Sex and Gender

Military Breast Feeding Photo

I have noticed on the Internet and Facebook that the topic of breastfeeding has become a really big deal.  Or maybe it’s because I am in my late 20s and all of my friends have decided to reproduce.  Not sure yet.

Anyway, there is this story that I found on Yahoo that I found interesting.  A woman named Crystal Scott, founder of the group Mom2Mom has been fired.  This woman and site are responsible for the “offensive” photo of two military moms breastfeeding in their Air Force uniforms.

Now, I have nothing against breastfeeding or seeing photos of breastfeeding. I just want to put that out there before I continue.

The two servicewomen, Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna have both been reprimanded by the Air Force.  You may ask why, because, by law, women are allowed to breastfeed on any Federal Property or park. According to the Air Force Times, “the two members of the Air National Guard who appeared in the controversial photo…have been reprimanded because the photo ‘violated a policy that forbids military members from using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement.'”  So, it has nothing to do with the fact they are breastfeeding, they can do that all they want in or out of uniform. It’s the fact that they were photographed doing it to promote a cause.  This implies that these women could have just as easily posed for these photos out of uniform still stating their jobs and probably gotten the same point across without getting fired.  I fully agree with these two women being reprimanded.  I am the daughter of two soldiers and I absolutely believe in honoring the uniform. Honoring the uniform doesn’t mean using it to promote anything from cars to breastfeeding.  I believe every woman has the right to choose to breastfeed and should be able to do so wherever her child is hungry, but every job has rules and both women knew the rules of being in the Air Force–neither of these women was newly enlisted.  Do I feel sorry for the woman fired from her job, because she’s a civilian and not a service member, due to her work with this site? Not one bit.  According to Jay Schryver, the president of Schryver Medical, Crystal Scott’s former employer, in a phone interview with Yahoo! Shine:

“Crystal Scott was terminated by the company on June 1st for various legitimate employment-related reasons,” he wrote in the statement. “Amongst other things, on the day prior to her termination, Ms. Scott had clocked in to the company’s timekeeping system and had been assigned time-sensitive tasks that were wholly ignored. Thereafter, Ms. Scott ignored the company’s repeated attempts to contact her to inquire as to her whereabouts and status of her job assignments. When the company finally did get a hold of Ms. Scott, she informed them that she was sick and would not be working. Based on company records – including GPS data from a company van that had been assigned to her – Ms. Scott was actually at a local media outlet conducting personal business, on company time, using company equipment as transportation.”

“Schryver Medical can certainly understand the excitement Ms. Scott experienced in being courted by the media, both on a personal level and as a means to effectively promote her cause,” he continued. “That said, those circumstances simply do not excuse her from violating the reasonable expectations of her employer.” He said that Scott had been informed of her infractions “in detail, in writing,” and “at no time did Schryver Medical tell Crystal Scott that she was terminated due to any ‘media attention,’ as that contention is simply not true.”

Do I feel sorry for anyone involved in this story? No. But do I think this controversy will raise awareness for breastfeeding? Yes. And I think that is actually Scott’s intention.

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