As of recently it has occurred to me that many people do not accept public breastfeeding as OK. This topic has taken-off on social media, as offended on-lookers argue what is and what isn’t appropriate about breasts and nipples. As if anyone could possibly try to claim that breastfeeding is immoral when presented in the social sphere while completely disregarding sultry media. But here they are, making quite the stink.
Having your breasts out in public is arguably sexual, according to those whom view women as shameless when they publicly take care of their child’s needs. I agree; breasts can be made sexual by an ignorant on-looker, but so can lips—if I want to stare at them like they have some sort of hypnotic, sensual, seductive, sexual power that’s so enticing I can’t control myself… I have to stare and gawk. How dare those lips force me to look?! Oh wait, I have self-control: I don’t have to look, stare, or gawk, and neither does anyone else. It’s called respect; learn the word and how to apply it.
Comments or general complaints like “Cover up!” and “You're in public, have some dignity” have been shouted at women feeding publicly or sharing pictures of their motherhood experience on social media. It’s not like she’s posting pornographic images of herself or her child. That is, unless you want to argue that your infancy was pornographic in nature. I doubt anyone wants to associate something so beautiful as a mother’s bond with her child to something so disturbing.
Men and women alike continue to insist that mothers cover up. Next, we’ll be back in the mid 1900s telling woman their skirts have to cover up their sexual ankles, and Heaven forbid you wear form-fitting pants! Some guy or gal might not be able to help but sexualize your skin at your expense, but don’t worry, they’ll blame you for not dressing according to some BS expectation.
I’m a woman, I have breasts and I have nipples! Big deal: so does the population at large. I also have legs and hips and lips. Nobody’s telling me to cover up that infamously sexy skin—not yet, I should say.
What does it say about these disgruntled on-lookers who can demoralize public breastfeeding, but, when I can flip to the next tab on my Internet page and type in “nipples” and see whatever images I want, nobody bats an eye. Most of these images come from an industry that thrives on monetary value while selling these women’s bodies. But put a tit in a baby’s mouth and the whole world loses their minds! It’s “indecent,” and “offensive”—there are children watching! Good, at least someone is teaching your child about Mother Nature and human nature.
The first step to overcoming any obstacle is starting with what we teach our children. Don’t let them fall pray to ignorance, don’t let them grow up thinking dehumanizing women—or men, for that matter—is acceptable. Teach them about their bodies, about self-confidence, and why they should be proud to be girls and boys. Don’t pit society against itself any worse than we already are.
For the Opposed who argue that children are watching, what about the nipples you see in dirty magazines, ones that your child could get ahold of? What about that pornographic video that you can’t hide from your pre-teen son or daughter on the net? What about that woman with legs for days squirming on the hood of a car in a skimpy bikini so small her butt and nipples might as well be hanging out, as she eats a burger sighing and moaning in ecstasy and sensual pleasure for some restaurant ad?
How do you explain to your child that a woman can be paid to act sexual for the world to see and it’s totally “fine,” but people treat feeding a baby in public like it’s a hate crime?
Media sexualizes breasts, puts them in lacy, see-though lingerie, and promotes them on the big screen completely bare, and even bouncing, shaking, or groped! But heaven forbid a stranger on the bus or in a waiting room, or on a bench feed her child in public! There’s nothing more natural in this world than a mother breastfeeding her young. You can go to a zoo and see this interaction, you may live on a farm and watch the young feed, or you have puppies and kittens—it’s all the same: a mother will feed her infant.
When an animal feeds her young, she “doesn’t know any better.” Why do we have to “know better” than to do what’s naturally nurturing? When a woman feeds her baby publicly, she’s immoral according to an easily offended society. But why is that? Is it because we’re not getting a real show out of it? We can’t actually see her nipples, and she not actually doing anything dirty or filthy with her breasts. If that’s what we’re so used to, is that what we expect, and even project onto her? Or is it because we’re all such prudes that what we do in private, no matter how immoral, unacceptable, or otherwise moral, is more acceptable than a mother feeding her infant? A woman should be able to breastfeed in public without feeling like she’s a bad person for not hiding in a dirty bathroom stall.
Then there’s the argument “if you have to do it in public, at least cover up.” Sure, she'll get right on that.
Why should she have to? Men don’t wear shirts on the daily, especially on hot days. So how could a mother possibly be offensive in anyone’s eyes when a man, muscular or flabby, flat or full in the breast department, is allowed to walk around unhindered by the masses? Women are still not afforded the same rights as men. Men had to fight for their rights to free their nipples, now it’s our turn.