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Why Breastfeeding in Public is Still Controversial

Why Breastfeeding in Public is Still Controversial

As this is World Breastfeeding Week, I’d like to talk about – that’s right – breasts! It amazes me that breastfeeding is still controversial, but lingerie models whose breasts are barely†covered and breastraunts where your meal is served up with a heaping side of boobie are apparently acceptable in our culture.

I think it has to do with the fact that, when a woman is breastfeeding, she is not using her breast for titillation. For a woman or her partner to appreciate the sexual appeal of her breasts is a beautiful thing – if done respectfully. But lingerie models and breastraunt waitresses do not embody a respectful, empowered appreciation of sexuality. They embody objectification.† And because we’ve been bombarded by images that objectify women – primarily to sell things and to maintain existing power structures – we have become numb to it.

However, when a woman breastfeeds, we are forced to see the reality of her body. When women are dressed up in tops or bras that barely cover their nipples and paraded in front of leering eyes, the ones doing the leering seem to forget that there is a soul behind the breasts. Breastfeeding women are real women – lingerie models are fantasies. And as a culture, we still have a less than healthy relationship with the sexuality of real women.

There is nothing wrong with a woman dressing sexy or playing up her sex appeal. That can be a very empowering thing – but only if it’s done out of the woman’s appreciation of her body, not to sell things, maintain power structures, or win the approval of others.

 

Related:
What is Wrong with Cleavage? Boobiesgate on Sesame Street
Breast is Best (As Long as We Donít See it)!
World Breastfeeding Week: Surgeon General Reports Progress

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

73 comments

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11:33PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Breastfeeding is a Normal Beautiful Gift from a Mother to her Child ! Babies are Healthier if Breastfed for the first year of their life ! Most Doctors will tell you ,Breastfeeding your Child is the BEST thing you can do ! While some Formulas can cause allergic reactions in babies ! I did Both ! It's Damn sure NOT LAZY ! The Bottle is LAZY ! So Easy to just Prop a bottle up and let your baby Choke on it ! Or their teeth ROT ,because you let the baby drink juice at night ! Yes it can be painful ,at first,but after a few days it gets Easier,and the BOND you build with your child is Forever ! I breastfed 3 of my 4 kids ! 1st child I breastfed ,figured I'd try the bottle the 2nd child ,BIG Mistake ! My poor son VOMITED Every day,I thought he would Die from dehydration ! He was Allergic to Formula! I felt so bad ! So I made sure I NEVER used Formula again ! None of my other kids had a Vomiting problem either! I always breastfed at Home,and if my babies needed to nurse while we where out in public ,I always made sure to PUMP ,and bring a bottle ! So there you have it ! Anyone who says Its LAZY to Breastfeed is a IDIOT ! It's Hard at first ,but so Rewarding for Mom and Baby,and gets Mom back in shape Faster too ! :)

11:03PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

@christine m and your kids dont want to know how they came out of your blood splattered insides, dumb. yes because nature intended for you to get your breasts and squeeze them into another vessel for feeding? you know what I think your jealous, breast feeding takes love, patienece and perserverance you probably couldnt do so thats why you brobably hate it being done in public so much. you are probably the person that processes the crap out of foods because you think its lazy not to eat an apple straight of the tree because its in its natural beautiful state like mothers breastfeeding their child

4:19AM PDT on May 15, 2013

Mostly, when women breastfeed at home or in public, and especially as they get proficient at it, they are discreetly covered and you can't see their breasts let alone their nipples. If people stare continuously, they might catch a glimpse, but that is then their problem. Breast feeding is great, and is certainly not lazy as one commenter seems to state!

6:43PM PDT on May 11, 2013

Just because you breastfeed DOES NOT MAKE YOU LAZY!!!!! That statement pisses me OFF!!!!!!

I breastfeed, I am not lazy. I did it because it is best for the baby. I did it in public and never had anyone ever talk to me the way you - Christina M. - is talking on care2. I always had the baby covered and NO ONE EVER SAW MY BREAST.

I am sorry to other care2 members but this just makes me mad.

1:38AM PDT on May 11, 2013

Thank you :)

4:10AM PDT on May 10, 2013

For the lazy? Maybe Big Pharma propagates that view in order to make people buy artificial formulas?

4:04AM PDT on May 10, 2013

It's wrong to say that breastfeeding is for the lazy. It's not easy and sometimes it's painful.
If Christina is so revolted by that process,("disgusting", "filthy, sweaty breast") I find it hard to believe that she has given birth to three children, or that she braced herself to do that which was necessary to conceive them.

2:58AM PDT on May 10, 2013

Is Christina M just trolling? Can't believe a Care2 subscriber could hold such views

11:02AM PDT on Nov 3, 2012

The issue remains controversial worldwide for a variety of reasons (social and nutritional: even in the very regulated environment of Singapore, I read that there have been at least two "breast feeding sit-ins" over the last few years).

I also thought that the poll on the following site might be of related interest to Care2 users - the vote count is not very high yet, but, with sufficient numbers voting, maybe the idea will spread..

http://herbalhealthhelp.weebly.com/1/post/2012/10/breast-is-best-right.html

9:58PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

breastfeeding should not be done in public

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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