I have been thinking a lot about the controversial and sensation-causing breastfeeding Times magazine cover. When I first saw it, I was surprised and shocked by it even though I am a breastfeeding momma. I was surprised because I’ve never seen pictures like that in national media.
Now, I have seen plenty of photos of breastfeeding since I became a mom. Randy has joked by saying he’s never seen so much nudity since I got pregnant with Phoebe. The books I read, the products I have bought (especially when we were overseas in Europe), and the websites I look at all support breastfeeding so I’ve seen plenty of photos with moms feeding their children this way.
But we never see a mom nursing in public and never see pictures of breastfeeding in national media.
This cover caused a huge buzz! It was all over the internet and talk shows. Even breastfeeding advocates were critical about it, saying that the mom was not shown to be nurturing enough in this picture.
So here is my two cents about this controversy and why it irritates me. This controversy is very cultural.
When I visited Zimbabwe, it was common and normal to see a mom breastfeeding public in mixed company with men and women. No one thought anything of it because that is what they do in Zimbabwe. What was considered inappropriate was exposing both sides at the same time.
In Kosova, women would breastfeed in front of other people. In the city, you only did it in front of other women. In more rural areas, it did not matter when and where you nursed.
Here in America, it is really taboo to nurse anywhere except behind closed doors or draped with a blanket. Even at the breastfeeding support group I attended, where every single woman was breastfeeding and there was no one present who wasn’t breastfeeding, we had this unspoken rule that you had to keep covered.
God made moms to be multi-taskers and that definitely included our bodies! In both men and women, our privates were made for a couple different functions. The Lord made women’s breasts to be enjoyed by their husbands and also to sustain their children through nursing.
In our American culture at large, people want to acknowledge the first function but not the second. I’m not sure why this is.
You can see evidence of this everywhere. If you want proof, read this article about a mom who was breastfeeding in the women’s section of Target and asked to move into a fitting room. It’s not so much the article I care about but the comments by readers of the article.
So here is what really gets my goat. It is considered vile and disgusting for a mom to feed her baby in public, but it is considered attractive and beautiful when a woman wears clothing that highlights and draws attention to her cleavage! If you want evidence of this, just walk into any Wal-Mart and take notice how most of the women are dressed and what the focus point of most magazines covers are. Talk about double standard!
This drives me crazy! In this country, breasts are only viewed as sexual organs. People don’t want to think about them as having the God-given function of feeding children. That is considered disgusting!
As a Christian woman, I am not advocating your getting all angry and going out someplace public to defiantly breastfeed in public. But I am saying that, as women, we should not be embarrassed by doing something that God created us to do, especially if it is done in a manner that considers and respects others’ feelings and viewpoints.
I wish that this country was more like Zimbabwe or Kosova in that respect, but it isn’t. This is just another way that Satan has perverted what God has intended for good. Let’s do what we can, in a respectful manner, to reverse this trend. Let’s help make the change for breastfeeding to become the norm and exposing our cleavage to be a source of attraction to be what causes a scandalous, newsworthy sensation.
Are you applauding this post, or do you totally disagree with me? I’d welcome your thoughts either way.