Sow this, Asshole

A Mikwaukee right wing talk radio show host Mark Belling called women who breastfeed “sows” on his show the other day in response to a proposed breastfeeding bill. You can listen to the segment here, although coincidentally, that podcast of the segment is no longer on the show’s website. He says:

“Without regard to what you think about women who get off by behaving like sows by pulling out their you-know-what in front of everybody else in the world and letting their babies start sucking, whatever you think about that, you don’t have the express it so crudely, well why not? It’s a crude practice, given how adamant some of these sows are, that’s an appropriate term, isn’t it? It’’s what a pig does and it does it in public, right? I mean, I don’t, I – hehehehe…”

Email Belling and let him know who the pig is here. Or better yet, call the station at 414-799-1130.
h/t to Brooke

Join the Conversation

  • Sandra

    I’ll never understand the reasoning of people who can think that breast-feeding is ‘crude.’ That’s what breasts are for. We’re mammals after all. Maybe someone needs to send this jackass the definition?
    Mammals (formally Mammalia) are a class of vertebrate animals whose name is derived from their distinctive feature, mammary glands, with which they feed their young.
    Get the f*ck over yourself already.

  • littleblue

    Anybody in the Milwaukee area know who the commercial sponsors of this show are?

  • lynz

    Ugh, I have no words. Seriously.Okay, maybe I do…
    First of all, a lot of moms, myself included, tend to cover up while nursing. Not out of “modesty” or a sense of shame, mostly because it can be a little drafty. But even if we didn’t what exactly are you seeing that you wouldn’t see on television or at a public pool? A baby’s head covers up most of what’s going on anyway. You’re likely to see more boobie in a breast exam pamphlet in your Dr’s office.
    Second,this is just another example of the “your-boobs-are-only-for-me-to-ogle” culture. If he can’t have ‘em, then a hungry newborn shouldn’t either.
    Let’s get some lactivists together and go sit in front of the guy’s station!

  • Caro

    I can almost (maybe) put myself in the mindset of some men who, havinb been conditioned to think of breasts as sexual and/or dirty, are made uncomfortable by seeing women breastfeed in public, especially if they see a lot of actual breast (which, let’s face it, you usually don’t when women are feeing in public). But this guy seems to be anti-breastfeeding in general! I’m sorry, how do you think human babies ate for millenia before the invention of fake breastmilk substitute? How do you think most babies in the world continue to eat? Are you so concerned with keeping dominion over women’s breasts as your eye-candy/plaything that you can’t let them be used for what they were intended? What a jackass.

  • Annasuzie

    Oh, right, I forgot; women can only show their breasts in public for the benefit of men, because mammals (read: us) totally haven’t been evolving the ability to nurse their young for the last 200 million years or anything.

  • Lilith Luffles

    Hm. Someone isn’t consistent with his beliefs, is he? Why did God give women breasts? To feed their babies. Why is he not letting women use their breasts for what God intended?
    Oh wait, because he believes that God made breasts to be horrible and vile and only arousing to men, even though they are somehow vile and shameful… what does this say about men, then? They like shameful, horrible, scary, sow sacks?

  • Chelsea

    I don’t have the words.

  • leah

    Shorter Mark Belling: “Oh noez! Teh boobiez they scarez meh! They remind me I’m only an animal and not a godly patriarch after all! RUN AWAAAAAYYYYYYY!”
    Yes, I am a mammal, and so is a sow. So what? That’s what breasts are for! I really can’t muster up enough outrage to be too offended because his thought that breasts somehow are not for breastfeeding is a bit ludicrous and laughable. How can I be anything but proud of my breasts for their natural, some might say God-given, function? I really can’t do much but laugh that he thinks he’s being creative, funny and/or revolutionary. Puh-lease.
    I think this actually would be a great opportunity for reverse discourse; can you imagine his face if he gets thousands upon thousands of calls from women happily oinking, not one bit offended by his ignorance but instead embracing the label? He was very clearly trying to cause offense; I bet it’d get really his goat (no pun intended) if instead of getting offended (like he wants) we treated it as a joke. If being a sow means I’m proud of breastfeeding, then I guess I’m a sow, and happy to be, thanks.


