Every so often there are incidents that arise in the popular media that make you wonder, make you shake your head, perhaps huff a laugh before flipping the page or clicking the next link. You dismiss them swiftly, but they remain in your brain as a source of confusion, laughter even, and once reminded they are easily recalled. It is in these events, however, that we must pay close attention; they show the color of our society, we are fascinated because they are strange, and anomaly, and we hone in on that, our bodies built to detect incongruity or confusion, a lesson I learned well in perception class. The professor had shown us a model of the ventricular system, the tubes in the ears that detect movement of the head, and explained that they were maximally activated by rolling and pitching the head forward, twisting the chin downwards in a movement much like trying to place your ear on your chest. It took me a great deal of thinking before I understood that the body didn't care when your head was doing normal things, it wanted to know when they systems were failing, when things were going wrong (like when you decide to kiss your chest with your ear, for example).
The particular incident I am referring to in the paper, perhaps Dear Reader noticed it, was about a women who was told not to breastfeed her child in the Edmonton art gallery. It was not, mercifully, about decency laws; she was apparently violating the Food and Drink policy of the gallery. She was welcome to breastfeed her baby in the hallway, she was informed, but not in the show-rooms themselves.
It is a confusing state of affairs that we have evolved to the point that we consider a woman's body food and drink, but as a non-mother, perhaps this is a subtle aspect to the process of breastfeeding I am not privy to. I am just dying to know if the gallery had suffered damage to the artwork as a result of some particularly acrobatic breastfeeding.
The main problem is between the fact that the gallery apparently considers breastfeeding a "food or drink" issue (she was not thrown out of the gallery or asked to step into a restroom [a suggestion many commentators brought forth, despite the fact that they refuse to eat in a bathroom] so it isn't really a breastfeeding insensitivity issue), and the couple considering the issue a "human rights violation". I tend to get my hackles up pretty hard for human rights violations, and I do believe they can happen even here in Canada, but is being asked to move to a different room to breastfeed a human rights violation or is the phrase being tossed about any time the members of the general public feel fed up and ill treated? It almost feels like our emotions and devotions are being led by the nose by the indignation, the triggered reaction to a "human rights violation", and I don't like being led.