Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Milk Truck - Truck shaped like breast comes to the defense of breastfeeding women

"Part performance art, part public service announcement", this boob truck is hilarious. It will be at the the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial at the Andy Warhol Museum, running from September 17 - December 10, 2011 and is the creation of Jill Miller - artist and faculty member in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The idea behind the truck is simple; if a women experiences harassment/negativity for breastfeeding in public, in particular from business owners or staff, she can call the Milk Truck and it will come and park outside of the establishment with the goal of causing a scene and embarrassing the business and sparking some healthy conversation about breastfeeding. 

The one thing about the Milk Truck that I don't necessarily agree with is that it will offer women a positive, alternate space to breastfeed. Not that I don't believe in breastfeeding positive spaces --as a teacher who runs a program for pregnant and parenting teens, my classroom is definitely a breastfeeding zone... students breastfeeding while typing up essays... I even had a student breastfeed all through a fire drill while walking in and out of the building!-- I just don't like the idea of the mother and baby having to be hidden away, satisfying whoever had a problem with the breastfeeding in the first place. 

I have two suggestions for modifications to the milk truck:
1) Make the sides of the Milk Truck with transparent plexiglass, so when the truck parks in front of, let's say, a restaurant with a big front window, the breastfeeding woman will be seen by all. It could act almost like a stage, with the woman and child (and the Milk Truck breastfeeding supporters) elevated above ground level, working to further enhance the hilariousness and embarrassment of the Milk Truck.

2) Instead of inviting the breastfeeding woman and her child into the breastfeeding safe and friendly environment of the truck, have the truck staff bring the breastfeeding positive space to them inside the establishment that is being breastfeeding unfriendly. The spectacle could be heightened by the truck staff wearing a Milk Truck uniform, they could bring breastfeeding accessories/helpers, like the "breast friend" pillow, a comfortable chair or a breastfeeding stool.

(here is a Canadian example from 2008 where a women was asked to cover up on a WestJet flight. The flight attendant said to her, "You know, some men find the sight of a bare breast quite offensive. Can I offer you a blanket to cover up with?")

Here is the post from the blog inhabitots that I originally read about the Milk Truck.
Check out the website for the project,
The project is looking for funding through KickStarter.

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