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The bitty sketch

(36 Posts)
hunkermunker Sun 01-May-05 11:55:16

Why should I mind it? I'm not breastfeeding a 30-ish man, I'm breastfeeding a child.

If anyone said anything to me (they haven't - yet, except for a stupid GP who couldn't understand why I'd breastfed past 6 months, if at all!), I'd smile witheringly and ask them whether DS was in fact 30 and I'd not noticed.

DS is a child, David Walliams is a big man. Nobody would still be nursing a 30-year-old, so why the fuss?

Eulalia Sun 01-May-05 12:14:32

Agree hunkermunker. I can understand why people would find this offensive but on the other hand it is just too ridiculous to really take seriously. Someone on the other thread mentioned it portraying b/feeding as a 'fetish' - I am not sure about this. The thing is that just about everything can be seen as a fetish. I've seen used trainers on sale on Ebay as a fetish aritcle ?! Being a baby in itself is a big scene with some people - lots of adult baby clothes on sale and men who like to suck dummies and wear nappies. Yuk. The thing is that doesn't make being a baby wrong... of course not. So I suppose the same could be said of this sketch.

If it was a sketch of a 3 year old being fed then that would be different or even a child at all. What is a shame is that people can twist this sketch into having a go at children being breastfed, but lets face it they are going to have a go anyway and anything will give them ammunition.

If it were a sketch of a man in a pram with a dummy (and there have been plenty of them over the years) then you'd not get people going up to others and whipping dummies out of toddlers mouths and saying "that child is far too old for that". They think it is normal. What these people fail to forget is that a dummy is a nipple substitute and its weird that our society actually thinks that something artifical is more acceptable than the real thing.

Anyway to return to the sketch. It's not offensive to me but I think its not helping our society to accept breastfeeding as normal. It does portray the man as still being very attached to the mother which I think is a wrong image. Difficult one really - like so many of the Little Britain sketches - they can work on different levels.

beansprout Sun 01-May-05 12:25:19

I've had to hear "bitty" as I have fed ds which didn't make me laugh, only made me feel self conscious (as most women do when feeding in public).

I actually like LB, but just about all of the characters are potentially offensive Vicki Pollard (chavs/teenagers), Bubbles (obese people), Dafydd (gays) etc etc. Quite simply I don't think the bitty sketch is very funny but I don't think it is any more offensive than a lot of the others. In fact, there is a v strong tradition of comedy being based on unkind observations. Not that it makes it ok if you are offended but I don't think us b/feeders have been uniquely singled out for ridicule.

Is interesting though that it is seen as funny as clearly it is based on people's fears of children over the age of 1 or 2 being fed by their mums. Odd that we live in that sort of world. Could we argue that LB is challenging this or are we all too bloody sick of hearing "bitty"?!!

Tinker Sun 01-May-05 12:30:36

Agree, it's just given people a word to use now. Lots of people would be offended regardless of LB about seeing a toddler being breasftfed, remember the Urgh! comments when Fiona Armstrong (think it was her) who stated she had breastfed til her child was 4. At least anyone who uses the word now is advertising their witless lack of imagination.

Lots of LB is offensive (the point of it, probably). Still very funny sometimes

ionesmum Sun 01-May-05 13:50:22

I agree it's not that offensive given the context of LB. What offends me (and why I'm so annoyed about it) is that it's blindingly obvious that a lot of people will use it as a way of getting at bfeeding mums - as already is happening. The fact that it was recently voted the funniest sketch ever is worrying particularly as this programme is popular with young adults, and younger mums find it hard enough to get support for bf among their peer group as it is. Given the current anti bfeeding climate (and particularly extended bf - even the Guardian describes it as 'militant') it's very naive to think that this sketch won't make life even harder for those mums who already feel they can't bf their toddler in public. Maybe if our society was more accepting of bf thsi sketch wouldn't pose a problem, but sadly we are a long way from getting to that stage. I really don't know what Geraldine James could hav ebeen thinking when she agreed to do it.

spots Sun 01-May-05 20:07:08

When I first saw the sketch I laughed at it. I thought it was a very accurate portrayal of a baby's insistence on breastfeeding, no matter where or when, with the mother trying to refuse, but shrugging and smiling indulgently. As Eulalia points out, many sketches over the years have enjoyed adults behaving like children, and the more accurately they place infant behaviour in an adult context, the funnier they are. I wondered if Walliams or Lucas had partners/wives who were b/feeding as they wrote it.

