A controversial student ad campaign supporting public breastfeeding legislation in Texas is causing a stir online this week, and it's not hard to see why.
The campaign, called "When Nurture Calls," and its provocative images of women nursing babies in public toilet stalls make its point, and then some.
“Private dining. Would you eat here?” asks the text of one poster. Others ask, “Bon appétit. Would you eat here?” and “Table for two. Would you eat here?”
The much-talked-about advertisements are the work of University of North Texas graphic-art majors Johnathan Wenske and Kris Haro, both juniors.
They decided to take on the polarizing issue of public breastfeeding for an assignment that required students to design a campaign for a social issue or product.
The viral images generated wide support, but also backlash. Some critics have labeled public nursing "trashy" and criticized women for bearing "sex objects."
Some comments personally attacked photo model Monica Young (who posed with her baby) for being everything from indecent to too young to be a mom.
That prompted her to post a response:
"I get more sexual comments than anything. So yeah, it’d be pretty great not to have any nasty comments made while I’m feeding my child, with or without a cover."
"Whether I was a too young or not, what does it matter what age I am? A Teen Mom can breastfeed, too. I'm 21, so yeah I'm pretty young," she adds.
"Younger mothers are less likely to breastfeed. So hopefully it will encourage younger mothers to breastfeed, breastfeed in public and to not be ashamed to do it."
Wenske and Haro, both 20, say they chose the topic while coming across the story of a woman harassed in a Texas Target for breastfeeding in 2011.
They were also inspired by learning about a state bill which seeks to strengthen the state’s existing public-breastfeeding law by bringing in an enforcement statute.
It would have essentially protected moms who nurse in public from being stopped or harassed. The bill controversially died in last year’s legislative session.
Public breastfeeding laws exist in most states, but with the exception of a few, including Connecticut, Vermont, and New Jersey, they have no enforcement provisions.
This means various authorities are not accountable for their actions against breastfeeding moms, which can make all the difference in many situations.
People divided on the issue tend to spar from opposite ends of the spectrum, which supporters believing that nursing is natural and should be welcome anywhere.
Certain critics, meanwhile, are steadfast that because there is an exposed breast involved, nursing is a crude action best relegated to private spaces.
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