“In a Country with Billboards Covered in Tits”: Breastfeeding in Public Spoken Word Strikes Chord

“Viral” YouTube videos showing up in my Facebook or Twitter stream usually make me change mental channels faster than spam about my need for assistance with erectile dysfunction. And, I am ashamed to say, I generally find Spoken Word performance pretentious (I see my feminist cred flush away). But I pushed play on this one – Embarrassed -with a “whatever” attitude and now have British Spoken Word artist Hollie McNish playing in my head on a continuous loop. Just watch. Now.

Unquestionably for those of us faced with stares, criticism, harassment and ignorance about revealing our breasts in order to feed our children in public, this brilliant critique hits all the right points. It is true and lovely and loving, and angry and sad. Delivered with a working class street fervor, it is a beautiful expression of the absurdity inherent in public breastfeeding harassment.

I had to know who Hollie McNish was. The news stories about this work say very little – some giving the impression she is just a woman on the street uniquely expressing herself. What I found instead is an artist I should have been following long ago.

Here is her Spoken Word poem called Hate which presents the prejudice in today’s school yards as shared through the lives of the diverse individuals reduced to “they’re all the same” and ready to kill each other.

And here she is again, now recounting a pub conversation about immigration in Mathematics:

McNish is a poet, a rapper, an activist, a mother. McNish is a voice to be heard and a poet to be read. Once you have experienced the catharsis of the Spoken Word performance of Embarassed making the rounds in our breastfeeding world, check out the other works of activist artistic genius she has produced. Share those in your feeds as well. Thank you Hollie McNish. I will be watching for you.