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So said News & Observer reporter Josh Shaffer who went to check out Cup o Jane coffee shop/truck in Raleigh.  The gals in the truck are barely clad serving coffee in cutsie sized to-go containers modeled after bra cup sizes.  I saw the article on Twitter yesterday and, in an attempt to keep Twitter for the briefest (as in 140 characters brief) rants, jotted down some of my objections to address here, perhaps a more appropriate forum. Of course, anyone who objects to this truck will likely be labeled a killjoy, prude or j0314018worse…a feminist.  So let the name-calling begin.

As a society, we make such a fuss when women “put on a show” by breastfeeding their baby in public by shaming women who are simply trying to feed a hungry baby by telling them to “cover up” or “go to the bathroom” or just as bad (and illegal) demand that they leave, so “decent” people and kids aren’t offended.  Breastfeeding moms are doing what nature intended them to do with their breasts: feed a baby.  And they are putting on a show?  Cup o Jane is truly putting on a show and so far, those body critics remain silent.  When it comes to breasts, it seems, if they are perkily ready for sex or even have that appearance, you’re okay.  If you’re a mom with likely a lot less breast exposed (most breastfeeding moms that I’ve seen don’t strip down to a bra in public to feed their baby), then–bad luck– you’re discriminated against.  The double standard is just too much.

Whats the big deal, some ask?  It’s a new gimmick, they say.  Is it though?  I’d argue that it’s not new at all.  How is Cup o Jane any different from Hooters?  Do we really need to see women schlepping cheap food wearing next to nothing?  No.  And we adults aren’t the only ones out in the world in downtown Raleigh.  Do children need to see adult women in the back of a truck selling coffee wearing a bikini?  I strongly say “NO!”.  What message does it send that these women are admired, complimented, wrote about even….because they are exposing their bodies?  This is a dangerous lesson that kids learn, way more dangerous, by the way, that the “don’t talk to strangers” refrain that we’ve held on to for so long in spite of being confusing and having little connection to child abuse, abductions or the like. {Check out Lenore Skenazy’s site for more on this.}  The body message is an especially dangerous for little girls who are already sexualized way too early.  Girls as young as 6 years old understand “sexy” and aspire to it.  This is a problem, folks.  We all need to work to help boys and girls find positive role models.  Adult women modeling Daisy Dukes do not help.

Lastly, doesn’t this exhibitionism of this sort sell men short too?  I think it does.  It presupposes that men can’t think independently for themselves or have complex emotions, as Shaffer himself buys into with his self-mocking quip about not remembering that you came to a food truck for coffee and then, wow, forgot the coffee. Huh?  Are you really that much of a sex-driven robot that when a near naked woman takes your coffee order you find yourself so consumed with lust that you forgot you even ordered coffee?  Perpetuating this kind of belief system fails men.  It shows them in the worst possible light, as solely consumers of sex who cannot think of anything else.  How unfair and not true.  And of course this exhibitionism also assumes that all men are straight…but that’s an post of its own.

I’ve just touched the surface here but I think that I’ve made my point.  But maybe not?  Agree, disagree?  Let me know.  Clearly, I’ve picked a doozie with which to re-start posting at Swoon!