Why isn't she using a cover in front of all those other male Macaques?! And how dare she breastfeed her child at that advanced age!?
This is my last annoyed breastfeeding post. Promise….at least on this blog. I want this blog to be more of a silly/happy/fun place. So if I’m going to end my irritated posts (well about this subject) I’m going out with a bang:
I love Jesus, but sometimes I’m confused by some people that claim to be his followers.
I think half of our sexual repression leading to our oversexed society is partly due to puritan beliefs coming from mainstream churches.
I’m going to get really hippyish on you all, warning to leave now if you want.
The irritant coming from churches right now for me is breastfeeding.
When I enter the “mother’s nursing room” (a room designed specifically for breastfeeding ONLY) I see a about 12 infants all with their mothers wearing covers. Isn’t the point of this room so you don’t have to wear a cover? Not that you should even feel like you have to when you’re not in the room, but I just figured society would deem uncovered nursing in a “mother’s NURSING room” acceptable. I guess not. I don’t care what they do, but leave me alone, please.
Oh no, that is too easy. Funny looks I am used to I just smile and generally don’t talk to people, but once and awhile you’ll get a bold person that wants to make a cheeky comment. “Isn’t he a little old for that?” In a ridiculously condescending tone. My response, “No, he’s not a little old for that” in the same tone…yeah, I’m mocking her, I have no shame- if you’re going to be rude I’m going to be rude back. Of course that is the wrong attitude and I feel bad about it, but it shocks me that out of all places, churches are the most judgmental.
What bugs me is how people think they’re right about this.
Breasts are mammary glands. They are not designed to be an erogenous zone (technically the whole body is, but that is another conversation). Why do some people get aroused specifically by them? Because our repressed society is viewing them like this because we are told they should be hidden and it is the power of our minds (another reason it is so important that our society needs to get desensitized by breasts!).
I’d also like to point out it wasn’t long ago that knees (yes, patellas) were considered a sexual part of a human body. In a cultural anthropology class I read so many bizarre snippets of literature written in that time showing sexuality as cultural. All about knees. Explicit things about knees. It was hilarious, but seeing that that is how some people view breasts at this time in society it suddenly makes sense.
Now that knees can be seen walking around modern society we suddenly lost our lust for them. I also think a lot of it has to do with intent. If our intent is to arouse by taking our top off it is completely different than when we take it off to sunbath or feed our children. We can also arouse people in a bathing suit, or even in our clothes…intent has to be there.
Clearly, beauty and sexuality are subjective. Logically, we should be looking at what is biologically normal for the genus Homo. That will help us sift out cultural norms and look more at what our bodies are designed to do.
Another argument I hear is that women have full breasts and men do not, so clearly they will arouse men. There is slight truth to this statement. Men don’t gestate human beings. Women need breasts to feed their children. Plain and simple. Biologically, men look for strong and fertile women.
Human breasts are different from every other animal’s in that they are large even when we are not breastfeeding. When we became bipedal, the primary area males were attracted to, the posterior/gluteus maximus/whatever you’d like to call it, became subsidary. The breasts evolved to attract males, and not leave this large torso area on a woman to be unsexual and could leave her unfruitful.
Also, the shape of the breasts often indicate the fertility of the woman. Progesterone causes the breasts to become rounded, and progesterone is something some infertile women lack.
The problem today is the failure to see that everything on the human body is functional. Breasts are sexual, but that doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is. The vagina is sexual, but that doesn’t mean giving birth is. The penis is sexual, but that doesn’t mean peeing is.
It really scares me when people in western society actually see sustained/extended breastfeeding as sexual molestation. I mean, it is ridiculous and very very sad.
I also find it odd that some people may have a problem viewing a photo of a child being breastfed by their mother. At my parents house there is a very large photo hanging over my parents fireplace of me breastfeeding my mother. Company has always seen this picture, and photos and stories of breastfeeding did not just stay in the safety of our house, she made sure this was known. The way I was raised breastfeeding is no more intimate than cutting a child’s toenails or hugging or snuggling their mother. Would people find those pictures inappropriate? Of course not!
I definitely can get the argument of now posting ANY photos of your child’s face anywhere public, that is a legitimate argument to me, and you’ll have to take it up with 90% of blogging mothers….but specifically breastfeeding as unacceptable? Goodness gracious, I thought we were slightly more enlightened than that.
Our children pick up on these things. If you are showing pictures of everything but breastfeeding (or if you practice breastfeeding in private) they soon will feel it is a secretive and dirty act. Creating yet another generation of prudes 😉
I’m not saying everyone should breastfeed their child for five years, or at all. I’m saying it should be up to the mother when and where she does it. If you don’t want to do it, fine…but let other mothers parent the way they know is right for their child. We know what is right for Aram and even when I did feel like my body might be ready to wean, I realized his wasn’t. This is not something that we’re doing for self gratification (have you seen what happens to your breast after prolonged nursing? :-O ) It is something that we’re doing for our children, and I think every mother has a right to parent their child to the best of their ability- for some that may be sustained breastfeeding.
I’m also not saying that every mother should breastfeed their adopted child. Brian and I have decided that any personal contact or information from and of Samuel’s birth mother will remain personal to him and close friends and family, unless he is wanting to share. However, I will say, if Samuel’s birth mother had specifically weaned him (or he self weaned) prior to relinquishment or there would be disapproval (or just not specific approval) from her, we would change our parenting plan, because of how important her role is (and will continue to be) in his life. I feel every adopted parent knows what is right for their child…just like a biological child, and we must do what is right for them. Every child is different.
And that is my hang-up about breasts/breastfeeding in our society.