    Interesting how the main page of the station’s website has links to all sorts of cheerleader/hot waitresses/Victoria’s secret photos…
    At least they’re consistent in what they think breasts are for over there!

  • Brooke

    After I sent this in last night, I discovered another, older gem from Belling. In 2007, he likened women who breastfeed in public with “taking a crap” in public. I understand that some people are uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public (I personally don’t get why), but it’s a huge leap to go from “It makes me uncomfortable” to “It’s the same as shitting in the middle of a restaurant.” Ugh.
    I may have to listen to his show once just to find out who advertises during it so I can remember not to give them my business.

  • GiaCor

    oh my god! I can’t believe that.. taking a crap? I just told him to go blow yourself…I just woke up and it was the first thing that came to mind!

  • kece80

    Reeks of privilege. Feeding a newborn every two hours has the ability to really isolate and confine mothers if they are expected to do it “in private”. Unless he has had to try and negotiate an intense feeding schedule with living in this world then he needs to shut the fuck up.

  • sdwryter

    Here is my email to this creep:
    Did your own mother breastfeed you, or can you blame infant formula for the lack of proper brain development that has left you incapable of understanding another human being’s needs?
    Are women who breastfeed supposed to stay home for twelve months? I am one of twelve children, seven of whom were breastfed. My mother breastfed in CHURCH. She breastfed babies in McDonald’s. She breastfed babies in the grocery store.
    Shame on you for calling her names and demeaning her effort to raise her children in the most responsible, healthy way.

  • Ariel

    I had a co-worker who likened public breast-feeding to publicly having sex.

  • LucyBell

    Pigs are quite intelligent, and generally gentle creatures. I’d rather be in a category with them than this sorry excuse for a human.

  • SlouchingTowardsBethlehem

    Breasts were obviously put on women for the benefit of men. How is he going to be able to stare at those boobs and find them arousing if there’s a baby suckling them? Then all of a sudden it’s like pedophilia or something. Look what those women did!
    I’d stop using my snark laser, but god, if I think too hard about it I’ll just get depressed.

  • nightingale

    I am, and I’d find out for you, but his show sends me into a white-hot rage. Plus he’s not on till 3pm.

  • FrumiousB

    Sandra, your quote is interesting. Are you familiar with the historical context for naming mammals after breasts, instead of one of the hundred of other distinctive mammalian features, like our ear bones? The class was named during a time when social pressure was being brought to bear on women to breastfeed. Emphasizing the breasts as part of our make up supported that social pressure. While it might seem like breastfeeding is a good idea, pressuring women to use their body a certain way is not.

  • amy_sarah

    Unrelated, but did anyone notice on his website under “Mark’s Hot Links”, he has a link to the “Gay Books Section” of a library? He doesn’t put it in any context, so it actually just looks like he’s suggesting you check out this resource, maybe read some books about two dads to your kids. Or maybe he’s just an asshole conservative who thinks women are pigs but highly values gay rights?

  • amy_sarah

    That’s terrible. I mean, breats are sexualized, and then women who breast-feed are told they’re being sexual? It’s pretty sick.

  • Unnecesarean

    I can’t even come up with anything to say that doesn’t involve expletives.

  • norbizness

    I’m guessing he’s Clear Channel; therefore calling the station would be next to useless… you’ve have to go up the chain or directly to the sponsors.
    P.S. Fred Willard wants his DNA back, dude!

  • LindseyLou

    Good point. Although I did wonder why he doesn’t liken all the breast-fed babies (and presumably himself) to piglets. Apparently comparisons to swine are only specially reserved for mothers.

