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Women! Stop upsetting the Internet with your breastfeeding!

By Alice Bradley

As you may have heard, the League of Maternal Justice put a breastfeeding video up on YouTube, and the video was taken down. Not just flagged, like so many “inappropriate” videos are. Taken down.
The video was a tender slideshow of babies nursing. Such filth! Can you imagine such a thing!
This is getting to be silly. It’s one thing when Bill Maher comes out against breastfeeding in public: he’s confused and titillated (pun intended) by the workings of the female body. He likened breastfeeding to masturbation, which shows you how hazy his thinking is. But then Facebook takes down breastfeeding images and MySpace does the same thing, and has the world gone insane? These are pictures mostly of babies. Yes, you can see the curve of some breasts, and sometimes—gasp!—a sliver of nipple. But there’s a lot more boob to be found out there, and those pictures seem to be safe from deletion. As it should be! This is the Internet. And if I know anything, I know that the Internet is for porn.
And there’s the rub: while oiled-up breasts on display are perfectly acceptable, breasts used for their intended purpose are not porny enough—and thus, are deemed offensive. Wrap your brains around that one, if you dare.
It’s so desperately odd that people who are all for ogling breasts in various stages of undress would be disgusted and offended if they happened upon a breast being used for its intended purpose. That while women are told by every authority that breastfeeding is best for their baby, they’re treated like they’re doing something criminal if they attempt to feed their child in public. They should hide in shame, while feeding their child! And why, again? Because breasts are sexy! Now show us your tits! Get that baby out of the way, first!
Many other body parts are considered sexy, and we let some of those parade around in public. Men fetishize women’s legs, but if they saw those legs walking, would they be outraged? And what of butts, pray tell? What of butts? Should women be forced to hide the lower half of their bodies? Lips are considered pretty sexy, but if you saw someone eating or talking–displaying their sexy parts where anyone could see–would that be okay?
In some cultures, it’s not. But we’re not one of those cultures. Uh, right?
Did you notice how many question marks are in this post? It has not escaped my attention. There are going to be more. I have no answers, only questions. Exasperated questions.
It seems so asinine that breastfeeding in public is even a topic of discussion. What’s up with this, guys? Is it that your breasts aren’t good for anything? Does it enrage you that your nipples are just sitting there, mocking you with their vestigiality?
I know, I know, it’s not only men who are against public breastfeeding. Which really makes this so much sadder. We’ve internalized so much shame about our own bodies that we turn against other women who dare to use theirs with pride. Bleagh.
What kills me are all the people who wonder why breastfeeding pictures or videos are “necessary,” who say that if nursing women didn’t “flaunt” their breastfeeding, there wouldn’t be a problem. These images are on the Internet—where you actually have to seek them out to be insulted. These women are proud of their ability to feed their children, and rightly so. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. I couldn’t do it for as long as I would have liked. (I probably would have benefited from watching some videos, come to think of it.) And when you’re doing something so difficult and so good for your kid, and you’re being vilified for it, how could you not respond?
Related Posts:
Because Mother Nature made bottles for a reason.
Breast milk or alcohol: which is worse for your baby?

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

...

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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Shellie
Guest

All I have to say is one big fat AMEN!!! I think I will post some breastfeeding pictures sometime soon, just to titillate.

Liza
Guest

When I got to, “Does it enrage you that your nipples are just sitting there, mocking you with their vestigiality?” I spewed coffee into my keyboard.
Thanks. Thanks a lot. 😉

mothergoosemouse
Guest

Thank you. For the entertainment, the support, the reality check.

Emily
Guest
Emily

Excellent post Alice. It is crazy that women are criticized for not breastfeeding, and criticized for breastfeeding (in public). You really can’t win. Argh. What of butts, indeed!

Holly
Guest
Holly

Alice, you’re right, as usual. Pictures and videos are necessary. One of the reasons women in our culture find it difficult to breastfeed is because we don’t see women doing it. The majority of women in their 20s and 30s did not grow up with mothers who breastfed, so we never saw it in our homes. And, since women are so discouraged from breastfeeding in public it’s helpful if new mothers can see it somewhere. In person would be great, but online is a great second option. Also, these pictures and videos help to normalize breastfeeding, and new moms can… Read more »

Slim
Guest
Slim

As far as I can tell, women are supposed to feed their babies breastmilk, but without ever nursing in public or taking pumping breaks at work.
Mothers who deviate from this are just not trying hard enough. Don’t inflict those exposed breasts on us, you lazy no-good unworthy-to-be-called-mother exhibitionists! Wait, where are you going for fifteen minutes a couple of a times a day? Hey, is that . . . . formula?
Mothers of America, you are doing it wrong. And why are you so sensitive about this, anyway? Hormones, huh?

Sharron
Guest
Sharron

What!!!! These folks had better not come and shop at our mall in Manchester (UK) as there is a film currently showing on all their screens promoting breastfeeding, and showing babies actually feeding.

izzy's mama
Guest

It is a twisted world out there when it comes to boobs and breastfeeding. I wish I could answer your questions..why is it that men love to drool at cleavage and many women love to display theirs. Then it all changes as soon as it involves a baby. At which point some women are compelled to hide out and cover up and men avert their eyes.

