Being a proponent of the idea that boobs should not be R-rated and that breastfeeding is an obviously beneficial choice for both woman and child, I greatly enjoyed a recent guest post on Ph.D. in Parenting, "Why SEEING breastfeeding on Facebook, and in real life, is important." The socially-accepted sexualization of women and their bodies is perpetuated by the patriarchal rape culture in which we live, and creates many unintended problems, such as the stigmatization of breast feeding.
I'd just like to talk a bit about the bigger picture here. When Facebook takes this stance against breastfeeding images, it stigmatizes breastfeeding women, and shames women into thinking that their breasts are much, much less than the amazing life-giving source they are. Nipplephobia has reached epic proportions here in North America, and this is to the supreme detriment of babies everywhere.Read the rest, including Emma's call for action on the original post.
...I've said this before, and I'll say it again: as a childbirth professional, but also as a woman, in general, it is absolutely crucial that one support ALL women to breastfeed their young.
Quite simply, this is about re-normalizing breastfeeding.
The more we hide it away, classify it as obscene, shame mothers into covering up while feeding, and encourage women to retire to "private" rooms in order to breastfeed the baby, the less we see of it in public, and the less and less people are comfortable with the very idea of nursing in public. This is the sad reality of this pathologically hyper-sexualized (yet sexually repressed…) North American culture of ours.
The solution seems quite simple to me; breastfeeding (and/or images of breastfeeding) need to be seen every day. I am convinced that SEEING more breastfeeding, wherever possible, is what will change our breastfeeding culture. Re-normalize it. There is no law prohibiting women from breastfeeding in public. And so women should do it. And they should feel completely free to do it. Lots of it. As much as possible.