Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Woman of the Week - Adrienne Pine

Professor Adrienne Pine had to bring her feverish baby to class on her first day teaching "Sex, Gender and Culture" at American University on August 28th. Her child started to fuss during class, so, instead of interrupting her class by leaving, she decided to breastfeed her baby in class. None of her students made any comments about it in class, but Pine received an email the next day from a reporter from the student newspaper. The reporter wanted to get Pine’s “side of the story.” She was shocked that people thought feeding her child in class was newsworthy. Pine wrote back to the reporter asking her not to publish the story. Of course, the newspaper went ahead and reported the story anyway.

Pine has been breastfeeding her baby on buses and airplanes for over a year, and no one made any comments about it until she fed her baby in class. It's ironic that someone in her feminist anthropology class was disturbed by her breastfeeding. Pine's response to the AU newspaper article was published on the counterpunch website: Counterpunch article.

Because Pine had no other option than to bring her sick child to class, she had to decide between feeding her baby in front of her students or leaving her class. I think she made the right decision. There needs to be better backup childcare options provided by employers. According to a study conducted in 2005, only 6% of employers offered backup daycare. This year, that number dropped to 3%. That's unacceptable.  And, if women have to bring their babies to work, people shouldn't flip out when they have to feed their babies!

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