There are women who turn me on and I would bet most guys, if asked publically about these women who say, “Huh?” Publically, there is a very narrow range of the female form that fits the bill of beauty and there is a very broad range of the female form that is too something. In a most revealing point of too-fill-in-the-blank, Nicole Kidman was considered too tall when married to a man shorter than she, but that man has never been considered too short. Conversely, there are women who have been flaunted as beautiful by the public and I would say, “Huh?” I don’t get this preoccupation with blonde hair and large breasts on a frame that carries less flesh than a good sized dog.
Recently, national attention has been drawn to women’s breasts for a very different reason, and remarkably, it is the very reason breasts evolved in the first place, and that is to feed human offspring. For reasons I cannot fathom there are people who think public breast feeding is in some way sexual. Perhaps they think a bare breast in and of itself is somehow offensive. Men go shirtless all the time and no one gives their nipples a second though, or at least I never have, but generally speaking it is only women’s nipples that cause a problem for some people.
Time Magazine ran a cover photo of a woman breast feeding her four year old and the world came to a halt for these people.
First off, I suspect very strongly there is a group of men out there who become sexually aroused when watching women breast feed a child. I also suspect there is a group of men out there who get aroused when they watch a woman bath in blue paint or roll around in wet marbles or for that matter tap dance to Polka. But none of the aforementioned actions is a naturally occurring event that bonds a woman with a child and feeds the child at the same time. In short, breastfeeding has a function that benefits mother and child. It is a function that benefits society as a whole. It is as natural as breathing. It is as natural as love.
I’m going out on a limb here and say up front there are people who are going to disagree with me. FaceBook banned photos of mothers feeding their children and walked into a maelstrom of protest photos from moms. I have not looked into how that ended but I can tell you right now moms are not people to be trifled with. These women aren’t trying to make a statement they are trying to feed their kids. Get in the way of that if you want to but I’ll stay out of the fight if that is the fight you want.
So why would you want that fight?
What is it about the sight of a woman breastfeeding her child that offends you? Is it women in general? Is it breasts in general? Is it kids in general? Have you reached a point in your own mind that you have sexualized women’s breasts that the milk producing and nurturing qualities of the breast are now second place to the arousal in your mind? So women have to hide from your sight as so to prevent this?
I think that was the way things were in Afghanistan, before we invaded.
If you dislike the idea of being compared to some Islamic fundamentalist who thinks a woman ought to be wrapped from head to toe in black cloth then stop thinking like one. Should we not stop sexualizing the female human breast? Should we not stop the objectification of women? Should we not promote the intimate bond between parents and children? Does not the public display of breast feeding a child not advance all the ideas that I have presented?
Yet here we are. We are still having this conversation. And I am at a loss as to why this might be.
Actually, I’m not. I suspect this has a lot to do with control and power and money. Most issues human do involve these things. When we dehumanize women we replace that human being with an idea, an object, and that is easier to sell than selling a person, that being illegal right now. By putting into shame a woman’s natural body and natural functions we can sell products that replace the real with the unreal. A woman needs make-up, hair color, push-up bras, and has to hide her breasts when feeding a child but not when serving beer. Milk has to be taken in the bathroom whereas alcohol is shown on the big screen. Breasts as agents of advertising are pumped full of implants and oiled down and slicked up and photoshopped. Breasts as delivery systems for milk are hidden in a bathroom stall with other forms of waste that our bodies shamefully emit.
This mind set is carefully crafted, wrapped in religiosity, and those who are making money off of it aren’t doing anyone the good one mom sitting on a park bench with a baby happily feeding away does.
It is fundamental right for a mother to feed her child and there ought not be any restriction on when and where she chooses to do so. I’m uncertain why there are those who are offended or feel like something weird is going on here. Did they not breast feed? Are they ashamed of that now? Is there a cultural taboo on mother’s milk where we are not supposed to knowledge that we have been nurtured? What exactly are we talking about here? Are we speaking of sexuality or it is we are talking about feeding babies?
She’s pretty, she’s tall, she’s blonde, and she’s got a kid attached to one of her breasts, but Jamie Lynne Grumet isn’t an accidental spokesperson for breast feeding. Grumet is articulate and well versed in this battle. The selection for Grumet for the fight is as contrived as choosing Rosa Parks for the bus battle in Birmingham, but this time it is a case of breastfeeding versus breasts as objects of titillation or shame. Grumet hit a CNN interview with six inch stiletto heels and a serious attitude towards those who would try to cover her breast when she’s feeding her child.
I can’t say that Grumet is my kind of woman, but she is my kind of mother.