Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Boobs: It's What's For Dinner

Today I found myself in a ridiculous place: arguing with someone about breastfeeding on Facebook. Granted, I was surprised because the woman I was arguing with not only claimed to be a mother who nursed her children, but is also (if I'm not mistaken) a member of the same supposedly sex-positive community I'm affiliated with. It was just another (sorry) reminder that sometimes people who are open-minded sexually are far from open-minded in other arenas.
The argument revolved around a video that is making the rounds in which one woman showing a lot of cleavage/boobage is videotaped while sitting on a public bench. Then another woman, showing less boobage but breastfeeding a baby is videotaped. Both times, the comments and reactions of passersby are recorded. The second woman garnered a much more negative reaction, including some comments along the lines of "That's disgusting!"

What's so fascinating to me is that from the dawn of human existence, breasts have filled a dual role: that of sexual body part and that of baby feeding tool. Both of these roles are mentioned in The Bible, for example, yet this far into human evolution, we still haven't quite accepted that these two roles can peacefully co-exist. And I kind of wonder if that person who said the breastfeeding mother was disgusting knows that none of us would be here today if not for our breastfeeding ancestors.

The lady I was arguing with had the following stance on parenting: Women should either plan out their time in public so their babies will not need to eat, or they should not take their infants out in public, instead leaving them with their fathers or grandmothers. She felt mothers should respect other people and not let their children interfere with anyone's experience in public. She really felt like women have no business breastfeeding in public because it may offend someone. And I think she used the word "civility" like four times.

I had quite a different parenting style. First of all, at least one of my sons wouldn't take a bottle at all, so for a whlle, going anywhere without him was not really an option. Because I don't feel like mothers should be forced into seclusion for the first year or two of their children's lives, where I went, my kids went. They learned how to behave in public. And when they were hungry, I fed them. Despite trying to plan nursing times around outings, I found my babies didn't really give a shit if it was time to eat according to my schedule. They sort of had their own agendas. As for ruining other people's experiences in public, this was never really a thing for me. They might have cried once or twice, but guess what shuts up a crying baby pretty fast? A boob in their mouth, that's what!

So I'm not here to argue who is right or wrong (although feel free to share your stance). What I want to know is WHY are we still arguing about this? Women have the legal right to breastfeed wherever they choose. So why is this still such a hot button issue? What will it take to change it?

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