When I returned from some lap swimming, I noticed that several of them were wearing...You guessed it! The booby burqa! "What did I miss?" I asked my husband.
"You're looking at it," my husband replied. "You have to go talk to them…"
This was a group made up exclusively of women who seemed immensely comfortable with each other and their shared moment in life raising babies. They were hanging out in a casual, family-friendly environment, yet covering themselves while breastfeeding. I hemmed and hawed about approaching them - I certainly didn't want to come off as judgemental, and I also didn't want to make them uncomfortable.
But I knew that I had to get the scoop for my blog. I introduced myself as a new mother of twins and gently asked them about why they were wearing breastfeeding covers. They were gracious and forthcoming in their responses.
One woman, a brunette, volunteered that she sported it to placate her own modesty and because she was conscious of making others uncomfortable. All of the women insisted that even when they wore breastfeeding covers, they felt like they got unwelcome attention. The brunette recounted that an older woman recently stared at her in the park while she was breastfeeding with her Hooter Hider. (I wondered silently, perhaps she was staring because she found it strange that a young woman felt compelled to feed her baby under cover?)
At this point, they turned the tables on me. Did I wear one?
I did not. I wasn't accustomed to wearing one since I don't recall anyone having them when my 10-year old was a baby. But, I recounted the episode with my team and told them I understood the urge in certain circumstances.
Another woman, this one blond, admitted to the group (perhaps for the first time) that she wished she had the courage not to wear one. She wasn't modest, but she wanted to be appropriate in public and among her friends.
"What do you consider public?" I pressed. "When you are together at someone's home - do you wear your Hooter Hiders?"
If it was just them, they didn't. But anywhere else, they did, including their own homes if others' husbands were present.
They told me a final anecdote about a recent dinner party they attended. One of their friends was pregnant, and her husband asked the women breastfeeding why they were wearing breastfeeding covers. (Good for him! That's a modern day feminist.)
My interview left me wondering…
Is the trend in Booby Burqas just about convention? Should we be worried that young women are conforming without thoughtfully questioning why? What do you think?