  • socbaker

    Here is the letter I sent:
    Breast cancer and obesity are rampant health problems. So are asthma, diabetes, and allergies. There is one thing that can prevent all of these health probelms, and many more, including ear infections, Chrohn’s disease, ovarian and endometrial cancer, and loss of IQ. This is breastfeeding, which should be encouraged and supported by all.
    Of course women could refrain from ever breastfeeding in public–if they never go out in public. This sounds remarkably like the Taliban. Women should not have to choose between their own and thier babies’ health and being able to live in the world outside their front doors. No one tells caregivers to keep formula feeding private, even though it sets a bad health example.
    Sows and other animals do some things in the open that people do not–such as urinate. However, they also do many things that people routinely do in public, such as eat and breath. By your logic, you too are a sow.
    I beleive you owe an apology not only to women, but to everyone who wants a healthier society. I did not hear any offer from you to bear responsibility for the added health costs routine formula use poses.
    Breastfeeding saves everyone money as well as promoting health and well-being. Support it!

  • socbaker

    I am interested in this assertion–don’t public health campaigns “pressure” people to make certain choices all the time? What is the difference between encouraging or supporting a practice and “pressuring”?
    Keep in mind that during the time that mammals were named, babies who were not breastfed died. The campaign was mostly to get women to nurse their OWN babies, as wealthy women often made use of wet nurses (whose babies then often died).

  • Brandi

    On the other hand, breastfeeding in public has not been the standard in Western culture. Women in the Victorian era, for instance, “retired” to other rooms to breastfeed. The idea of “I should be able to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere” is a pretty new phenomenon. Until fairly recently, doctors themselves (and still some older ladies) frowned on women who took their babes out in public in the first 6 weeks of life. Women with small babes either tended to stay home with them or had them with caregivers.
    I don’t have a problem with BF, though I do have a problem with how it’s politicized on both sides. I BF my children and in public at times. I don’t have a problem with it, but it’s not the historically universal experience that many pro-BF advocates argue that it is.

  • Brandi

    That’s a pretty nasty email and proves you’re no better than he is.
    I absolutely despise when people try to equate formula with stupidity. The reports of BF’s positive effects on IQ have been distorted by pro-BF groups. The IQ benefit comes primarily to cognitively-delayed children, and when the parents’ socioeconomic status is controlled for, the benefit to neurotypical children actually is pretty small. The newest research calls into question many of the more hyped-up claims.
    The ability to breastfeed on demand is itself a form of privilege. Women in working class jobs often don’t get the option to pump on the job (though they are supposed to in many places by law). These women also don’t have the option to stay home with their babes as long because in most cases, they don’t get paid maternity leave. Instead they leave their babies with caregivers who very often must give them formula.
    That says nothing of the idea that shaming women into using their bodies for the purpose YOU see fit is problematic. Women who do not breastfeed should not be made to feel guilty about it. The culture of choice must extend to this option.

  • socbaker

    This is a very western and class based take on things–women in other countries and cultures breastfeed publically all the time and have never thought of covering up. In some cultures, women do not even cover their breasts. It’s only possible to “retire” to another room if there IS another room–many during the Victorian era and throughout history have lived in cramped quarters.

  • penny rose

    Sounds to me like he has some unresolved “mommy” issues.

  • Ariel

    I know! I told her the two weren’t comparable and the discussion dropped off there.

  • borrow_tunnel

    He calls breasts “you-know-whats”. As if they are “naughty parts”. Does this guy realize he sounds like a 8-year-old? Why is it difficult for people to say “breasts”. I guess that sounds medical and professional, so it takes the sexuality out of breasts. It’s more fun to call them “boobies” or something. (?)

  • Brandi

    I agree with you. I have a real problem with the shaming of moms who don’t breastfeed. Just on this thread, there are nasty comments about women who don’t breastfeed. There also are exaggerated claims about the benefits of breastfeeding. My daughter has been to the hospital several times for asthma – genetics, people – and I can’t tell you know many jerks have asked if I breastfed her if it comes up. Yes, but that doesn’t guarantee no health problems. I don’t understand how BF has been elevated in the last decade to this cure-all, goddess-like activity. It’s not that fun, folks. I did it, and I didn’t like it. It didn’t make me feel glorious at all.
    I’ve actually had other women crying and thinking of themselves as bad mothers because their baby doesn’t breastfeed. Especially in cases where the reasons are medical, these moms really suffer the wrath of the pro-breastfeeding crowd.
    I don’t believe women should be pushed to do anything with their bodies that they don’t choose to do, and that includes breastfeeding. Frankly, a pamphlet from the doctor’s office will suffice. There’s no need to push further than that unless a mom is asking questions. I fully believe that lactation consultants should be available to all moms if they *want* the service, but I hated that they came into my hospital room multiple times and insisted that they watch me breastfeed because it’s “so important.” Back the fuck off, people! There are nuts on both sides of this issue.

