A Texas mother has filed a complaint against lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, stating that not only was she denied the right to nurse her son in public, but that she was insulted by a store employee.
According to Fox News Insider on Friday, Ashley Clawson, 27, spent $150 inside of a Victoria’s Secret store in Austin last Monday. After she had made her purchases, she asked an employee if she could use the changing rooms to nurse her 4-month-old son Beckett.
The response Clawson claims she received? She was told to “go outside and nurse in the alley, where no one can see,” the irate mom reported.
“I said, ‘You want me to take my son outside and nurse him in an alley?’” Clawson recalled asking the sales associate. “She said, 'Yes,' just very matter-of-factly.”
Clawson said she was dumbfounded. She certainly was not about to go outside in colder and windy January temps and attempt to breast feed.
“I looked at my crying son and said, ‘Don't worry, son, I'm not going to make you go down an alley to eat,’ and I walked out of the store,” Clawson told GoodMorningAmerica.com.
Clawson, who also has a 2-year-old daughter, took her complaint to Facebook, writing:
“I have to blast Victoria's Secret at the Domain for telling me I wasn't allowed to nurse my very hungry, fussy son in their fitting room after I spent a fair amount in their store. She actually told me to go outside and walk down an alley where no one ‘usually’ goes and nurse him. Seriously?!? Lost a customer for sure.”
“I was immediately baffled,” she said. “I didn't walk into Victoria's Secret feeling entitled for them to give me a space. I was just trying to be polite.”
Actually, the Texas mom could have demanded space to nurse. In fact, she did not have to ask permission at all. Texas law grants nursing the mothers the right to nurse in public, a fact that was overlooked by the associate. Victoria’s Secret has even responded, stating that it is their “policy” to allow mothers to nurse inside of all their stores.
Clawson said she was too far from her car. So she ended up breastfeeding in the restroom of a nearby store. “I rushed to the nearest bathroom and breast fed him there sitting on the toilet,” she said. “There are many emotions I felt in that moment; disbelief, hopelessness, humiliation, anger, confusion.”
“I called the corporate office and the store manager,” Clawson said. “An hour later the manager said she'd confirmed the story with the other two associates who were there and said they were taking appropriate actions with the employee.”
Victoria's Secret issued a statement earlier this week that read, in part, "We take this issue very seriously. We have a longstanding policy permitting mothers to nurse their children in our stores and we are sorry that it was not followed in this case."
In a store filled with advertisements of 90-percent naked women and breasts in every corner, you would think that Victoria’s Secret would have welcomed Clawson’s request to use a private fitting room. For this store, sounds like the beauty of the female body, so heavily promoted by VS, stops a little short when it comes to nursing moms.