The Breastfeeding Controversy

It’s been all over Facebook, a woman wasn’t allowed to breastfeed her baby in a Victoria’s Secret changing room after making a large purchase. After that several articles about breastfeeding started popping up.

It’s funny, as a former breastfeeder you’d think I would be all in the know about how controversial breastfeeding is, but really I had no idea. Apparently people find it terribly offensive or obscene…which is weird.

I suppose I didn’t realize the controversy surrounding breastfeeding because all of my mom friends are pro breastfeeding. I’m pretty sure nearly every single one of my friends who are mothers all breastfed their babies and those who didn’t or couldn’t had no problem with me whipping out my breast to feed Jack. I would offer a verbal warning before pulling it out and if there were men around I would use my hooter hider, but that was more for my comfort than theirs. Even if I’m feeding my baby, I don’t need half my male friends to see my boob.

I think what’s at the heart of this controversy is this weird idea that breasts are ridiculously sexual. Here in America (I can’t speak to other parts of the world) breasts are so over sexualized that it’s hard to see them as what they are really for, feeding our young. So when we see a woman feeding an innocent baby with her sexy, sexy breast something in our brain can’t seem to reconcile the two. Most normal people would politely avert their eyes if they don’t want to see such a thing. But then there are those people that think their opinion about something that is totally not their business, matters. And that’s where articles like “11 Things Never to Say to Breastfeeding Mothers” comes from. Here’s a total tangent but number 8 on this list really bothered me. It said “Your breasts should belong to your husband, not your baby.” First of all, pretty sure breasts were made to FEED BABIES, not titillate your hubby so your argument is really stupid. And second my breasts don’t belong to anyone but me. When Jordan and I got married I didn’t think “Haha! Now his penis is mine!” The way I see it, marriage is much like learning to share your toys. You’ve got rad toys and so does your partner. And while you can share your toys and let your partner enjoy them, they are always your toys, they always belong to you. Ok rant over, back to the boobs.

If you look at the rest of the animal kingdom I can’t think of one other species that uses breasts for sexy time other than humans. (If I’m wrong please let me know. I didn’t research this at all, just couldn’t think of any animal that sexualizes breasts in a similar fashion as humans.) Breasts are used solely for feeding their babies. So why should humans be any different and why should it be something we keep under wraps?

I really don’t get this controversy. I don’t consider myself to be a lactivist, but if I was still breastfeeding I would do it when my baby needed it and not give it a second thought. It’s not as if we’re having sex on the street. Or taking a poo on the sidewalk (like almost every dog in Seattle). We’re providing nourishment to our babies. If you don’t like it maybe you should drape a blanket over your head.

On a totally unrelated note through this whole post I couldn’t spell breastfeeding right. I kept forgetting the d or the a. It was frustrating.

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4 responses to “The Breastfeeding Controversy

  1. Toys! I love that analogy. It’s funny, I think it jumps up into controversy every couple of years, or when a company employee makes a stink about it.

    • I’m glad you like my analogy!
      I suppose that’s just like anything. I see the breastfeeding controversy on Facebook has died down in the wake of the Seahawks winning the Superbowl. Oh, our ADD culture. 😉

  2. I totally agree with you Staci. As someone who is not a mother and will never be a mother, I can say that I am often uncomfortable when women decide to whip it out right next to me; but for me I simply remind myself that it is MY discomfort and the reason for it is exactly as you stated, breasts have been ridiculously over sexualized.

    • I can relate to the discomfort. Before I was a mom it weirded me out to see a mother breastfeeding, but I would just look away. It’s not as if I saw it as indecent. I was just uncomfortable. I’ve gotten much more laid back about it since having a baby.
      The way I felt as a mom was that I had two choices when Jack started to cry from hunger. 1. Let the baby cry till you get some place private to breastfeed and receive those “shut your kid up” glares. 2. Feed the baby to quiet it and receive those “Oh my god how indecent” stares. It’s a raw deal as both choices are equally scorned in our society.

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