BBC Radio Solent Presenter, Alex Dyke, has caused outrage with his on-air comments complaining about breastfeeding. Describing an “embarrassing situation” he was recently in when a mother breastfed her baby on the bus (shock horror), and calling the practice “unnatural”, he made a right boob of himself and got himself consequently suspended.
What strikes me most about his jibes are these particular comments he made:
“I know it’s natural but it’s kind of unnatural.
It’s the kind of thing which should be done in a quiet and private nursery.
We don’t want it in public.
It was OK in the Stone Age when we knew no better and people didn’t even have their own teeth.
A public area is not the place for it.”
Firstly, something can’t be both natural and ‘slightly’ unnatural, it doesn’t make sense. But the most ridiculous thing is DJ Dyke’s claim that breastfeeding should be reserved for “a quiet and private nursery”, because “We don’t want it in public.” Well I’m sorry to break it to you, DJ Dyke, that’s just not practical. I mean mum’s can’t just rush back home every time their little bubba needs a feeding, nor can they scurry away to the loos when they’re out and about as that’s not always an option, like if they’re on the bus perhaps. The only way they could possibly achieve this is if they stayed at home every day watching Peppa Pig.
Breastfeeding is natural. It’s the kind of thing that should be done wherever your baby’s hungry. Exactly not what #alexdyke said.
— Martin Gee (@christianbloke) August 13, 2015
These women breastfeeding in public places such as on public transport aren’t doing anything wrong and certainly nothing illegal at all. Something that is an actual real (and illegal) issue that needs tackling is sexual harassment from men to women on public transport, a much more worthy cause to get behind really. If I was you, DJ Dyke, I’d thank my lucky stars that it was only a mum with her boob out on the bus feeding her child, and not the man sat next to you suspiciously touching his crotch area, or some middle aged man pushing up against you on the tube.
— Becca (@MrsBeccaW) August 13, 2015
Whatever you think DJ Dyke could better spend his time getting up in arms about, there’s no denying that his comments are not just offensive but very damaging. Saying the sorts of things he did adds to the stigma and shame surrounding breastfeeding in public, we should be moving away from these negative attitudes as a progressive society and embracing the natural human process of breastfeeding.
I am seriously so bummed. :/ Breastfeeding mothers should be encouraged, not discriminated against.
— laineybot (@laineybot) August 18, 2015
When a man describes breastfeeding n public as “disgusting” its usually an older straight guy. What on earth were they taught about breasts?
— Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) August 13, 2015
However, following the unsurprising uproar, and seeking to clarify his comments, DJ Dyke said: “My point was fat chavvy mums with their boobs out on buses isn’t a good look. A classy discrete mum is absolutely fine.”
Oh okay, so basically it’s alright to breastfeed as long as you’re thin and somewhat well-off (basically Kate Middleton then). Well I’m glad he’s cleared that up, I was beginning to think he’d lost the plot. So, how shall we inform breastfeeding mums of this? Perhaps we could get Kate Middleton herself doing some sort of public announcement, she could sit on a golden nursing chair and show the ladies of the U.K how to do it the ‘classy’ Kate way. Hoorah.
Of course, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, but this isn’t the same as expressing your opinions on your favourite biscuits (mine are bourbons if you’re curious). There’s a big difference between expressing your opinion and being downright offensive and out of order. DJ Dyke deserves his suspension, what he said was offensive, and as a person in a high profile public speaking/facing role it’s even more imperative he’s kept off the air. He abused his platform by spouting offencive dribble that is, as I’ve already highlighted, incredibly damaging and also counteractive to the BBC’s role as a progressive broadcaster.
My friend has been brought up so closed minded she just said a woman breastfeeding in nandos was disgusting… CHILD HAS GOT TO EAT
— Ellie (@ellswindlehurst) August 11, 2015
It’s absurd when we live in a society where Page 3 is an actual thing (and deemed OK by thousands) but women are stigmatised for doing something natural. I’ve never had a baby so I’ve never experienced any sort of breatfeeding backlash personally, but I’d hope that if I ever have a baby I can breastfeed where and when the hell I like. Or more importantly, where and when my little bubba needs it. Without men (or anyone really) dictating whether I’m ‘classy’ enough, or just downright judging me and being condecending about the whole thing. Besides, I’m sure if you ask your mothers there probably was a time when they breastfed you in public, so quit telling people this needs to be banned because it’s ‘unnatural’ or it’s making you uncomfortable because frankly boobs are for breastfeeding. End of.