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.