Once again, the Facebook furore surrounding breastfeeding has grabbed media attention.
Everyone is weighing in. I wasn't convinced I needed to.
But then I read a few comments on FB which got me thinking.
So much talk about how people supported breastfeeding but couldn't we all just be a bit more modest, a little more discreet?
This put me in mind of that old homophobic chestnut, "I don't care what you do in the privacy of your bedroom, just don't do it in my face."
Translation: I accept you but on my terms and only if you meet my conditions.
Hmmm, with due respect, FUCK THAT.
You can check out the offending photo causing all the current drama here.
It seems clear to me that this photo was posted to illicit a reaction. And if this is true, it's been enormously successful.
Do I have a personal opinion? Well, it solidifies for me why I never expressed and nursed at the same time. That looks like a bitch to do!
Would I ever post a photo like that on Facebook? No – but only because I'm deeply vain and I don't think expressing is my best look.
I wouldn't put a film of myself giving birth (explicit or otherwise) on YouTube either but I am eternally grateful to the women who do because I have watched so very many of them and been completely inspired.
Breastfeeding is STILL an issue. Will photos like this one, which serve to confront and can ultimately, polarize, bring about the necessary change? No, not solely. But in the same way that I wondered whether Slut Walk was the right avenue for bringing about change in society's antiquated views about how women choose to dress, I so admire that someone is doing something to reignite a dialogue.
A drop in the ocean is still a drop more than we had before. And sometimes we need to push the boundaries in order to get the conversation started.
People disagreeing on Facebook may seem an ineffective method for change but consider this. The people who tend to comment are those who have strong views one way or another. Watching those two parties go at eachother may seem as bloody and pointless as a dogfight. But what about all those people who sit somewhere in the middle, unsure about how they feel? There are people who would never comment who have gone away THINKING about the issue and weighing up the arguments.
We have no real way to measure the real impact of this kind of protest. And agitating may seem detrimental, overkill or offensive to many. But every fight that has been won in the past has involved a little bloodshed.
I have personally never been subjected to so much as a dirty look while breastfeeding. But it's clear many women have and continue to be. While ever this is the case, the fight must go on.
And Facebook's policy is ridiculous, no doubt. But the greater worry is that FB intervenes predominantly on the strength of someone "reporting" a photo as offensive – and when it comes to breastfeeding pictures, it seems people are reporting their little hearts (and even littler minds) out.
This indicates that we are still a society who can not cope with the female form being de-sexualised. Feeding a baby as nature intended confronts people in a way that a half naked model never would. Somehow, when a woman uses her breasts for feeding or her vagina for birthing, people are repulsed.
I'm not okay with that and I support those women attempting to change this disturbing and deeply entrenched view of the female body. Whether their methods are sound or not probably isn't the point. I'm sure people thought burning bras was the height of ridiculousness back in the day. And now? We speak of those women in reverent tones. How cool were they?
I'll finish by quoting something from the Australian Breastfeeding Association's recent media statement:
‘The publication of images of mothers breastfeeding their babies is critical to the process of normalising breastfeeding in our culture. As the leading breastfeeding authority in Australia, we consider it is important to work with publishers, media organisations across all formats — online, print and television — to promote the image of breastfeeding as normal and natural for human babies’
Amen to that.
Source: shotinvancouver.com via Sheila on Pinterest
Source: kellehampton.com via Mini on Pinterest
Source: google.com via Charlene on Pinterest
Source: saramcconnell.ca via bossykena on Pinterest
Source: thematernallens.blogspot.com via Kim on Pinterest
Source: babble.com via H on Pinterest
Source: maeburkephoto.blogspot.com via bossykena on Pinterest
Well said Little Mumma. Just a comment on bra burning: the women who continued braless (hey we all TRIED it) have tits down to their ankles 40 years later. But it did feel like a beginning of a change at the time and it was! I love to see that your generation are still fighting the good fight. If anything gets me riled it’s women of my age who say “I’m not a feminist but…”. Then again we are still fighting for equal pay in 2012. Can you believe it?!
Loved looking at these pics. I’m right behind the ABA’s statement, BF needs to be seen to make/keep it noramlised.
I enjoyed sourcing the pics! And going back through my own. They’re beautiful, aren’t they?
Thanks for reading.
Tits to your ankles, tits to your waist….is there much difference in the end? They’re all heading south, let’s face it! 😉
LOVE the breastfeeding pics, gorgeous. And a big Fu@k you to Miranda Kerr for being so god damn hot (I’m not at ALL envious of her in any way, shape or form).
Oh, I know! Couldn’t you just strangle her organic, gluten-free neck???
And although all these pictures are a little different, they all convey for me what breastfeeding is – serene and beautiful. Love it.
I’m done with mini-essay comments today, so I’ll just say: Awesome piece!
Adorable photos you’ve sourced, too (and of you – naturally). Some of them are so beautifully dreamy, and I remember that feeling all too well.
I know people bitched when Miranda Kerr posted that pic, but I LOVE it. A Victoria’s Secret model using her boobs as nature intended? Gasp! Good on her, I say.
Thank you, lovey.
I know, the reaction to Miranda Kerr posting a boobing photo (it was actually a different one of her lying down in bed feeding, I think) was out of control.
I think it was particularly confronting for people BECAUSE she was a model whose body they were used to viewing as purely sexual. People were very uncomfortable with her reassigning her body’s purpose.
Why? It’s so very disturbing.
Angie, these photos are beautiful. If anyone had a problem with these, I would say the issue lies with them.
Aren’t they, though?
People are so mixed up about how to feel about the female body, aren’t they?
I remember those first shots too (they were gorgeous) – but here in the media, people seemed just as aghast when the above shot was posted. Idiots, huh?
And yes, it’s incredibly disturbing how people can’t reconcile what boobs are meant to do.
Why can’t boobs be all things to all people? I use mine for good AND evil.
I have always loved my boobs and worn them with pride. Short legs, ordinary hair – boobs were my thing! Being such a boob girl in my twenties and equating them with what made me sexy and womanly had me wondering whether I would dislike breastfeeding or resent it. What I realised is that breastfeeding just made me love them more! They’re so damn perfect – aesthetically and functionally. Whoever designed them was a genius.
Genius indeed! The inventor should get a Pulitzer Prize.
So Eloquently Put! Thanks for keeping the message out there. One day breastfeeding will be perceived as a very normal thing to do – anywhere!
Love all the Breastfeeding Mums at Mamaway