I have come to resent the whole bloody thing more and more as I see how useful a tool it is for people who find ANY sort of b/feeding rather unsavoury. For a lot of people, it is the first reference in the 'breastfeeding' entry of their mental encyclopaedia. Really really dull and I agree it does nothing to forward the pro-b/feeding movement.

However I could easily be persuaded that the intention behind the sketch was quite different (G. James would be absolved somewhat) and that it evolved into a nastier thing when it hit a public which is terminally uncomfortable with the phenomenon of b/feeding in the first place.

mum2max Sun 01-May-05 21:02:57

I find LB quite funny, but am getting a little sick n tired of friends saying "bitty" in that stupid voice when they visit . Friends don't mean to be offensive I don't think, it's just the ones that either haven't had children or if they have, they didn't bf.
I just feel embarassed that people are focussing on me more than is necessary

Socci Sun 01-May-05 21:16:22

Message withdrawn

spots Sun 01-May-05 21:28:59

No I actually do agree Socci, but am not sure that the pisstake we feel is intrinsic to the sketch.

Having said that I have not seen it more than once! As I said, at the time of viewing I found it funny, and would go as far as to say I thought it was an affectionate portrayal of the attitude of a breastfeeding baby - transposed to an adult man, in order to send it up.

A public generally discomfited by breastfeeding saw the sketch and it became something more cruel.

It's always the stuff that makes people feel shifty that makes the most memorable comedy. Of course the sketch wouldn't have had an ounce of the impact if it had been about a man with a dummy!

bobbybob Sun 01-May-05 21:59:55

I see your point spots, but comedy like this has to be something that everyone has experienced to acheive it's intended aim. So for an example the yellow pages teenager having a party in the 80s, and having to find someone to repair the table. We've probably all been to the "parents away for the weekend" type party even if we haven't had one ourselves. If we have all been there it's funny to us all in the same way.

But as the Guardian article pointed out, lots of people haven't been exposed to any sort of breastfeeding, and so it becomes funny to different people in ways in perhaps it wasn't intended.

JulieF Sun 01-May-05 22:26:49

I don't like the sketch as my whole family are very unsupportive about breastfeeding and I have had to fight their ignorance. My husband laughs at the sketch and tells me that htis is why I shold give yup breastfeeding. He hates the fact I am still breastfeeding a 15 month old. My Dad says I will turn ds into a pervert.

I just think that at a time when we are trying to change the culture of breastfeeding and educating young people about it, that it is irresponsible.

BTW, I read an interview that said that they got the idea from a friend who was breastfeeding her 5 year old and asked for bitty.

colditz Sun 01-May-05 22:58:15

However upsetting it is to people who do breastfeed for an extended period, people who don't will find this sketch funny.

Comady isn't supposed to be responsible. It isn't supposed to make a worthy point. Why should they care if the nation has a bad attitude to breastfeeding?

The fact remains that the majority of people find this sketch very very funny. Who is it offensive to? Mothers who breastfeed full-grown men?

The writers don't have a responsibility to ensure that ignorant idiots don't say "bitty" to breastfeeding mothers.

Eulalia Mon 02-May-05 11:59:51


"My Dad says I will turn ds into a pervert."

How can he think this? What does he think is in the mind of a mere baby?

