You don’t like me breastfeeding in public? Well, too bad. It’s legal. You’re shit out of luck. Don’t look.
I’m seriously so sick of this conversation I can’t even stand it anymore. Woman gets held in contempt of court for bringing her breastfeeding child to jury duty. Woman gets accosted at a recreation center by another woman for breastfeeding. Facebook bans images of women breastfeeding. Seriously? Do we have anything better to do with our time than decide to confront a woman performing a biological necessity instead of just looking the other way?
We live in a culture that glorifies the female body, but only when it’s sexualized, thin enough, young enough – and displayed for the titillation of men. Oh, and we don’t like nipples. Giant boobs are okay – just no nipples. A two-second nipple slip on a breastfeeding woman is enough to make some people lose their minds. I don’t find that sexy and/or your boobs are saggy so put that shit away. No one wants to see that. What did you say? Your baby is hungry? I don’t care. What’s really important here is my comfort and nipples that aren’t attached to fake sexualizes boobs creep me out. Mmkay? Thanks.
If you are bothered by the site of a woman feeding her child – the most natural thing in the world – just keep it to yourself. Or get some therapy. Or both.
We send women such mixed signals about this. First, we shove the necessity of it down their throats the entire time they are pregnant, in the form of breastfeeding posters and educational materials that guilt trip them into believing if they don’t do it they’re horrible mothers. Then, when the woman actually agrees it’s best for her baby – we inform her that we don’t want to see it. It’s inappropriate all of a sudden. Put those tits away!
I was very discreet when I breastfed my first child – to the point of discomfort. I never let it stop me from feeding him when he was hungry, but I was armed with wraps, blankets, cover-ups – anything to ensure the dreaded nipple flash wouldn’t happen. The only thing I succeeded in doing with this was basically creating a sweat lodge for my poor child. I’m not even a bashful person, but the social stigma around breastfeeding in public really got to me.
I used to work brunch in a restaurant in Brooklyn. Every Sunday a woman and her family would come in for what seemed to be their weekend ritual. Dad would read the paper, the kids would play amongst themselves and mom would sit down and without fail whip out her boob ad basically lay it on the table until she was ready to feed. Okay, it would only be out for few seconds – but the way that the other customers responded to her was amazing. The whole room would be transfixed for those few seconds.
I remember thinking, what is she doing? Why is she being so blatant about it? But then I came to the conclusion that she was basically my hero. I’m using her as my spirit animal this time around. I breastfeed my child whenever and wherever she needs it. The best way to combat this breastfeeding boob-phobia that is so pervasive in our culture is to just whip them out, I’ve decided. Screw you, screw him, screw her – screw everyone around me that has a problem with it. There is no problem. If you have a problem, you are the problem.
Basically what I’m saying is, our culture is totally f-ed up. We glorify violence, we fight for lax gun laws, we sexualize everything but we are totally offended by a woman feeding her child.
Why don’t all of you who are so anti-breastfeeding in public get angry about something that really matters? Like poverty? Or how pervasive violence is in the media and popular culture? We need to show more titties, and less violence. We need to stop harassing women for breastfeeding. And if it makes you really uncomfortable- you need to reach into your psyche, and think Why?
We have a hell of a lot of problems in this country- and nipples didn’t cause any of them.
I’m pro-boob, and you should be, too.