by Blythe Pavlik
This issue really gets my blood boiling. To go into all the issues surrounding breastfeeding, public or not, would be too labor intensive right now. But the issue that such bans or bills brings up is an issue of our hyper-sexual, sexually unhealthy society that can't see a breast as having any more value than as an object (never mind it is attached to a human being) of sexual titillation.
Without breastfeeding, none of us would be here. While some of us weren't breastfed personally or choose not to breastfeed - our ancestors relied on it for the survival of the human race. To equate breastfeeding in public to indecent exposure is a red flag that our society's values are schizophrenic.
Maybe public breastfeeding offends people (more often men) who can't see a breast for its biological value and thus choose to be offended by such a natural act - rather than getting his head checked. Or maybe it offends Nestle and other corrupt corporations that make baby formula using biotechnology. Maybe it offends the uptight because they haven't seen their own bodies in the nude for so long - that to see a partially bare breast reminds them that becoming too civilized removes us from our humanity.
What ever the reason is, it is UNREASONABLE and it needs to stop!
When natural processes like breastfeeding, birth and death are obstructed with man-made scientific B.S. we must take a step back and question where this river of natural denial is taking us.
This is a womens' rights issue. A baby's rights issue. A human rights issue. A consumer's rights issue. A citizen's rights issue. A nature's rights issue. It is even a mens' rights issue.
I have been around enough breast feeding breasts now that I have moved past the initial discomfort with it - and so should everyone else. The only thing that makes the breast obscene is our intention with it. If we STOP looking at women's bodies in pieces we might just recognize the enormous value of the whole woman.
A breast was never intended to be a man's play toy. It was always intended to feed his children.
So for anyone who has an issue with public breastfeeding, I invite you to critically examine where that discomfort comes from. Because it comes from a place that is in contrast with humanity and nature. It likely comes from outdated puritan values or from being immersed in a pornographic culture.
For me, this is just another example that we still live in a highly sexist society. The criminalization of breastfeeding is the result of misogyny. It is an act of control over women, sustained by women who buy into the societal norms (which is hard not to do), and perpetuated by the male gaze.
Come on people... lets evolve.