Breast is best

In his comment on ‘Prudish Jurisprudence?’, Iain mentioned that the American public has a very strange attitude: they decry images of naked women and sex on TV, but are quite happy to see violence. This made me think of a report concerning an American parenting magazine which featured a baby feeding from its mother’s breast on the cover. Seemed pretty tasteful to me: you couldn’t even see the mother’s nipple. I have to say that the first thing I noticed was the loving look on the baby’s cute little face.

There was uproar! 25% of the women who contacted the magazine complained because they found the image offensive. Some said it made them feel sick. One woman had to rip off the cover so her husband didn’t see it, another had to immediately turn the magazine face-down.

How ridiculous! Did these women feel sick when they looked down in the shower and saw their own breasts? How did they cope with breastfeeding their own children? Did they have to have their eyes shut while feeding their child? Or did they just immediately put their child on the bottle? I wonder about their husbands, as well, if they believe their husbands cannot cope with a picture of a breastfeeding baby.

It’s just a perfectly natural part of life. News for that 25%: we are MAMMALS. Being mammals, human mothers feed their young with milk which comes from nipples. Babies don’t think naked breasts are disgusting. They think they’re pretty nice.

I breastfeed my daughter, and I do so in public. I am pleased to say that I have never had any adverse comments. On the contrary: a few people have come up to say how gorgeous it is to see a happy baby having a nice feed. Of course, I am reasonably discreet – when my daughter allows this – she has a habit of pulling off the breast and rolling over to smile at everyone happily mid-feed. I think she’s trying to let everyone know how much she loves her milk! Obviously, Australians are more sensible than Americans in this regard.

However, if someone ever challenges me, I am going to ask them to explain to my crying baby why she can’t have her milk. I don’t think she’ll find their arguments convincing.

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7 Comments

Filed under breastfeeding, feminism, motherhood

7 responses to “Breast is best

  1. Armagnac Esq.

    If the US of A fell beneath the waves, and nobody saw it happen, would anybody care?

    Mind you, what about the absurd uproar when poor Kirsty Marshall tried this in Parliament, the people’s house??

  2. Legal Eagle

    Yes, that was ridiculous! As long as she was discreet, I don’t see what the problem was. Isn’t it better to be there and to be trying to listen to debate than to be locked in a room somewhere, unable to do her job?

    As I say, it’s natural!

  3. -k.

    Well said, LE.

    I cannot understand the furore surrounding breastfeeding and never have. I remember when Kate Langbroek fed her son on The Panel it actually made CNN, whereas I couldn’t see the issue. Similarly, the picture in question is beautiful – a child looking adoringly at its mother.

    Sadly, the reaction is indicative of the tastes of middle America. Puritane and small-minded, unfortunately.

  4. cherry ripe

    Poor Americans. They are so confused. Sex is disgusting, but ads for bum cream aren’t. Boobs are offensive (unless stuffed with silicone apparently), but guns, war and brutality aren’t.

    I also breastfed my child anywhere – on the tram, in restaurants, at markets. Now whenever I see a Mum breastfeeding I tell her how fabulous it is and that she’s doing the world a favour.

    La leche league in the USA is like our Nursing Mothers (now the very corporate Australian Breastfeeding Association). They have a seriously uphill battle on their hands.

  5. Serendipity

    I am very nearly sixty. Since my childhood many things have improved, one being that people no longer automatically kow tow to authority as people did for decades post-WW2.

    One thing I can say though is that I can distinctly remember women breastfeeding infants while protected by shawls or similar discreetly placed cloths.

    Maybe that is the difference and perhaps women need to be a little discreet.

    If I had my way such ‘modesty’ would not be required at all because children and adolescents in particular would benefit from seeing breastfeeding as a normal part of life.

    It is not just the wowsers who make women feel uncomfortable about breast feeding, it is the feminists as well. Many feminists have very weird spins on sex and family and ensure that they inflict their views on everybody. We should rejoice in our femininity and in the roles that inherent to that. Having and raising children and being family builders are our highest achievements (and greatest sources of bliss and contentment), yet there are those who would make us feel uncomfortable about it.

    I think that society was really getting somewhere, especially along the path to freedom and mutual respect in the seventies, but some zealots have really screwed it up for their own selfish agendas.

  6. vintagefan

    Hey, I really loved that picture, though I also read that a majority of men had a problem with it.

  7. Pingback: Now that's far too late to wean... « The Legal Soapbox

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