August 6th, 2008 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • In the News

Bad Timing for H&M

H&M logo So what does H&M stand for anyways?  Hypocrisy & Misinformation; Humiliating Mothers; Horrific Management?

It really made me angry to read this news story this morning on the CBC - although I'm not surprised...

H&M Breastfeeding Incident Sparks Human Rights Protestvideo / article

This incident has sparked calls from breastfeeding advocates for a "nurse-in" at H&M this Thursday, August 7th at 12:30 pm.  Organizers hope hundreds of nursing mothers will descend on the store to publicly breastfeed.

And this is sure bad timing for H&M considering it is World Breastfeeding Week!  When are people going to realize that women weren't given breasts to offend, turn-on or garner attention from those around them?  Women have breasts (aka mammary glands) so that they can feed their young - just like every other mammal on earth!

H&M talks all about their Corporate Social Responsibility on their website.  Isn't abiding by the BC Human Rights Commission being socially responsible?  Their Head Office "claims" that shuttling nursing mothers off to breastfeed in a change-room isn't their corporate policy.  So what happened at the downtown Vancouver, BC store then?  Poor training?  Miscommunication?  Or is this just a cover-up and will the staff at the Vancouver store be H&M's scapegoat in a very public faux pas?

We all enter and exit this world naked.  We also, within our genders, all have the same parts -just different sizes, colors and shapes!  It is estimated by anthropologists that people first started wearing "clothes"  between 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. The first clothes were made from natural elements: animal skin and furs, grasses and leaves, and bones and shells. Clothing was often draped or tied, however simple needles made out of animal bone provide evidence of sewn leather and fur garments from at least 30,000 years ago.  These first pieces of clothing were donned primarily for protection from excessive heat, cold or adverse conditions, NOT for fashion or to "cover-up" in modesty.

If you are offended by someone breastfeeding, then that is YOUR issue.  There is nothing more natural than a mother feeding their young - any mother. Are you offended by a cow nursing its calf as you pass a farmer's field?  Do you cover your eyes at a litter of puppies feeding at their mother's teats in the pet store?  Are you "up in arms" when you see a whale nursing its calf on the Discovery Channel?  If not, then you are bordering on hypocrisy and have fallen victim to our society's sexification of the breast and the female body in general.  Think about it.  What's the big deal?

If a mother "whips out her breast" to feed her child and isn't that discreet about it, then that person would most likely offend you whether she was breastfeeding, eating, talking, driving or doing any other daily task.  Some people simply lack tact - it isn't the breastfeeding that is offensive - it is the person.

World Breastfeeding Week 2008World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is the greatest outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement, currently being celebrated in over 120 countries worldwide.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.      

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kathy says:

Well said Wendy. It is a sad day indeed when large companies such as H&M train their (mostly young) staff to behave this way.

Soon, with luck, we shall look back on this issue and shake our heads in disbelief that it was even possible.

Keep teaching our children, our partners, our friends, and lead by example. Quietly breast-feeding wherever happens to be a nice place to sit. Enjoy the moment and treasure the experience. Teach by example.

Avoid the unfriendly places.

When my store opens, I promise to have a chair in the nice part of the front room. You will be welcome to breast-feed there.

- kathy

Posted on August 6, 2008

Wendy says:

My readers will be interested to know that Kathy’s store is called “Earthly Presence - Great Gifts, Small Footprint” and it is COMING SOON!

It is a Vancouver-based company committed to providing quality products without compromising the well-being of their customers or of the planet. They source locally made and earth friendly products with a focus on having a positive impact on the environment while offering products that are affordable, fun AND functional.

Posted on August 6, 2008

Vici says:

Hello Wendy

Great blog about the H&M (Human Misery)shop, here is to you and your gorgeous babies keep up the good work.

Regards Vici

Posted on August 11, 2008

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

Thanks Vici!

Posted on February 9, 2009