Socci Mon 02-May-05 12:04:34

Message withdrawn

Socci Mon 02-May-05 12:07:14

Message withdrawn

mum2max Wed 04-May-05 09:47:33

JulieF, also .
Perhaps your dh and dad are jealous of the bond you have with your ds? My dh has said it's my choice how long i bf for. Also that he's proud of me for sticking with it. An older friend of mine bf both 2 sons. One til 1.5 years, the oldest was 3 when she stopped. Sadly, the younger son died a few years ago. His mum is very glad she had that very special bond for so long.

yoyo Wed 04-May-05 10:00:36

Obviously some people get the joke and wouldn't dream of referring it to people who are actually feeding their children. Unfortunately there are too many people who aren't that sensitive.

I don't know the statistics but suspect that teenage mothers are those that are most unlikely to choose to breastfeed. I just wonder if they would be even more reluctant after seeing it portrayed in this way.

mummylonglegs Wed 04-May-05 10:12:58

I b/f dd until she was 18 months old and I'm glad this sketch wasn't around then! I'm not entirely sure if I find it funny or not even now.

All the sketches on LB are about 'corners' of society - the obese, gays, weird shop-owners and their customers etc. so contrary to what you suggest bobbybob not everyone WILL approach the sketches with the 'same' sense of humour. Not being gay, obese or a weird shop-owner I can't say if there's not something beyond humour that slightly offends me or stereotypes a minority in a way I think is damaging. With the b/f sketch I can imagine most people take it for what it is, a ridiculous idea of a 30-year-old man still b/f. But I can also imagine a small group of people making b/f mums feel very uncomfortable, especially if their kids are over 1 and especially if they need to b/f in public.

JulieF I'm really sorry you have that kind of negative reaction from your family. I had a bit of a hard time from in-laws and became a bit of a b/f fugitive from them. Pathetic isn't it? Why doesn't someone do a sketch about the people who have such hang-ups about b/f?

ks Wed 04-May-05 10:27:02

Message withdrawn

kerfuffle Wed 04-May-05 11:08:21

I too love little britain, but I always cringe at this sketch and also the one with the youth with a crush on his mate's gran. I don't think any of the sketches should be taken too seriously though. Comedy is about laughing at life. Matt Lucas is laughing at himself really. He is both overweight and gay which are both subjects of characters in the series. If you find it offensive then turn off the tv. Some people in society will always be insensitive because of their own insecurities, they probably laugh and say "bitty" when you breastfeed because they are embarrassed. Our culture doesn't see women breastfeeding openly as commonplace, as in Africa for example. My nephew saw me discreetly breastfeeding once and came to see what I was doing (he is 12), now everytime I see him he has an absolute fascination with it .I just don't think he has seen a woman breastfeedin before.

ruty Wed 04-May-05 11:47:07

yep, love little britain, but always been uncomfortable with bitty sketch, felt it very mysoginistic. never liked the one with the old lady either. I think its difficult, because they both show revulsion to women in general, not just to specific characters, like the other skeches. Revulsion to women who bfeed beyond 6months, revulsion towards old women. But the fact that people find them funny proves that these feelings exist in general society already.

ruty Wed 04-May-05 11:48:45

i mean mysogynistic!

FLUM Wed 04-May-05 11:53:31

people a bit funny about breast feeding; militant definately. I loved it. stopped at about ten months, baby didn't seem too bothered and I didn't want to breast feed a child with teeth etc or who might chat back at me.

some of my friends breastfeed older toddlers. I do find it wierd. it does make me feel a bit ikky. it just does. i don't mind them doing it though it is their choice.

however it is one of those prissy things that peopel seem to think is too holy to mention.

ie I find people eating with their mouth open ikky too. I would tell them to please close their mouth when eating as I find it distasteful.

I wouldn't tell a breast feeding mum to stop though. but I do find people wappling their tits out all over the place yukky. I always tried to be very discreet and calm when breast feeding and would drape a pashmina over baby so as not to put other people off their business

mum2max Wed 04-May-05 13:32:34

... and put the baby off their business as well!!
Sometimes I find it embarassing as some people aren't looking at ds feeding, they're looking at my boobs

Caligula Wed 04-May-05 13:51:49

I always took the attitude that if me feeding my baby was going to put someone off their business, they should piss off and do their business elsewhere.

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