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Covering Up is a Feminist Issue (Video)


Last year, I wrote a post called Covering Up is a Feminist Issue after seeing yet another comment from a self-proclaimed non-judgmental woman asking why women can't just cover up when they are breastfeeding. The presumption that her comfort level should dictate how other people dress or act irked me into action. The post was fairly successful in creating dialogue on the issue, so I decided to take the concept and turn it into a video.  I've been working on it for a while and the recent comments from a Toronto police officer that women can avoid rape by not dressing like a "slut" prompted me to finish and launch the video.

Credits and Thank Yous

This video is a compilation of wonderful content created by other people. I would like to thank:



  • Alison Kramer from Nummies Nursing Bras for the inspiration to make a video and for her encouragement and advice.


  • Stephanie Montreuil from The Lotus Pad for her encouragement and support.



If you wish to share this video on your blog, please go ahead (you can get the embed code on YouTube). I would love link back here when you do and ideally a comment or an e-mail so that I can come and check out your post too.

Thank you for watching!

« Open Post | Main | Outsourcing discipline? »

Reader Comments (163)


February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDevan @ Accustomed Chaos

Well done - great work!

So many people tend to superimpose their own cultural identities on this topic, without proper regard for the "global village".

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterParentingExtra

WONDERFUL! I plan to share this on Facebook, as many people need to understand that my body is not theirs to direct (and so many others who know that need to be affirmed for their choice to respond appropriately).

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by phdinparenting, phdinparenting, phdinparenting, Cecily, Sarah and others. Sarah said: RT @phdinparenting: New video! Covering up is a feminist issue: http://bit.ly/gHERNG #fem2 #breastfeeding [...]

Your video is great! Thinking it's going to spread like wildfire, I won't be surprised to hear that you've been asked to be on Oprah. Best wishes to you and your family! Remember: One Day At A Time and Always #MakeItAGreatDay

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPat Hamilton

Well done! And I'm so happy to be a part of this video (with my sleepy sling baby enjoying some milk!)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDesiree Fawn

Annie this is absolutely amazing. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. This video is going to go viral I know it! Your passion and public awareness through education and information is a true inspiration and I am blessed to know you! Thank You :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Great job Annie!!!!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeanine

This is WONDERFUL. Thank you for taking the time to do it. Gorgeous and moving, and PERFECT.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTMae

Well done! Your message came across a lot louder and clearer than with words alone. Brilliant!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBusyDad

Great video, great message. Could not agree more. Will be sharing.

There was recently a lady here asked by a store owner to stop "doing that" because it was offending the other customers (in an otherwise empty store...huh). Vancouver Sun columnist Shelley Fralic wrote an editorial in response, equating nursing a baby in public with “wear[ing] a bikini to a funeral, or say[ing] the F-word in front of Grandma, or wear[ing] a hat at the dinner table, or walk[ing] naked through a children's playground.” She also proposed to give a breastfeeding etiquette lesson to breastfeeding mothers, ordering them to "cover up". What disgusting ignorance. Oppression indeed.

As a random side note, I used to work for Amanda's dad when I lived there. :-) Excellent song choice!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia


I saw Shelley's editorial (I think at least ten people sent me the link!) and sent her an e-mail with a link to my previous "Covering up is a feminist issue" post. She said thank you and promised to look at it, but never got back to me on whether it swayed her views or not.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I love the video! Great work. I posted it on my blog so some of my friends and family that are awkward about public breastfeeding will see it too.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Annie!!!!! What an amazing video! AMAZING. I love it! Thank you for making it.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

Good for you. Her history of slamming breastfeeding mothers who don't "cover up" makes me think it's not so likely, but one can always hope she'll come around eventually.

By the way, this entry would make a great submission to the link-up at the bottom of my most recent post on Breastfeeding...just saying. ;)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

I'm 38 weeks pregnant with my 2nd and this game me that sensation of 'let down'. Great vid.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiana

WOW Beautiful video!! Love it!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal - Prenatal Coach

Yes, it is. And you are awesome. Nice work!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I absolutely agree with the message! Very nicely done! Sharing it on Twitter now. :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara - Peegos

Beautiful! Just Beautiful! The message is so clear too. I have to admit, when I read the title I got a different impression about what the content was going to be, but knowing you I should have known better. I see a future appearance on Ellen in your future :) I'm going to post this in FB right now. Now I really need to get my blog up and going so I can post it there, too. Wonderful job! Love it, love you!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanika @ Your Organic Life

Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with the world!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Annie - beautiful video!! Would you share what software you used to create it?

