Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Backwardness of the Breast Feeding Debate

I have been confused for some time, but I am getting more confused each day.

I simply cannot grasp the outrage over breast feeding in public.

First, I cannot understand what is offensive about it. It is the most fundamental part of motherhood.

Perhaps I would understand it more if we actually had social rules of modesty, but we don't. The same people who complain about breastfeeding in public have no problem with publicly exposed breasts, or other intimate body parts, in general.

Hollywood award ceremonies and Red Carpet events are full of glamorous designer dresses that leave little to the imagination - and sometimes no imagination is necessary at all to see the body "beneath" the outfit.

We have Spring Breaks all over the country, where exposed breasts are the point and theme [Girls Gone Wild, soft-porn Spring Break videos are a hot seller].

We have Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which celebrates the exposure of breasts with a reward of beads

Even going to the local mall one can see nipples as women and girls of all ages walk around in thin, tight, braless shirts or dresses.

Yet, in none of these situations are men or women approaching the "offender" to express their disgust and outrage - and no lawmaker is trying to make it illegal.

Similarly, politicians are not making statements that women wearing this near-naked fashions "should have no problem with men groping them."

I do not believe women have any responsibility for men's reactions or inability to control themselves by what women wear, nor would I ever advocate any fashion censuring, I am just pointing out the hypocrisy in how people are treating the exposure of the same body parts.

Second, I am dumbfounded by the outrage by women in particular. 

In my ignorance, I thought, in the beginning, women were just reacting to the fear that "their men" might be looking at, and being attracted to, publicly breastfeeding mothers.

But then I watched the video with Alyssa Milano and Wendy and was completely shocked. 
Milano: "What about it upsets you?"
Wendy: "I don't need to see that. . . ."
Milano [referencing Miley Cyrus' suspender shirt]:  "So, for you, maybe you have sexualized breasts. That's okay, that they are. . . ."          
Wendy: "They're more sexual than a feeding thing. . . ."


So the fact that breasts are "sexual" means it is okay for them to be exposed if for sexual reasons, but shameful to be shown when not intended for a sexual purpose?

What kind of logic is that?  That is exactly like saying women's worth is sexual and nothing else. 

If the breasts are exposed for men's pleasure, even women are okay with it? 

But actually using female breasts for their original purpose, feeding of babies, is not okay because the intended purpose is not to benefit men's pleasure?

Didn't women fight for the right not to be on this earth just for men's pleasure? I know my mother truly thinks that was what she fought for during the women's movement of her time.

We really need to stop saying, "I do not know why I feel that way" and start exploring why we have these opinions. 

Is it from our own analysis or social programming?

Maybe nursing mothers makes us uncomfortable because we are having a hard time processing a "good" woman, a mother, having the same body parts (therefore, potentially same thoughts and desires) as sexualized women?

Because I am completely baffled by the backwardness of promoting near-naked fashion as female liberation but breast-feeding as outrageously offensive to society and "Family Values."

We preach "Family Values" but breastfeeding is shameful? What is closer to "Family Values" than breast feeding?


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