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Monday, February 26, 2007Last Friday I had the opportunity to be a guest on the Dave Ross show on 710 KIRO talk radio in Seattle. Dave wanted to talk about the recent MySpace brouhaha over a picture of a nursing child on a mother's profile. We also had some general conversation about nursing in public and why people take issue with the use of breasts for nourishment.
While I was sitting here brainstorming some points to make on the show, one thought popped into my mind that I really hadn't addressed before.
Why all the misdirected disgust?
Here's what I mean by that. In general, when the whole breastfeeding in public debate comes up, we hear a lot of detractors talking about how "gross" and "inappropriate" it is to nurse in public. We also hear lots of accusations about moms "whipping it out" and claims that nursing mothers are simply exhibitionists trying to get their kicks by flashing their nipples in public. Us moms tend to do a lot of defending by making points about it being a natural way to feed our child, by making claims that nearly all moms go out of their way to be discreet and by claiming that children have the right to eat when and where they're hungry.
Those are all good points...but I can't help but wonder what the reaction might be if we turned it around a little.
What if WE started acting appalled and disgusted by the people that equate breastfeeding with sex. What if instead of defending ourselves, we made comments like
"Well I'm quite concerned that the sight of a child eating turned that man on...I just don't know how to react to that."
"Why is this woman staring at my breasts? I don't understand what the attraction is...I mean I understand the attraction for my child, but why is she so fascinated by them?"
What kind of world do we live in where we demonize the moms that feed their children and give free pass to the people that equate eating time with "dirty sex"? I have a feeling that if we responded that way, more people might start shifting their tactics away from the "ooohhh!!! naked breast = sex = baaaaaaaaaad" line of thinking and and back toward "well, I'm just uncomfortable" with it which makes it more clearly THEIR issue and to which the perfect response is "well, there are lots of other directions to look."
Labels: Nursing in Public