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDionna @ Code Name: Mama

Wonderful video. It was very thought provoking. I must say that I had my own thoughts about how much skin should be shown by women and have often made unfair judgements on other women based on my standards. I had never really thought of it in this way before. Yes--the woman should decide how much skin she shows, whether breastfeeding or in her clothing choice. Thank you for this video!

Thanks BusyDad! It was a steep learning curve, but now that I've done one video I hope to make more.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I cried at how beautifully you made the point . Amazing thank for making this.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter2bkate

Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to make this.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

I. Love. This. Seriously. AMAZING job! I will be posting this on my blog. Thank you!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy


I used Animoto: http://animoto.com/. Very easy to use (follow the instructions carefully on optimizing images -- mine were getting cut off initially), but you give up a lot of flexibility/control. It took me a long time to make because I made mistakes and played around with it a lot, but now that I know it inside and out, I think it would be much quicker next time. It was recommended to me by Alison from Nummies Bras. Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) used it to produce her "Reflections of Motherhood" video: http://www.reflectionsofmotherhood.com/

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Love this!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

What a beautiful video! I'm constantly amazed at how much our society seems to want to dictate the actions of others while still trumpeting the individual's rights.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Thank you for a well thought out, well presented professional video. Children/ teenagers should use this as part of their sex-ed programs to counteract the sexualisation of the breasts. Thanks to all the mothers and babies who starred!! :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre

i love you. not in a creeper way just in a "thanks for saying it all for me" kind of way.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

I love love love your comment: "...many people need to understand that my body is not theirs to direct"! So right on!!!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndi

Wonderful video great message!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

What she said! :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanika @ Your Organic Life

I remember breastfeeding DD in public a couple of times under a breastfeeding smock thing. Even though it was lightweight cotton it got quite hot, especially because it was summer. As a first-time mom and so a first-time breastfeeder, I didn't feel empowered enough to just whip that cover off. (I did lift it a bit though to cool me and DD down.)

Society always seems to have something to say about the way women do things. Mostly negative. This video is a wonderful reminder to women to do what feels right for them, their bodies and their babies.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMel Gallant

Love it!!
I hope that this and the response helps those mamas who are nervous about NIP, I just wish it wasn't needed.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

I am a Muslim woman who chooses to cover. I really appreciate you including pictures of covered Muslim women. I also appreciate how the message that the amount of covering is up to the MOTHER.

I am extremely pro-breastfeeding, but I am sick of seeing comments on breastfeeding blogs/forums/websites that imply (or just say outright) that woman who cover while NIP are somehow hurting the breastfeeding movement by "hiding" their breastfeeding. No, I am hiding my private parts. When I have a large cover hanging from my neck and baby feet kicking out from under it, everyone knows what I am doing, trust me.

Can't we all just agree that breastfeeding is best, and support every woman in whatever way she chooses to make it work for her? To each her own......

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUmm Ayah

Excellent. I work at WIC and am planning to share this with the high school classes we will be speaking to about breastfeeding.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarge kleinberg


Your comment is so well stated and accurately depicts what a number of us women believe...

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenteriTenacious


Much appreciated video that clearly expresses the message!!

Enjoyed it!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenteriTenacious

Thank you! (I tried to say thanks once before, and I don't see it - hopefully I'm not spamming you with thanks ;))

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDionna @ Code Name: Mama

Love it!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie M

Yes, yes, a million times yes! Exactly!!!!!

OK to post on my blog? Thank you!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCin


Yes, please go ahead and post it to your blog. I would love a link back here when you do. Thanks!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thank you Marge!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Umm Ayah:

Thank you for your comment.

I do have to say that my feeling on this issue have evolved over time. As a breastfeeding mother who didn't want to cover, I did often feel that society was less likely to be accepting of my choice if everyone else was covering up or going to the nursing room. From that perspective, I did feel that it would be better for the breastfeeding movement if women didn't cover.

However, I now think that as long as there is a good variety of women who do cover and women who don't, that both options will be accepted by society. The problem comes in when everyone goes in one direction or another, which makes those who are different stand out. For a breastfeeding mother whose baby will not accept being covered or who finds it awkward to use a cover, that could mean that she opts not to nurse in public, which could make her more likely to supplement, to feel like she has to go and hide to nurse, or result in her choosing to wean early because it is just too difficult to nurse in public.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

BRILLIANT!!! Thank you Annie. Just like in the post you had written about this, I am so struck by how much more skin women show ALL THE TIME than when we are breastfeeding.

Email THIS to that Shelley Fralic :) !!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentereva

Love the video! I used it on my blog (with a link back to here). Thanks!

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBalancingJane

Annie! THANK YOU SO MUCH for putting together this beautiful video! You have identified and presented this issue with tenderness, beauty, passion, and class. I'm sure it will help to open eyes. You rock! :)

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProudNursingMama

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