A male student midwife complained about being prohibited from attending a women-only breastfeeding class run by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). You did just read that right. Chris Butt is pissed off because the NCT put the needs of their paying clients above a male student midwife. Obviously, he has felt the need to go off whinging about this. His article was published in a subscription only magazine, however the Daily Mail covered the story here.
So, Chris Butt went whining to the press because the NCT wouldn’t let him into a women-only breastfeeding support group. Here’s the thing, many women wouldn’t care about having a male midwife. Many women wouldn’t care about have a man in a breastfeeding support group. But, these women do. They joined a women-only group for a reason. We don’t need to interrogate each of them to decide which of them has a Patriarchy-approved reason for choosing a woman-only group. They did. Now, their choices need to be respected. It’s not like the NCT banned him from all their groups; just the woman-only one. And, yeah, as a midwife, he will get to see lots of women naked but these specific women don’t want him too. So, why should his desire to be in a women-only group trump the desire of these women to access support in a women-only environment?
Frankly, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather not have deliver my baby than a man who doesn’t get the need for women-only support groups. By putting his selfish desire above the wishes of a group of women who aren’t even his patients, Butt is demonstrating a distinct lack of empathy which I’ve always thought was necessary in the medical profession. Does Butt not understand that a large percentage of domestic violence starts during pregnancy? That these women-only groups are sometimes the *only* place a woman has to access support without the violent partner being involved? What about women who aren’t allowed to be in the presence of men they aren’t related to? Shouldn’t those women be able to access support too? Or, victims of sexualised violence who feel uncomfortable around men? Thankfully, the NCT said no but we shouldn’t even be having these discussions. There is nothing wrong with women-only groups. The fact that some men think there is says more about male privilege than it does about anything else.
And, doesn’t it strike anyone else as just a little bit creepy that this man is demanding the right to access a women-only breastfeeding group, even though, the NCT had offered him an alternative group that men could attend. I mean, why?