Earth to “Moonman” | An open letter to Lawrence Mooney

Oh hey Moonman In The Morning!

I see you’re the latest in a string of middle-aged media personalities to decide to use breastfeeding as your *controversial topic of the week* and try to bring women down in the process. Cos that worked so well for Kochie didn’t it!

That’s me giving it to Kochie, live on TV.

Hacking on breastfeeding mums and kids, wow! Big man on campus! Look out!

Giving breastfeeding mums and kids a hard time on your show is not only a low act, but it’s a dangerous one. It encourages public harassment and discrimination against women.

By using your position of privilege to promote your uninformed personal opinion, you tell other people who may privately share that opinion that it’s okay to act on it. You’re sending the message that it’s okay to say that stuff in public, perhaps even directly to us! By using your influential position to say stuff like that, you put women and children in harm’s way.

Saké Restaurant nurse-in, January 2014.

What does this look like on the ground?

Let me tell you about my cousin. A new mum, she’d just finished shopping for groceries when her eight-week-old started to cry. She sat down on a bench in the shopping centre to feed him. She was nervous about this. She’d just been through a traumatic birth and she hadn’t been out of the house properly in weeks. Plus, she’d heard the stories – the ones mothers share quietly amongst themselves about nosey old people coming up and giving them a hard time for breastfeeding. But the baby needed a feed, whether because he was hungry, or because he needed the comfort. So she took a deep breath and started to breastfeed him.

So there she was, minding her own business, feeding her own baby, when out of nowhere a passerby came up and called her a SLUT. Got right up in her face. Told her that if she had to do that, she should do it in private.

Why did this happen? Because the passerby was a massive dickhead. But also, because people like him are emboldened by people like you and Kochie when they see and hear you use your platforms to tell mums they shouldn’t be breastfeeding their kids.

It is not technically illegal for a member of the public to come up and harass a breastfeeding mum like my cousin. But it is also my cousin’s legal right to breastfeed wherever she is legally entitled to be.

So what kind of a world do you want, Moonman? Is this the kind of conflict you’d like to see? The kind of thing you’d like to inspire? One where people like my cousin and others are scared to go out in public with their babies? One where they give up breastfeeding purely because they’re afraid of dickheads coming up and harassing them because people like you say stuff like this on your radio show? One where we have to go to the dunny to feed our babies?

And Sarah Mills, the mum you gave a hard time to live on air? She was doing absolutely nothing wrong by breastfeeding her toddler, but you have abused her situation for your own gain and put us all in harm’s way in the process.

It doesn’t matter how old the nurseling is, pushing that negative sentiment into the community hurts us all. It puts a target on our backs. And we will not stand for it.

Women have the LEGAL RIGHT to breastfeed anywhere, anytime. This is enshrined in the Federal Sex Discrimination Act (1984) and various state laws.

We demand that you read up on the law and then tell your listeners that it is a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime. Don’t like breastfeeding? DON’T LOOK.

Regan Matthews at our Satellite Cafe nurse-in, Feb 2013 (Image: Fairfax/Getty Images)

If you’re in Sydney or want to help get the word out, Sarah is holding a nurse-in protest outside Triple M on February 20, 2020. You can find the Facebook event here, and please share it around! Let’s send the message loud and clear. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The harassment of women for breastfeeding is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

KB-Thai Nurse-in, May 2013. (Photo: Jane McCrae Photography)

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