I’ve been posting on and off about let-it-all-hang-out (literally!) breast-feeding in public, which seems to be a Very Important Feminist Cause these days, with gangs of suckling moms stripping to the waist as they stage “nurse-ins” on city buses and in latte shops around the country.

My position on such exhibitionism is simple: Yes, breast-feeding is beautiful and natural, but there’s a time and a place for everything. We require guys to wear shirts in restaurants–so why shouldn’t a woman, if she can’t find a private place to feed her baby, have to cover up, too, when she’s in a place where others are trying to eat? It won’t kill a kid to have to nurse under a blanket every now and then. (You can read a couple of my previous posts on the topic here and here, and the transcript of my National Public Radio debate on the subject with Chicago breast-activist Kasey Madden is here.)

But such arguments don’t seem to stop the nurse-in crowd. A few weeks ago, Gabrielle Redfern, who’s running for a seat on the Miami City Commission, decided it would be just fine to nurse her 1-year-old daughter, Elsie, while sitting in on a commission meeting listening to Miami Mayor David Demer’s State of the City address. When some other people at the meeting dared to criticize Redfern, some 16 other Miami moms showed up to nurse their infants at another commission meeting last week. Here’s what Redfern had to say (according to the Associated Press):

“I shouldn’t have to choose between being a publicly involved citizen and being a good mother.”

My response is: So who says you have to choose, Gabrielle? Aren’t there such things as baby-sitters? Then there’s the matter of Elsie’s age: Isn’t age 1–old enough to be walking– a bit advanced for feeding on demand?

No matter–Redfern has her ardent supporters among the usual liberal suspects, such as The Daily Kos

“Is part of the problem that what Gabrielle Redfern did was too earthy, too human for the cerebral, power-suit-attired, helmet-hair sphere of government?”

Well, we’ll see how far “earthy” goes come November. Four other candidates are competing against Redfern for the commission seat, and when I googled Redfern, I couldn’t find a single other thing she’d done besides making a spectacle out of her breasts that might qualify her for (or disqualify her from) holding public office. So it’s going to be a straight up-or-down vote on the issue of “earthy” versus “cerebral.” I’m betting on the helmet hair myself, even in laid-back Miami.

By the way, click onto the Seattle Times’s version of the AP story, if you want to see an example of “baby-wearing,” another Very Important Feminist Cause that I posted on last week here and here.