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Freedom of speech

University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

2008

Law and Gender

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The Lactating Angel Or Activist? Public Breatsfeeding As Symbolic Speech, Elizabeth Hildebrand Matherne Jan 2008

The Lactating Angel Or Activist? Public Breatsfeeding As Symbolic Speech, Elizabeth Hildebrand Matherne

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

The only way to combat this stigma against public breastfeeding is through the act of breastfeeding in public. The author proposes that breastfeeding is a powerful act of symbolic speech vital for discarding one of the lingering shackles of women's inequality that triggers first amendment protection. Breastfeeding in public addresses this stigma by treating two ills at once: 1) greater public exposure to the practice decreases the severity of society's reactions, and 2) the less stares and confrontation that publicly nursing mothers receive, the more likely they will be to breastfeed, whenever or wherever their baby is hungry. This will …