A while back, I wrote asking if atheist parents should wear controversial tshirts in public, especially with small children. I was reminded of this post when I was reading a transcript of the Modern Manners Guy podcast for last week. The episode was about breastfeeding etiquette in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. To sum it up, be discreet, be respectful, and be polite if someone comments. What really got me thinking though was how my views are changing about in-your-face activism. There is no denying that there is a double standard concerning what is "normal" and how appropriate it is for public viewing. Regarding the argument for not being forced to nurse in a restroom, Mr. Manners says this:
The argument for not nursing a baby in the restroom is usually, "You don't eat in there, and your little one shouldn't have to either." But be sure to take it all the way to heart. You don't eat your meals in the elevator or in the middle of a crowded theater either. There are usually places not too far from the hustle and bustle that can be better choices than smack in the middle of a crowded room.
I don't disagree with his advice, but you can see the double standard. I doubt anyone would even notice a baby drinking from a bottle in an elevator or movie theater. Religious tshirt also go largely unnoticed. Those things are "normal". That isn't my point though. I was actually struck by a different bit of mannerly advice I read in How to Be a Lady.
"Even if she doesn't agree with them, a lady does not belittle anyone... If this is an important cause in her life, she volunteers her time and her money to make changes. She does not confront or embarrass others."
I find this to be in line with how I feel about activism these days. I'm finding myself more polite in public, but more involved in organizations that promote awareness and change. I do think the double standards need to be eliminated, but that's no reason to be rude or offensive.