Censored at the Beauty School

Today, I was censored by the head of my friend’s beauty school.

Apparently, it is not ok to talk about mother’s milk, cow’s milk intolerance, or human biology there.

I went in for an appointment to have my hair colored and cut, and my friend and I were talking about our children while she applied my color.

“I think she is allergic to milk” my friend said, “so we’ve stopped giving it to her.”

I responded by telling her that I was sorry to hear that her baby was ill, and I asked her to tell me more about it if she wanted. She did.

During our conversation, I assured her that she might still see symptoms even if she’s having her daughter abstain from cow’s milk, because the protein in cow’s milk can hang around in the body for 2-3 weeks after consumption. We also talked about human milk and that children’s digestive systems aren’t fully mature until 6-10 years of age, “which is why biologically”, I said, “it is healthiest to offer/feed a child mother’s milk until they are finished drinking mother’s milk, and their system is mature enough to have a high probability of tolerating cow’s milk.”

“We’re the only species that drinks the milk of another species” I said. “Adults usually don’t show milk protein allergy symptoms because our digestive systems are mature. That’s why you see milk protein allergies so much more in little children – because their guts are not made to digest the protein in cow’s milk.”

I went on to say that my children like to drink cow’s milk and that I have been watching for, but have never seen, any negative symptoms as a result. And I told her that I hoped that her daughter started feeling better. That was when we were interrupted, and we were instructed to stop talking about the subject of milk and human digestion.

I asked the instructor why she wanted us to change the subject and she said:

“There is a child here ( she was like 13) getting her hair cut, and her mother is offended by your discussion. She says she doesn’t want her child hearing what you are saying. It’s inappropriate.”

I said “There’s nothing inappropriate about the subject of feeding children naturally. . . ”

She motioned at my breasts and said “I did it, too, but we don’t talk about it in public. It’s an offensive discussion, and this is a school. You can’t talk about that here. You need to change the subject.”

- – -

How ignorant and skewed is our society that a discussion about our children and their tolerance or intolerance of milk products and a little information sharing about the biological need for human milk almost got me kicked out of a beauty school?

For the record, I didn’t even say “breast”, “breastfeeding”, or “breastmilk” even ONCE in our discussion. I actually omitted those words because I know that the “B” word makes people uncomfortable sometimes. But still, a discussion of “mother’s milk”, “nursing” and “lactation education” was too inappropriate for a 13 year old child to overhear. . . and made her mother complain that our discussion was “offensive and inappropriate”

I mean, really, y’all. I went out of my way to speak about lactation in a subdued fashion during a discussion in which the biological information I gave was totally pertinent. . . and I was chastised for it.

I’m pretty sure if my friend and hair stylist and I had been chatting about the proper amount of cleavage for a holiday party or looking at pictures of Kristin Stewart’s racy red carpet dress choices, or chatting about who the hottest celebrity is, that that talk would have been deemed totally appropriate and not garnered any adverse attention.

*sigh*

What do you think about our censored discussion? 

Comments

  1. I shake my head.

  2. Uh! I think you responded well to her – I always get shy in those situations and back down when I shouldn’t. AND, if a 13 year old can’t handle a conversation about breastfeeding, that’s a whole other problem …

    • Gretchen, thanks for reading! <3 I think the weirdest part was that I wasn’t even rallying for breastfeeding at all. I mentioned mother’s milk and the natural age of weaning in an explanation of why we see a lot of cow’s milk protein allergies in children. . . the discussion was more science than lactivism . . . the 13 year old is going to learn much “less appropriate” things in biology and sex ed classes! We talked to the lady that was doing the girl’s hair after the mom and daughter left – and she said the girl never said a thing – the mom saw her paying attention to us talking, and was angry and approached the management about it. It was all very weird and extremely telling of the work that’s left to do in educating our society about human biology and normal nutrition.

  3. Unacceptable! Sounds like you stuck up for yourself really well, though, which is something I’d like to be better at doing. Too bad there’s so much shame about breastfeeding (and bodies, breasts, and women in general—though that’s a whole other subject). I hope the girl learned something new today about milk protein tolerance! ;)

    • I’m also hoping that the girl learned about milk proteins (human and cow’s) and digestion. . . but who knows. All I know is that I’m not going to stop talking about it in public. There’s absolutely nothing inappropriate about it! :)

  4. All I can is WOW! I should show up and start nursing my baby while getting a hair cut! Which I have done before in an actual salon. No one said a single negative word. What is wrong with the world today!?

    • I’ve breastfed Joseph while having my hair cut, too. Honestly, it was just the mom’s perception of the information I was giving. . . she didn’t like what I was talking about, and so she complained about it. Silly.

  5. That’s crazy!

    I would guess that the mother who objected is a mother who was discouraged from breastfeeding her child(ren) by her husband, her own mother, or other relatives or friends heaping shame and scorn on the idea, so now any suggestion that breastfeeding is a good idea stirs up a big defensive reaction from her. I’ve met women like this, most notably a total stranger who approached me when I was rinsing my pump in a restroom sink to discourage me from pumping because “you deserve to get your body back.” (With whose body did she think I was feeding my baby?!) I feel bad for them, but I wish they wouldn’t intervene to discourage others!

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