Feminists have rallied around a woman who was ejected from a public pool on Sunday for refusing to “cover up” while breastfeeding her baby son.
In a Facebook post afterward, Misty Daugereaux recounted her experience at the Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center in Texas City. She said she was “so hurt, embarrassed and ASHAMED” and suggested the pool employees need to be “educated.”
According to Daugereaux, she visited the pool with her two 4 year olds and 10-month-old son, Maxx. When she attempted to breastfeed Maxx, a lifeguard asked her to stop. A female manager then told her to cover up or leave.
After she refused, the police were called. Body cam footage released by the Texas City Police Department Monday showed Daugereaux telling the responding officer that she has a right to breastfeed in public.
“I don’t stand for a lot, but I will stand for that,” she said.
She also denied the lifeguard’s claim that she cursed at him.
Regarding being told to cover up, Daugereaux, said: “Absolutely not. It’s your own discretion. I’m conscious enough to know I don’t want every man in the pool looking at my boobs. But when you have a 10-month-old who doesn’t take a bottle, I’m going to feed him.”
The officer returned to consult with the pool staffers, who alleged that Daugereaux had exposed both of her breasts, prompting seven complaints from pool patrons. They said she should leave, which the officer reported back to her.
“I don’t understand how it’s right,” Daugereaux complained, before consenting.
After Daugereaux departed, the manager commented: “I thought you’re supposed to cover up. I know people breastfeed and stuff but –”
“That’s all fine and dandy, but just sit in a chair and cover up,” the officer said. “Don’t sit there with both your tits out!”
Misty Daugereaux ‘heartbroken’ by intolerance of breastfeeding at pool
Daugereaux reacted to the officer’s comment in an interview with USA Today.
“I’m completely appalled and heartbroken at the comment the officer made to the manager,” Daugereaux said. “But I’m ashamed he doesn’t know the law he is honored to uphold. And the word he used to refer to breast is unsettling.”
Outraged by Daugereaux’s account, other local mothers held a “nurse-in” protest at the pool on Monday. Later in the day, Texas City apologized to her.
“We, the City of Texas City are reviewing the nursing concerns raised at the Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff. We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our City Facility. City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee’s actions will be addressed with further training.”
Not settling for just one boob
Daugereaux’s stand for her right to breastfeed came amid a national upsurge in feminist activism in the Trump era. Women have increasingly demanded accommodation of their specific interests, from abortion access to workplace treatment.
Many of the some 4,000 comments on her Facebook post came from feminist supporters.
“Stick to your guns, honey!” said Susan Osler. “Women are STILL shamed and it needs to STOP. If men fed babies from their penis, there would be NO QUESTION about it.”
However, a number of women sought to balance Daugereaux’s need to breastfeed with the social value of modesty. Some said one breast should be enough.
“This issue was both boobs was out,” said Laura Parker. “No need for both to be out, only one.”