I tend to be a nighttime blogger, and for good reason. As I type this one child is rubbing oatmeal in his hair, one is in her room watching tv, having “forgotten” she was banned from tv for two days for some infraction (I already know the excuse!), and the third has snagged my water bottle and is likely about to cover himself and his breakfast with it. So mornings tend to be a little hectic and its not easy to compose my thoughts in this kind of chaos.
Today I am going to make an exception. Something has happened that absolutely chaps my hide, and needs to be addressed. A friend sent me a link to a piece on the most recent cover of Babytalk magazine. For those who are not subscribers, Babytalk is as the name suggests a parenting magazine, focusing on babies and the early toddler years. It addresses all areas of pregnancy and babies, including the care and feeding thereof. So it would seem that when they recently did a cover photo of a baby breastfeeding, its just another issue in the mail, right? Wrong!
Babytalk magazing has received thus far over five thousand letters reguarding the cover photo. A full 25% of them expressing outrage that such a thing would be shown. I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to save outrage for things that are really important. Learning the school system is required to provide my son’s speech therapy, but ONLY during the school year makes me outraged. Even if this did bother me I couldn’t see it being more than a drop in the bucket, but thats just me. A sampling of letters I read about today spoke of women who were horrified, who hid it so their teenage sons wouldn’t see, several who even went so far as to rip off or shred the cover before their husbands saw it.
Keep in mind this wasn’t a neighbor’s copy of Playboy that accidently made it into their stack of mail. Its a parenting magazine. About babies. Who eat. And some of them breastfeed. From the breast. What is so horrible about this?????
As I told my friend, there is a line between nudity for pleasure, and nudity for what nature intended that isn’t often crossed. Men do not generally find the sight of breastfeeding arousing, and there is a sound biological reason for that (helps keep the natural spacing between babies to ensure survival of the offspring). So with that in mind, why is the sight of a breastfeeding woman so damned offensive? Babytalk editor Lisa Moran makes an excellent point-
“There is a real puritanical streak in America,” Moran told AFP. “You see celebrities practically baring their breasts all the time and no one seems to mind in this sort of sexual context.”
These women who are so outraged, are they as outraged when their husbands go to the movies and Sharon Stone takes her top off? Do they even blink when watching The Sopranos? Are they quick to change the channel when Pretty Woman is on and the kids are in bed? Or do they save that sort of outrage for seeing a baby eating in the healthiest, most natural way possible?
I have nursed 3 babies now, one of whom at 19 months is still going strong. I have never hesitated to do so in public when needed, and now as of July 1st, the laws of Alabama(as with most states) specifically protect my right to do so. Even as the public dissaproves, the tide is turning and the number of women breastfeeding is climbing higher and higher. Meaning the number of women you see nursing in magazines, on the street, and maybe *gasp* even on tv will go up as well.
So if your teenage sons are exposed to all these nursing breasts, whats the worst that will happen? They will learn to see it as normal, and maybe even encourage their future wives to breastfeed?
We can only hope.