One breastfeeding advocate and mom is shocked at the negative reaction she’s received after posting a photo meant to be a lighthearted bid to increase the acceptance of breastfeeding in public. Rebecca Dunbar sat for a photo with Santa while breastfeeding her child, meme-d it, and all hell broke loose.
— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews) December 18, 2015
Dunbar told Huffpost Canada her infant became fussy while standing in line for Santa. When it became their turn in line, she thought of the idea of taking the photo to spread awareness. Her friend thought it was a great idea and urged her to do it — which she did, after clearing it with the photographer and Santa himself. “I asked the photographer if he’d be OK taking the picture and he said, ‘yeah, for sure, if it was OK with Santa,” she said. “And Santa said ‘it’s been 40 years and never had a question like that, but why not.'”
She wrote the words “All I want for Christmas is a happy, healthy baby” on the image, posted it to Facebook, and immediately began receiving a deluge of negative reactions. She says about 75% of the reaction has been negative, and she’s had to change her Facebook settings to deal with some of the backlash.
“It is quite disappointing that people are so negative about it when it’s not meant to be that way,” she said. “Partly, it was just to be funny.”
Breastfeeding humor may not be everyone’s “thing” — but the negative reactions are overboard. People are calling Dunbar “trashy,” an “attention whore” and all manner of ridiculous names for a silly, harmless meme.
Frankly, I prefer memes that are funny, so I don’t think this one is successful. But if we got riled up about every unfunny meme out there, we’d be weeping all day. Her plans for generating more acceptance for public breastfeeding clearly blew up in her face, but she didn’t do anything wrong here. Her only crime is having a different sense of humor than a lot of people on the internet, who are so pearl-clutchy when it comes to seeing women breastfeed that an image like this would actually drive them to hurl insults.
Dunbar says she has no regrets about taking the picture, because ultimately she did it to support any women who’ve been publicly shamed for trying to feed their baby.
Funny? Meh, probably not. But it’s a small act of solidarity, it’s harmless, and it definitely doesn’t deserve the vitriol it’s getting.