A new milk truck could be coming to town.
Performance artist Jill Miller is proposing to create The Milk Truck by buying an ice cream truck and putting a giant breast on the roof to create a mobile breastfeeding vehicle. Nursing mothers in Pittsburgh (where Miller is a faculty member at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University) who get looks of displeasure and unease when they do what mothers have been doing for, oh, eons — nursing their baby — could call the milk truck, which would hasten right over and provide them with a private space to feed a hungry little one.
Says Miller on Kickstarter, where she’s seeking $10,000 in funding by the end of the month to make the Milk Truck a reality:
We’re tired of hearing stories about women being asked to leave restaurants or “cover up” with a blanket while doing something as simple as feeding a baby. But we’re not the type to complain; we’re the type to take action. Which leads us to…The Milk Truck.
When a woman finds herself in a situation where she is discouraged, harassed, or unwelcome to breastfeed her baby in public, she summons The Milk Truck. The truck arrives to the location of the woman in need and provides her with a shelter for feeding her baby. The woman feeds her child, the shopkeeper who harassed her feels like a dweeb, and the truck does what it does best – creates a spectacle. (Which is, incidently, the very thing that the shopkeeper thought he was trying to avoid. Alas, some people have to learn the hard way.)
Not only is the truck meant to serve a most practical service to mothers; it’s also part of the Pittsburgh Biennial at the Andy Warhol Museum. After the exhibition (which runs from September 17 – December 10, 2011), Miller hopes to take the truck on the road to other cities.
At BoingBoing, one mother who says she’s breastfed two children points out that she “ain’t gonna wait for a truck to show up to feed [her] screaming child.” Certainly true — from personal experience, screaming children are a constituency whose demands must be met with exceeding speed — but Miller’s Milk Truck makes the point that, in today’s society, feeding a baby in the way that women have done since time immemorial is too often considered “socially unacceptable” or even simply “gross.”
I breastfed my now-strapping son for 13 months. I still remember the extra blanket I carried around “to give him a little privacy” when nursing him in public and having to make sure my wardrobe had “breast-feeding friendly” shirts. Looking back, those were halcyon days when feeding our boy didn’t require frequent runs to the grocery store to keep the refrigerator and cupboards stocked to accommodate a teenager’s appetite.
Here’s a video about Miller’s Milk Truck:
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Photo by Grahambones.