BREASTFEEDING IS MAKING HEADLINES!!!!
Let’s explore your fear of breastfeeding for a moment, shall we? Here in the US, where we pride ourselves on being free-thinking and more advanced than so many other countries….where we laugh at our puritan forefathers for their ridiculously restrictive ideas when it comes to bodies and sexuality, judge other cultures for the way they hide their women in Burkas and other traditional dressings to hide ‘offensive’ parts of her body like her legs and even face. Here in the United States, where we balk at the censorship of other nations and wave our flag and claim that it stands for freedom – it is here that the above headlines have appeared.
Women being sneered, judged, and even chastised and shoo’d out of public areas all because they are breastfeeding a baby. No, it’s not because they are showing their breasts! Don’t give me that….that’s just what you’re telling yourself to avoid the truth! The truth is that they were chased off for BREASTFEEDING! How do I know that? Well…think about it for a while. WHAT are you finding offensive about this situation?
A woman can walk into that restaurant wearing a top that reveals most of her breast and, while men may oogle and women roll their eyes and wonder how much she’s charging, she will not be approached and told to ‘put those things away!’. So long as her nipples are hidden from sight, she can be as revealing as she wants to be. Bikini tops and barely-there shirts…heck, cleavage has been perfectly acceptable since breasts were shoved into corsets and shoved up to their throats to show them off! So cleavage isn’t the problem.
A man can walk around topless – he will either get ‘eewwww’ looks if he’s older, not physically fit, or furry…or he will get nods of approval and flirty eyes and smiling stares if he’s young, buff, and tan. Nobody is looking at his nipples…they are looking at his BODY. Nobody will tell HIM to “cover those up!”
Okay…so cleavage is okay…and nipples are okay, so long as they are male. Female nipples? OHHHHH NO! RUN FOR COVER!! AAAAHHH…..she’s letting them OUT!
(sorry, had a panic moment there at just the thought of a female nipple. I can get control of myself – sorry about that.)
So it seems we have narrowed it down to only the female nipple that is objectionable. The problem that we will run into at this point is one of hypocrisy – we will claim that female nipples are the taboo that’s being breeched, and that she simply can NOT show her nipple in public! Problem is that a nursing baby is covering the nipple so it can not be seen! It’s physically impossible for a nipple to be seen while a woman is actively breastfeeding a baby! While baby is happily eating, you MIGHT see cleavage (even that is usually not visible), but we’ve already determined that cleavage is fine in this culture.
So if you can’t see her nipple, then what’s your problem with it? The milk? You’re worried about the sanitation of the milk? I’m confused, because you’ve suggested many times that she pump and bottlefed her expressed breastmilk…? If that’s acceptable, then it can’t be the sanitation of the milk, but must be the delivery method. And it’s not the visibility of the nipple, it’s the mental thought that she is breastfeeding a baby.
I know it is hard to change cultural views…it is that which is the core of how we’ve been raised. If you are raised to believe that breasts are only sexual, if that’s their only reference in your past, that is their sole known function – I understand that it can be challenging to grow up, think outside of your culture and upbringing and see the world differently. I had a grandmother that was a wonderful woman who lived many many years in her youth in the south. She loved all people and gave everyone an equal chance….but yes, the word “nigger” would come out of her mouth occasionally and there were hidden prejudices that she had been raised with that she fought against – because she felt that what she was raised to believe was wrong. She wouldn’t mistreat someone because of skin color, and would struggle against her upbringing to give everyone as fair of a chance as she could – but culture can go to the core!
I understand that you were raised to think that breasts were only for sexual purposes. In our culture, children and sexuality are required to be so distantly separated that even the idea of a baby coming out of the vagina or of a baby eating at a breast is becoming culturally taboo. Doesn’t make it right. You can do better than that. You have the ability to see the dual purpose, remove the sexual connotation of the breast and to see them as functional as well. It might hurt at first, but I know you can do it! Just as my grandmother admitted that blacks are equal and deserving of respect despite being raised to believe differently, you can admit that breasts can be used to feed a baby despite your culture.
Blacks needed people like my grandmother to believe in them and support them in their obtaining freedom – and our babies need people like you to believe in their right to the healthiest start that we can give them.
I promise you….it is much easier for you to look away than it is for that baby and mother to pack up and leave every time that baby needs to eat. It’s much easier for the white person to ignore the black sitting at the corner restaurant sipping his coffee than it is for the black person to find somewhere else to eat his meal. I look away when you are talking with your mouth full, I don’t say anything when you fart in the store I’m shopping in, and I forgive you when you wear clothes that are too tight, too low, in colors that clash.