Let's talk about breasts.
Chances are, you've encountered somebody who has them — and that's great! But for those who don't know, breasts are complex and specialized organs, and there's a lot to say about them. One of their unique functions, for example, is to produce milk for infants and babies.
While most people are aware and even accepting of this biological truth, some mothers who choose to breastfeed publicly (like Tiffany Hale, a West Michigan mother) report feeling judged or shamed for making that personal decision.
In an effort to help eradicate the stigma attached to public breastfeeding, Decatur High student Sophie Mumper partnered with a local advocacy group called the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, to start a movement that promotes public breastfeeding in her Atlanta suburb, according to Fox News.
Mumper, who started this initiative as a senior project, has been handing out “Breasteeding Welcome Here” signs to local restaurants that have agreed to help make women feel comfortable nourishing their children inside of their establishments.
“In the most recent century, the hyper-sexualization of the female body has heightened due to publications like Playboy and the growth of the porn industry,” Mumper told Decaturish. “The stigma associated with public breastfeeding has intensified as a result. Under Georgia law, women are able to breastfeed in any place, public or private, that they are otherwise authorized to be in. However, there are no enforcement provisions to protect this right; if a restaurant refuses to let a mother breastfeed her child, there will be no state-mandated consequences. I find this unacceptable.”
As of April 27, around 10 restaurants have agreed to display Mumper’s decals — and while Mumper claims that no restaurants have thus far explicitly turned her down, she does report that several never responded to her.
Food industry professionals like Maria Moore Riggs, owner of Revolution Donuts, fully support Mumper’s campaign.
"Unfortunately women do have to second guess whether it's safe to feed their baby," Riggs told Fox News. One of Mumper's "Breastfeeding Welcome" signs is posted outside of her bakery.
"I think it's inventive (Mumper's) putting the decals up, but to me it's like putting a rainbow up and saying, 'All sexual orientations welcome here.' I think it's ridiculous we have to say they're welcome in our business, but there it is. I guess we need to speak up," said Riggs, according to Decaturish.
Public breastfeeding laws vary statewide. Even though public breastfeeding is legally allowed in Georgia, that doesn’t protect breastfeeding people from backlash and harassment. Mumper hopes to change that reality with her decals.
“Though there is little I can do to change this flawed Georgia law, I hope that I can help make Decatur an easier place to raise children by having created a growing coalition of restaurants that are breastfeeding-friendly,” Mumper told Decaturish. “It is important that we, as a community, are accommodating and supportive of the women that are raising the future citizens of our town.”
Any restaurant that wants a decal can email Mumper at: firstname.lastname@example.org