What’s the Big Deal about Breastfeeding?

 

Breastfeeding was normal back in the day.

Breastfeeding was normal back in the day. No one seems to flinch or take notice. That’s how it should be,

Thanks to buzzfeed, we can see that “as-long-as-you-cover-up” hasn’t been around in the good old days. As a single woman without children, I fully support a mother’s right to breastfeed her child.

Certain comments make me cringe, such as, “Can’t they wait till they find a quiet place or go home to feed?” or “What about my right not to see it?” Here you go. This Q&A will answer some questions.

May I also add, please grow up and deal with it. No one is forcing you to watch. By the way, breastfeeding was shown on Sesame Street in 1977. It’s not worthwhile to pay attention to ludicrous comments from internet strangers. However, One comment that stood out to me was, “Why should a preschooler know about breastfeeding?” That seems very naive rather than a troll. Is he or she not aware of the nature of kids—whether extended family members, neighbor’s or family friend’s kids? Preschoolers are innately curious and will ask about everything from a person in a wheelchair, a deaf person signing, a person speaking another language or with a different skin color. It’s to show the child that all these are normal facts of life. If young children can handle it, then I’m sure adults can too. I never had my own children and I understand this perfectly. It’s not because I’m a woman and naturally in-tuned with childcare. It’s common sense. I have witnessed my younger cousins, neighbor kids, and hear about the characteristics of kids because it’s part of the real world we all live in.

Growing up, I saw women breastfeed, so I grew up thinking it was a normal part of life. Even the boys saw it as normal. I recall a friend’s 4-year-old younger brother asking his mom what the other woman was doing. In the most matter-of-fact tone, his mom explained the concept of feeding babies with mommy milk. Children will not make a big deal of it unless you make a big deal out of it. Again, who is the adult?

If people see a woman breastfeeding in public, I do not understand why they have to make rude, unnecessary comments, give dirty looks or glares, or be outright hostile. That’s what I hear about the experience of moms. I consider it harassment. Since breastfeeding is legal, it is not your place to be the morality police. If you want to be a pesky citizen assuming the role of morality police, then you don’t belong in America. You should probably consider moving elsewhere.

What the heck is the big deal with breasts in our culture? When I really think about it, breasts are just two blobs of fat hanging down from the chest plus mammary glands. I do not understand the obsession with these blobs of fat. Implants are apparently popular. Yet, trendy yogawear like Lululemon, Lucy, and the alike do not make yoga sports bras that fit women larger than B or C sizes. What’s the deal with that?  Any idea what a pain it is for a well-endowed athletic woman to find supportive sports bras? Regardless, I will live.

It’s interesting that in America, there seems to be a raunchy, hypersexualized culture that somewhat tolerates the antics of Miley & Lady Gaga. Then there’s Rihanna in transparent clothing that exposes her nipples. However, realism and deeper concepts of the human figure makes the general population uncomfortable. Everything is viewed through a pornified lens.

Anyone aware of Victoria’s Secret ads? I shop there because I totally love their cotton bras. The ads don’t bother me much. However, why should the most provocative ad be posted on the front store windows for all to see? Can’t it at least be inside the store while tamer ads are outside? I’m apparently uptight and probably one of those religious fanatics or uptight conservatives if I’m uncomfortable with an ad of a model in a low-cut bra posing in a sexualized manner visible to the general public, including children. Or Miley Cyrus walking on stage with a “top” of only 2 straps and putting everything on display. I think it’s trashy, tasteless, and inappropriate. But, some people tell me that I’m supposed to calm down, accept, and quit being a prude. However, the same kind of people who label me a prude have a problem with mothers breastfeeding? Apparently, our society-at-large considers it acceptable to expose some cleavage to look “hot” to men, but happening to expose some flesh when breastfeeding is indecent.

Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with looking hot to my significant other and only his attention is all I need. Sex itself is a beautiful thing. I don’t think of sex as something dirty or shameful. It’s a good thing. This is a different topic in itself. I’m an old-school feminist who doesn’t think girl power equates to sex power and the caliber of men one attracts. It seems backwards to me. I believe in sex-education. All I’m asking is to please stop the ridiculous objectification of women’s bodies.

If store managers and security personnel are going to kick out mothers for breastfeeding in public, then why can’t they also kick out women in extremely low-cut tops and booty shorts? Some girls look like they forgot to put their pants on when they walked out the door. Oh yeah, I forgot the line, “It’s a free country. If that offends you, then don’t look.” Likewise, don’t look at a baby drinking milk if you find it offensive.

If a stranger were to make a comment to a scantily dressed woman, that could be considered sexual harassment and it’s frankly creepy! None of us are the morality or fashion police. If it’s within the legal boundaries, she can wear it. If someone is offended, they can get away from her. Likewise, it is no one else’s business to harass a woman for only feeding her hungry baby. It’s her legal right (and the baby’s right to eat) whether you like it or not. She is not responsible for how you feel about it. Don’t disrespect any of my friends feeding their babies. If I were there and saw it, I’d want to punch you in the face. But hey, you’re not that important that I should risk going to jail.

There’s the woman feeding her baby in a cap and gown only to receive so much hate. I’m sure the ones who wrote those hateful comments are not perfect saints. I wonder how many of them looked at porn, threw their hard-earned money on strip clubs, or either have selfies of themselves or friends in lingerie. May I suggest putting it down and getting a life. Why do some people need random strangers to tell you that you’re hot and get likes online?

I don’t understand why that is acceptable by some people but breastfeeding isn’t. It seems that the haters have no recollection of women’s bodies’ natural and normal function. Most people seem to think that the acceptable function of breasts is to primarily please men. Have they not being paying attention to health class or sex ed.? Apparently not. Take a look at what happens when you ask adults to label both male and female reproductive organs?

Ignorance and being sheltered doesn’t have to happen in religious circles. (Don’t get me started). Over the years, I learned that it is possible to be sheltered even while attending public school or being out in the “real” world. In the so-called real world, there is brokenness and instability. Individuals in our society are increasingly isolated and either lacking or delayed in being properly socialized (or integrated as an individual) into the larger society of real people. When isolated, there tends to be a lack of empathy for the other. Empathy is what allows individuals relate to a person who is not like them or has a different view from them. Isolation tends to breed myopia or inability to think beyond self; thus, the inability to accept another person’s situation is the result.

I believe that most opponents to a mother’s rights to breastfeed in public have been so brainwashed with objectified images of women’s bodies that they do not recall the original function of breasts— and how babies eat.

2 thoughts on “What’s the Big Deal about Breastfeeding?

  1. As a marketing professional, I can only imagine that the demonization of public breastfeeding in our culture has something to do with the marketing efforts of the formula industry. Why give your baby free super-healthy food complete with antibodies to viruses when you could feed them expensive genetically modified crap? Though of course sometimes people genuinely need to use formula and it’s very important that the option exists when needed.

  2. You made an excellent point. I didn’t think about that. Yes, I can see that now. Exactly, why not shame mothers and demonize breastfeeding for industry benefit and profits. It’s an example of how marketing can manipulate culture.

    I thought it was because people are so isolated from community and used to seeing sexualized images of women. I noticed that you have Rihanna walking around naked in a sexualized way. But people are uncomfortable with realism.

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s