After I gave birth to my daughter, everyone became very interested in the fact that I breastfed in public. I fed my baby in other people’s homes, on park benches, in restaurants and at the mall, without thinking twice about it.
But apparently, what to me is obvious and natural isn’t so obvious and natural for other people.
Back in June of 2010, Kim Kardashian came under fire after she tweeted, “EWW Im at lunch, the woman at the table next 2 me is breast-feeding her baby w no coverup then puts baby on the table and changes her diaper.”
After an enormous backlash, Kardashian explained herself, tweeting: “My sister breast feeds! Its a natural beautiful thing, there’s nothing wrong w it, but she covers herself, not w her boobs exposed”.
Apparently, Kim Kardashian – a woman who has made a large part of her living flaunting her breasts on red carpets, in magazines, and on her TV show – thinks it’s gross for a woman to breastfeed her child in public without covering her breasts.
The sad part is, we all know she’s not the only one who feels this way.
When it came to my attention that there were people close to me who were uncomfortable with me breastfeeding in public, I had a conversation with my husband about it, and he summed it up quite nicely. “What’s the big deal? It’s not a titty show. You’re feeding your child!”
But of course, there are people who can only see it as a titty show. Because we live in a culture where breasts have been so heavily sexualized that there is no other way to see them except as sexual extensions to a woman’s body. We never consider the reason women have breasts is to feed children. We live in a world where breasts are used to titillate, tantalize, arouse, excite, entertain, tease and thrill. Where breasts are lifted, tucked, enlarged and adorned to entertain men – and women – and of course, to make a buck. We don’t think twice about breasts displayed on the covers of magazines, in music videos, in low-cut dresses or enlarged and splashed up on billboards.
But for a woman to breastfeed her child in public? Heaven forbid!
My advice to women is this: Don’t let the hypersexualization of your body in the media make you uncomfortable about using your body for what it was intended to do. Feed your child as you are comfortable, and let everyone else just deal with it. You’re providing nourishment and life. Like my man said, it’s not a show.