This Museum Told A Mom To "Cover Up" While Breastfeeding, So She Took Pictures Of Every Nipple In The Building
World Breastfeeding Week wouldn't have been complete without someone, somewhere, instructing a woman to put her sinful nipple away. This year, a London museum told a mom to "cover up" while breastfeeding in the courtyard, but she got the last word — ironically, with a series of pictures. Upon being asked to hide her breasts, she tweeted evidence of the many, many nipples on display at the arts and design museum, including a photo posing with a statue of a breastfeeding woman. The clever response drew so much attention that the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as its director, became aware of the incident and apologized.
The woman, known only by her Twitter handle @Vaguechera, was visiting the London museum in early August when she decided to breastfeed her child. Upon flashing a "nanosecond of nipple" in the process, a museum employee asked her to cover her breasts. (In the UK, it's legal to breastfeed in public.) She returned to the museum, where she proceeded to document all the bare breasts proudly on display in the exhibits. Apparently, nipples are only acceptable when they're chiseled out of stone.
"Am perplexed...," she tweeted alongside the photos. Never before has a museum been shaded so expertly.
That is the face of a woman who knows exactly how clever she is. This was the first of a series of tweets poking fun that the hypocrisy. According to NPR, she photographed works including "Mankind," "Pluto and Proserpina, and" Vertumnus and Pomona," all of which depict naked breasts.
You know how museum Snapchats were the cool thing to do for a while? This is better.
'Excuse me madam, would you mind covering your breasts with this mask while you feed?' pic.twitter.com/yvRrcpbc3c— Vaguechera (@vaguechera) August 5, 2017
The tweets went viral, receiving more than 7,000 retweets. The Victoria and Albert Museum quickly caught wind of the story and responded with an apology. The museum director, Tristram Hunt, even chimed in to reiterate that women can breastfeed "wherever they like, wherever they feel comfortable [and should] not be disturbed."
.@vaguechera V sorry. Our policy is clear: women may breastfeed wherever they like, wherever they feel comfortable & shld not be disturbed.— Tristram Hunt (@TristramHuntVA) August 5, 2017
The woman thanked the museum for the apology and Twitter for all the support, noting that this was the "first time in 3.5 years" of breastfeeding that something like this had happened. She also told the BBC that policies are only useful when staff actually follow them.
Breastfeeding remains oddly controversial, considering it's been around as long as humans have been making babies. But this time, at least, a story about shaming breastfeeding had a happy ending.