Amy
Guest
Amy

To Sharron-that’s impressive.
I think we are just still way to Puritannical in this country.

Thea
Guest

Awww…that makes me sad.
Thanks for attacking the issue with such wit and humor – that does cheer me up a bit.

Lucy
Guest
Lucy

Well said, fair Alice.

ozma
Guest

I remember sometime when my daughter was about 8 mos. old we were watching the Daily Show online and there was a clip they showed of some democratic meeting and in the background a woman started to breastfeed her baby. And John Steward said (with his googly eyes) IS THAT WOMAN BREASTFEEDING? She’s breastfeeding!!! Like: Flaky ass hippy democrats and how can we respect a woman who is breastfeeding. Politically, the democrats are undermining even a smidgen of respect we might have for them by allowing such things. Etc. I cried for over an hour. Just the shame I felt.… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

I find it absolutely amazing that you can watch a guy giving a dolphin a blowjob on YouTube but not a video of breastfeeding. Wow.

Ahna
Guest

Isn’t shame a powerful weapon? I am so very happy to lsee that you – and many other’s – are standing up for what is right and natural.
Give me a break. Some guy wants us to stop breast feeding because it excites him? I’m sure there is someone out there that he can pay to let him try it out. (And THAT video would probably go untouched on the internet. Go figure.) Good grief.

Marcy
Guest

Thank you. You’re brilliant. Really. I want to forward this post to everyone in the world.

Rose
Guest

I wish I had written what you did!! I saw that particular episode of Bill Maher and I was so incensed at his ignorance that I was unable to speak clearly. While previously I had often found him funny, I also thought he was a little too arrogant a little too often, but after that diatribe, I refuse to watch him anymore. Thanks for putting into words exactly what I felt.

Marnie
Guest
Marnie

When I was breastfeeding my daughter, 6 years ago, I was surprised at the reactions I got. But, mostly, I was surprised and saddened by the reactions I got from women. Mostly, men just averted their eyes, lest they be accused of staring at breasts. But women — WOMEN either smiled, or gave me the most disgusted look I’d ever seen. some of those disgusted looks came from women who had children of various ages with them. Very, very sad; mostly that we can’t seem to support one another.

superblondgirl
Guest

I agree with you 110%. Possibly more. Breastfeeding is, of course, awesome, and it is not shameful, and that is what breasts are for, and our culture is generally stupid about the whole thing.

Angie
Guest

Whoa. You can see a guy giving a dolphin a blowjob on YouTube? And I thought the 911 call over an improperly made Western burger was bizarre. So, I have a question for the women who have been able to breastfeed their child up into the toddler/pre-school years. I know tone is sometimes hard to discern in an online comments environment, so please hear this in the genuinely curious, open-minded spirit in which I’m asking. For the record, I’m not a mother yet. It’s part of the 5-Year Plan, and if I can make it work, I definitely want to… Read more »

caramama
Guest

I’ve been thinking about this post all weekend. I kept trying to come up with a response.
I finally realized that you said exactly what I’d want to say, and frankly you say it much better and funnier than I do.
Thanks once again, Alice. You rock!

Amanda Brown
Guest

Well said. When I was nursing I pulled out my boobs whenever I needed to feed my child and couldn’t be bothered to try and hide my (three feet wide) areolas.

edj
Guest

This whole issue just makes me crazy. I can’t be rational about it. It is just about the STUPIDEST most asinine thing imaginable to be offended by a mother feeding a baby. I’m frothing at the mouth here (ick!) and I have nothing intelligent to add, so I’ll quit.

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

As far as I can tell, anyone who has never breastfed assumes that the act of the baby taking the milk results in sexual feelings in the mom. How dare anyone have sex in public! I always explained it as the same feeling of relief that you get when you have a really full bladder and you finally get to go to the bathroom. Totally unrelated to sex. Not exactly equivalent, but close. Hard to explain something to someone who has never, or will never, experience it. Like childbirth. Sexual? Not hardly.

robin j.
Guest

Angie, As someone who is still nursing (every few days, usually under a minute) a child who will be 4 in March: I never decided to nurse this long. It just kind of happened. I had thought that age 3 was my own personal upper comfort limit, but right around his birthday realized that was no longer the case. As for public nursing, it happens, I suppose, but only in extenuating circumstances. Last time was in October at a pumpkin farm. He hurt himself, I found a semi-secluded haybale to sit on, and comforted him in the most immediate and… Read more »

Mallory
Guest
Mallory

Angie, I’m probably resposonding to your questions way too late (a month later) but just in case you check this again, I’ll add my thoughts on breastfeeding into toddlerhood. Before he was born, I assumed I’d breastfeed until my baby (now 3 months old) was about 18 months. But once he was actually here, I changed my mind and decided to let him self wean for several reasons: It comforts and soothes him like nothing else will. And that, as every new mother knows, is a very valuable thing. Breastfeeding is a surprisingly tender act, and I like being able… Read more »