  • socbaker

    The culture of choice should give women real choices–by providing a societal structure that makes breastfeeding possible.

  • LindseyLou

    I always use “breasts.” To me “boobs” and “tits” just sound bad, like they’re playthings rather than functional, asthetic bodyparts.
    Agreed. Calling them you-know-what’s is ridiculous.

  • Sandra

    I’m not saying that women should feel pressured to breastfeed their children. I’m saying that mammals have mammary glands and produce milk to nourish their off-spring. That humans have developed the means to feed babies with alternate methods is undeniable. The way that women choose to feed their babies is a personal choice only they can make.
    Personally, I breastfed my daughter because I’m not schleping my DDD breasts through life and getting no benefit from them.
    As for pressuring women to use their bodies in a certain way – do you know why wealthy women were pressured to use wet-nurses? So that they could become pregnant again sooner and have more heirs.

  • Brandi

    Yes, I said it was not common in Western culture. I’m aware of that.
    We don’t live in a tribal society, and it’s unreasonable to expect people’s responses to everything to mimic eastern societies. We aren’t socialized the same way.
    My larger point is that you wouldn’t see women breastfeeding in restaurants or at parties in other eras either. I’m not saying they were right and we’re wrong, just that when this issue is discussed, we all should be honest about it. When BF advocates say that “women have popped out their breasts in public forever,” that’s not entirely true. That doesn’t mean, however, that it shouldn’t be acceptable today, just that from a historical perspective, it’s not accurate.
    Even from a modern perspective, it’s not accurate. There are still many places worldwide where women cannot breastfeed in public, which people like this host could use as their “proof” that they’re right. I don’t think it’s particularly useful when it comes to breastfeeding to compare what we’re doing to what folks elsewhere do because our cultural beliefs are so vastly different.

  • Brandi

    For God’s sake, I didn’t say women shouldn’t breastfeed in public, just that shaming people into breastfeeding is wrong. Calling people who use formula stupid is no better than calling women who BF sows.

  • socbaker

    I completely agree. There are many reasons that women use formula, and it’s no one’s business to tell them that they are doing anything wrong. Most babies who are fomula fed are fine, as are the moms who do not breastfeed.
    Breastfeeding is no guearantee of health and formula is no guarantee of illness. However, it is still true that the health and economic ODDS are better for moms and babies if the mom breastfeeds.
    I work with low income women, and the lack of information and support for breastfeeding are astounding. Women believe that their own health is compromised by breastfeeding. They are frantic when they can’t measure input (as one does with formula in a bottle). They are pressured by everyone they know to do the “normal” thing–which is to formula feed. I’m just saying that until we have a culture that is truly breastfeeding friendly, the idea of “choice” is just an idea.

  • socbaker

    It’s like va-jay-jay. Women have bodies. With parts. That have names. These guys need to get a grip.

  • Brandi

    Yes, I knew that about wealthy women. I think it’s just as shameful.
    My real problem is that breastfeeding has become this bizarre cult-like activity. And I’m saying that as someone who breastfed my children. My mother has taught classes on breastfeeding. She’s certified as a lactation consultant. I don’t have issues with breastfeeding. My issue really is with the advocates who get so bent out of shape that they end up bashing women who choose not to breastfeed. That’s wrong, too, but it happens all the time.
    Do you know what’s really sad? When those lactation consultants at the hospital where my daughter was born realized that we weren’t on state insurance and realized that with what we do for a living, we probably make a pretty good income, they stopped insisting that they watch me breastfeed. It’s like it was all of a sudden okay. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, though I’ve thought a lot about it. The whole thing was just weird and contributed to my concerns about breastfeeding advocacy.

