ASHEVILLE – Breastfeeding mothers are meeting at Victoria’s Secret in Asheville Mall this Saturday at 1 p.m., staging a protest fueled by the two women recently booted from the lingerie shop for nursing their young.
In Racine, WI, two moms have organized a nation-wide “Nurse In” at the popular stores across the country. In two separate incidents and stores, the mothers were trying to nurse their offspring and told to leave.
“I’m doing this because of the two women who were shopping there and told they couldn’t use the dressing rooms or nurse in the store but had to use the bathrooms,” said Tali Branco, 21, of North Asheville, mother of a six-month-old.
On June 21, Rebecca Cook of Burlington, WI entered the store to check out the sales racks. Her daughter wanted to nurses, thus Cook took her into a dressing room. When the saleslady told her a dressing room wasn’t open, Cook said she’s just breastfeed in the store.
The Victoria Secret employee said no, pointing her toward the mall’s restrooms.
She was told, in her words, that the “sight of her breasts might offend a customer.”
Tali Branco thought this was ludicrous.
“I find it especially absurd that Victoria’s Secret of all places is freaking out about exposed breasts since it’s pretty much what they sell,” Branco said. “You see more in their magazines and store windows than you do when a mother nurses.”
At corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, spokeman Anthony Hebron, of Limited Brands which owns Victoria’s Secret, said the entire incident with the two women was an unfortunate mistake.
Breastfeeding in public is legal.
“”We have a long-standing policy which permits mothers to nurse in our stores,” he said. “We regret that recently our policies weren’t adhered to, but that did prompt us to make sure to re-educate our associates and let the public know.”