‘Lactivists’ Demonstrate That Breastfeeding Isn’t About Breasts
Forest Park’s recent crack down on “public indecency” is not being taken sitting down by Georgia mothers. On Monday, mothers, fathers, and children staged a “nurse-in” to protest the law that would prohibit public breastfeeding after two years of age. While I agree that it’s up to mothers to decide when to stop breasfeeding their babies, the new law highlights the ways in which women’s bodies can only be regarded in an erotic context.
Bashful mothers can now find a whole host of products to shield their feedings from pasersby — mini tents, blankets, and slings. Yet, the idea that the exposure of a breast, regardless of context, is fundamentally titillating and therefore lewd says more about the ways our culture views women than it does about the intention of mothers. Women’s breasts do have other functions besides the erotic — something that perhaps the Forest Park City Council would do well to recognize. The ladies who attended the nurse-in demonstrated this well by choosing nursing as their form of protest.
Breastfeeding mommies are not going out of their way to expose their breasts to the public. Women dedicated to this practice of childrearing have placed the well-being of their child at the forefront. But including their choices in with other acts of indecency such as exposure, public masturbation, or public sex sends a very clear cultural message: breasts can only be viewed in a sexual framework.