  • Sandra

    I had a co-worker who told me that she’d breastfeed a son but not a daughter.
    Why the distinction?
    Because she wouldn’t want her daughter to turn gay.
    You know, I only wish I made that up. I was sickened by her. All of it – the implication that breastfeeding was a sexual act, that she’d have sex with her son but not her daughter (?!) and that it would somehow be a bad thing that her daughter was gay.

  • socbaker

    He must be one of the va-jay-jay people. Women have bodies. These guys need to get a grip.

  • Sandra

    Sorry, Brandi. Although I replied to you, I was referencing FruminousB’s comment about pressuring women in breastfeeding.
    I know a lot of women who felt like failures as mothers because they weren’t successful at breastfeeding. That’s just a shame.

  • Lisa

    The fact that many people in the U.S. who complain about public breast feeding imply that women who do it are exhibitionists says a lot about the twisted way we are conditioned to view women and their bodies.

  • SailorROX

    Dude, that’s ridiculous. Most women I have seen BF in public are discreet.
    You know what, I propose this for whoever is confronted by one of these modesty-police assholes- “So, sir, my breast feeding offends you? Well, I either feed my child now or your dinner/movie/oggling of soft porn mag/lad mag/ etc etc will be ruined by the high-pitched squeeling of my darling little Jimmy/Susy. Because, aren’t little ones precious?”
    Jeez- we (read: conservative family values advocate group) will do anything in our power to make sure you have the baby once you are pregnant, but we’ll make it difficult as Hell to raise your little darlings once they are ex-utero. Wow.
    Well, that is what I would say. What is sad is that there are many women who feel pressured not to respond and to hide in a bathroom stall because of our misongynistic culture.

  • alixana

    Oh lordy, when I was in college, I got to take a graduate-level English class even though I was an undergrad. It was about gothic literature, which I’m huge on, so I was very excited about it. Unfortunately, the professor rubbed me the wrong way a lot (she asked us all, “Isn’t Christ on the cross kind of sexy?” I’m not even Christian and I was sort of stunned by it), and one day she started talking about how when a mother breast feeds, she has to separate herself from her breasts in order to unsexualize it, and she stops breast feeding when she’s no longer about to do that and breast feeding turns too erotic.
    I’d held my tongue a lot, but I was annoyed enough that I spoke up and said, “Um, no, a mother stops breast feeding when a baby is old enough to get all its nutrients from solid food.” (I realize there are attachment and comfort issues too, but I was going for the most unsexual thing I could reach for). She kept arguing with me that I wasn’t analyzing it “correctly” and that wasn’t the sort of answer she wanted – it wasn’t metaphysical enough for her or somesuch nonsense.
    That memory STILL annoys me to this day!

  • alixana

    in the second paragraph, “no longer about to do that” should be “no longer ABLE to do that”, sorry

  • Binkytown

    Additional contact information for Belling’s station and show. I tried to call the program manager and of course, they put me right to his voicemail.
    Try these:
    How to Contact News/Talk 1130 WISN
    We invite your comments about our programming.
    …BY MAIL…
    12100 W. Howard Avenue
    Greenfield, WI 53228
    For General Inquiries: 414-545-8900
    For Sales Inquiries: 414-545-8900
    News Tip Line: 414-545-8900
    News Fax Line: 414-944-5484
    Talk Show Call-In Line: 414-799-1130
    …BY E-MAIL…
    Program Director – Jerry Bott
    News/Public Affairs Director – Ken Herrera
    Promotions Director – Enid Parkinson
    General Sales Manager – Phil Kurth

  • Ariel

    As a friend once told me (after I told him about my co-worker) there are idiots out there. Some terrible, ignorant, idiots.

  • borrow_tunnel

    I sent an E-Mail asking if he would call his grandmother or great-grandmother, who likely had no choice but to breastfeed, a sow.