29 November 2010

More About Breastfeeding in Public

Can you tell I'm a breastfeeding mother with all the things I've been writing about that?  I came across a quote that struck me:
  Women’s breasts have become little more than sexual objects in our society. We are bombarded everyday with images of the female breast, and they are all of a sexual nature. In her article about "The Cultural Context of Breastfeeding," Katherine Dettwyler compares the American preoccupation with the breast to the ancient Chinese practice of foot binding. For women in ancient China, the idea that tiny feet symbolized sensuality compromised their ability to fulfil the foot's biological use - walking. Just as Chinese women were forced to hobble around because of a cultural belief about sensuality, modern American mothers are hobbled because the biological utilization of their breasts has been compromised by their sensual image.

It's an interesting comparison, and I can see why the link was made.  So often the arguments made against breastfeeding in public (or at all) are because people see it as sexual and either don't want to see it or don't want to breastfeed because they can't see their breasts as anything but sexual.  Or the implication that they would somehow have to give up their sexuality by breastfeeding.  None of this is true, though. Really, the last line of that paragraph just says it all.


  1. I live in Europe and it's hard to believe how hard it is for American mothers to breastfeed in public. While I can somehow see why someone could be uncomfortable around a naked nipple, I find it strange that the act of nursing in itself is often seen as offensive in the US.
    You have a nice quote there! Very true!

  2. I agree! I'm from the US, but live in England. Thankfully it's not a universal thing there, but does seem to be more prevalent. I haven't had problems during the visits to the US, though.