBe pic.twitter.com/LHbFfPZ6Id— Patrick (@cahulaan) August 20, 2018
Councillor Anthony Munday, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, tried to defend the company's policy, saying, "We have many areas at our poolside where breastfeeding can take place and actively promote and support this, although we do ask that breastfeeding doesn't happen in the pool."
"'We take on board the feedback from mums and will do more to work with them to understand their views and consider if this is something that needs to change for the future. We are sorry if this has caused any distress to any of our pool users."