Friday, October 06, 2006

I recently read a letter to the editor that was published in my home town newspaper that just riled me no end. The writer extolled nursing mamas to "cover up!" and stated that she was so offended to see boobs with babies "dangling off the nipple" all over the place!

I (quietly) went ballistic. I sent a response to the editor, which wasn't published (too bad) but also emailed the writer (the paper published her email address with her letter). Her ignorance astounded me. She wasn't a mother, had no children. Just spouting off her own squeemish opinion.

Now I'm all for free speech, and this woman is no exception. She can express her opinions, no matter what the basis, all she wants. But to insult others who are just feeding their children.... geez!

It got me thinking. Why are we, as a culture, so offended by a breastfeeding mother but we have no qualms about a woman in tiny bikini selling beer, cars, you name it? Why is this OK? I barely show any skin when I NIP (nurse in public) and most people probably think I'm just cuddling my child. Yet I would never appear in public wearing a bikini, or for that matter, a belly tee or a "boobie shirt" yet these items are standard issue for just about any teenaged girl (and plenty of adult women too) but there's no great outcry about potential pedophiles or sex offenders getting aroused by scantily clad young girls!

In fact, there is so much squemishness about breast feeding in our culture, that my state, along with thiry-something others, has passed laws that protect a mother's right to breast feed in public. That's right all you squeemish folk... my right to breastfeed in public (and possibly offend you in the process) is legally protected. And just fyi... there is no legally recognized right no to be offended, so all of you who are need to just avert your eyes.

Why oh why has our culture sexualized the breast to this degree? For all of human history, breasts were feed bags. Think about it. Before the advent of infant formula, all babies were breastfed if they were to survive. There was no alternative. Breast feeding wasn't just normal, it was common place and everyday, and in fact, the survival of the human race was dependant upon it. But in only a few short generations, we have gone from commonplace to "wierd" and offending other people. That's right, the boobie patrol is worried about offending other people.

So, say it with me mamas, and say it loud:

Thank you. I'll be stepping down from my soap box for now.

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