Breast Feeding Frenzy
"I breast-fed all three of my children, because the milk is free." Michelle Singletary
What is it about the female breast that turns Americans into blithering idiots? Breasts are body parts. Men have them too, albeit configured differently for obvious functional imperatives.
And granted, female breasts have been displayed for sexual attraction since the beginning of time, but certainly not by nursing mothers. No other Western culture assigns such over-the-top prurient power to the sight of a woman's bare breasts regardless of whether she's twirling tassels or nursing a baby with them.
This summer people went ballistic over the picture above of a baby nursing at a breast on the cover of Baby Talk magazine. Hello? It's called Baby Talk, not Playboy or Victoria's Secret. There's no nipple display ... an odd and bizarre line to draw, come to think of it.
More recently, unbelievably, a family was forced off an airplane by Delta because the mother was breast feeding. Delta claims they didn't mind the breast feeding as long as she was "discrete." The woman refused a blanket offered by a flight attendant, claiming no part of her breast was exposed.
Have you been on a plane lately? Everything is filthy. I wouldn't take a blanket for myself, much less a baby. Plus the woman was in the second to last row of the plane in the window seat next to her husband with her back to the aisle. Who was she going to offend?
Anyone who has children knows that when a new baby arrives, its siblings are going to see breast feeding up close and personal, over and over in their own homes. So why are supposedly mature adults in such a tizzy over a baby nursing on the cover of a magazine devoted to mothers? Or worried their husbands and sons will be turned on or traumatized by even a glimpse of a woman breast feeding on a plane or anywhere in public.
What bunk. Too many Americans, at odds with their distorted view of sexuality are embracing a puritanical viewpoint that is as outlandish as it is outdated. These people need to take a good look at why they have so confused nature with pornography.
This isn't Janet Jackson's breast revealed for effect at the Super Bowl, an even more innocuous flash in the pan as far as I'm concerned. And by the way, anyone who claims the Super Bowl is "family entertainment" is delusional. It's a brutal, bloody gladiator battle interspersed with outrageous and suggestive commercials. Which begs that old question, which is worse, Sex or Violence?
We're talking here about neither. This controversy is about an infant receiving nourishment from its mother's breast. Nothing is more natural. Or to many, more moving and beautiful. It's the ultimate reflection of nature's life-giving force. And for many new mothers, it's the only food they can afford to provide.
Bottom line, breast feeding is a mother's personal choice. And in most states is legal in public. But mothers who choose the breast, and those who try to support, educate and counsel them, are finding themselves in the line of fire from nosey strangers.
What do you want to bet that the loudest opponents to any sight or depiction of breast feeding have a robust collection of porn under the bed?