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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Really?! In 2018 We're Still Arguing About Breastfeeding?

I honestly don’t get the never-ending uproar about breastfeeding in public.

I was so confused by this that I googled “arguments against public breastfeeding’, and noted that the following three reasons (in one form or another), are consistently the top three results:

#1: Public Nursing is Indecent (naughty, provocative, sexual, etc.)

Okay, what you're saying is that boobs are first and foremost sexual things, best kept for private enjoyment.

Think about this scenario for a second: You and your wife/Significant Other are in the privacy of your bedroom ‘making whoopee’ (to borrow a chaste phrase from ‘The Newlywed Game'), when suddenly one or more of your young children crashes the party unannounced. I don’t know about you, but the arrival of a little kid on the scene is like a bucket of cold water that instantly takes romance off the table.

See how something sexual instantly lost it's sexuality based on context? 

I’m a healthy heterosexual man, so I'd clearly be lying if I were to suggest that I don’t find the female form attractive. What can I say... I'm hard-wired that way. And yes, I’d even go so far as to say that when a woman dresses in such a way as to accentuate or partially reveal her breasts, it is only through a conscious effort and mental review of baseball statistics, that I don’t resort to leering. I think I’m fairly typical in that respect.

And I'll go even further... I think it is safe to say that if I encountered a bare-breasted woman in the course of my busy day, I would almost certainly be powerless to look away (discipline, social taboos and batting averages be damned).

However, toss a nursing baby into the picture... and, splash!, all erotic thoughts are instantly extinguished, just like with the gate-crashing kids in the boudoir.

#2: Public Nursing Can Be Dangerous (i.e. could lead to sexual harassment or even attacks)

This seems to have been covered by explanation for #1 above, but let’s try it again using smaller words:

Boobs are sexy. Boobs with a baby attached are not. Either way, they are hers, not yours.

Of course, Rule #34 of 4chan’s rules of the internet posits that ‘absolutely every possible thing has porn of it. No exceptions’. Which would strongly suggest that 'breastfeeding moms' must be a serious turn-on to some segment of the general population, however small. If this seems to apply to you, then guess what? You may have your own personal kink that you’ll just have to figure out how to keep under control. Again, your problem, not hers.

Think of it this way:  If you aren’t allowed to touch or harass the girls at the strip club where they are deliberately trying to turn you on, I think it is safe to assume that, at a minimum, the same rules apply to non-erotic venues where erotic intentions can't safely be assumed.

#3: Public Nursing  Causes Awkward Social Interactions

Okay, here I have to kind, sorta give a grudging partial point to the haters. 

NOTICE: I am not in any way suggesting that this is a valid reason to prohibit breastfeed in public. Full stop!

[I am 100% certain that this unambiguous statement will in no way inhibit someone from flaming me]

That said, I can totally recall countless times when I’ve had to study the ceiling or suddenly get very interested in my fingernails upon noticing that the woman I've been talking to had a baby attached to her by more than a snugly. 

But again, my problem, not hers.

Truth be told, I've had to avert my eyes and give the same kind of visual ‘pass’ in public to anyone  - male or female - who suddenly had the uncontrollable urge to scratch themselves in an intimate place (we’ve all been there!). And if you’ve ever encountered anyone a week or two after they’ve visited a waxing salon, you're familiar with ‘the dance’ (and hopefully have been polite enough to ignore it).

In fairness guys, women are forced to routinely put up with (and ignore) us ‘rearranging the troops’ when they fall out of ranks on hot, sweaty days. I'm confident that you can find something else to look at if she happens to be feeding her kid.  And if you can’t manage to maintain eye-contact with her, might I suggest an alternative destination for your eyes that, these days, is even more natural: your cellphone (while you’re there, you can check the baseball box scores).

Bottom line, forget all the crass boob jokes and Victorian-era prudishness. Breastfeeding is what they were designed to do.  All the other real or perceived visual/aesthetic considerations are, quite literally, in the eyes of (and therefore, the problem of), the beholder. 

We can’t suggest that women are full and equal (note I said, equal, not identical), participants in the business and social realms, while demanding that they don a Burka or go into forced hiding while doing one of the things that they were purpose-built to do.

Yes, many workplaces (and a few public venues) are providing lactation rooms; and that can be a comfortable option for women who wish to avail themselves of these conveniences.  But such places are the exception and not the rule.

And please don’t suggest that nursing moms should go into the bathroom in order to avoid offending your delicate sensibilities, since that’s where you go to do the private things that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in public.

That’s a crap argument! [pun intended]

You wouldn’t think of eating in a bathroom. It is ludicrous to suggest that a baby should!

Posted by David Bogner on July 15, 2018 | Permalink


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Well done David for speaking out. People do need reminding.

Posted by: Hilary | Jul 15, 2018 2:26:25 PM

In today's post-modern world of radical feminism, you cannot even discuss this as you are a male.

Posted by: Yisrael Medad | Jul 15, 2018 3:19:02 PM

Hilary ... Forget reminding. It seems many haven;t heard it for the first time! :-)

Yisrael Medad... And yet here I am doing just that. Who knew?

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 15, 2018 3:29:24 PM

Well said, David! I hope your wife is proud of you! I am!
Can I share on FB, please?

Posted by: Adele P | Jul 16, 2018 4:28:50 AM

Bravo! We Men do need to keep reminding other men that controlling their yetzer is their problem, not some woman's.

On a different note, YNet reports that Karim is home, but something is wrong with the comment button on your post about him and it leads to a 404 error. Touchingly, he says he was offered Pizza but refused it because his mother told him not to accept food from strangers.

Posted by: Rich | Jul 16, 2018 6:23:59 AM

Of course

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Posted by: David Bogner | Jul 16, 2018 4:11:32 PM

You forgot
4) Public breastfeeding cause diminution of formula manufacturer profits.
Inspiring women to feel shame over natural processes is an extremely important element of the economy. Without it their would be no sales of cosmetics, of razors, of hair dyes, or of formula.

Posted by: Rich | Jul 16, 2018 7:13:37 PM

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