Breast Feeding Frenzy, Time Mag Jumps the Wrong Shark
Cover of Facebook page Hey, LACMA! Breastfeeding isn't shameful.
"I breast-fed all three of my children, because the milk is free." Michelle Singletary
I wouldn't touch the Time Magazine article on mothers breast feeding older kids with a ten foot pole. For me, it's a simple equation: Amusement parks post signs with measured lines, You Must Be This Tall To Use This Ride. If Junior can reach Mom's breast, the opposite should apply. Step away from the Mothership and go pour your own glass of milk.
But that's just me. Other women can do what they want. Which is the central point. Freedom of choice. Which is getting lost in all the braying over boobs.
Time got the viral coverage it was aiming for, yet especially in light of recent assaults on women's rights to control their own bodies, Time also diverted important attention away from the real issues. Including the absolute right of any woman to breast feed her child.
And, of course, Time managed to further demean the discussion --and women-- by sexualizing it.
What is it about the female breast that turns Americans into horny teenage boys? Granted, female breasts have been idealized objects of sexual attraction since the beginning of time. But breast feeding as soft core porn? Something creepy this way comes...
No other Western culture assigns such over-the-top prurient power to the sight of a woman's breasts, regardless of whether she's sporting a low cut top, twirling tassels or nursing a baby.
Time's pandering overshadowed a story at the heart of a serious women's rights violation. Katie Jane Hamilton was nursing her baby in a quiet corner of the LA County Museum of Art last Saturday when a security employee told her, "cover yourself." Why? A complaint. She was making two other museum visitors "uncomfortable." No fool, Hamilton refused and called for a supervisor, noting that public breast feeding is legal in California.
Wait. Let's pause and think about that for a minute. We need laws to legalize breastfeeding?
Let's also remember this incident took place in a museum. Museums display art, which often displays ...wait for it... nudity! Why did those outraged patrons visit the museum at all? Surely they knew they were risking the horrors of breasts and buttocks, even genitalia, displayed in paintings and on sculptures everywhere.
Hortense Breast Feeding Paul, Paul Cezanne
As Katie Hamilton said, 'not that it matters,' she was displaying little more than a baby. A cute baby at that. Not much breast in evidence, less than many women wear on the street. No nipple ... a bizarre line to draw, come to think of it.
A baby can be fed modestly, with no part of mother's breast exposed. Most women prefer it that way. Yet unbelievably, nursing mothers are still scolded on airplanes, playgrounds, restaurants and many other public places for "exposing" their breasts.
Oh, please. If a nursing mother is a turn-on to any kid, his parents should start saving up for lots of therapy. Parents worried about exposing their kids to sexualized images should pay more attention to TV and the Internet.
Look at any Red Carpet event or music video, you'll find more exposed tits and ass than you'd ever see from a mother nursing her child. What's next, banning naked toes? Oh wait, that'll never happen, Tea Partiers wear flip flops.
Whatever she wears on her feet, Katie Hamilton stood her ground and started a Facebook page called "Hey, LACMA! Breastfeeding isn't shameful" where she received a public apology from the LA Museum. Plus, she's got lots of company -- nearly 500 women signed up in one day.
Still, too many Americans, at odds with wildly distorted views of sexuality are embracing a puritanical attitude that is as outlandish as it is outdated. These people need to take a good look at why they have so confused nature/nurture with pornography. The media isn't creating that message, just capitalizing on it.
All those hypocritical, self-righteous Right Wingnut bible thumpers need to remember that nothing is more natural than breast feeding. It's the ultimate reflection of a female's life-giving force. And for many new mothers, breast milk is the only food they can afford to provide.
Bottom line, breast feeding is a mother's personal choice. Mothers who choose the breast are finding themselves in the line of fire from nosey, uptight strangers who could care less about laws covering any choice but their own.
Look under a new mother's bed, you'll likely find a few pacifiers, a stuffed toy or two, maybe some books, definitely dust bunnies.
I'm willing to bet that a peek under the beds of the loudest male opponents of breast feeding will reveal a robust collection of porn.
Whether you are a mother, father, child or adult, I hope you'll agree we can join in saying, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! to each other and all mothers. Without them/us, where would we be?