Friday, December 3, 2010

On Beer Ads and Breastfeeding

I am a stay at home mom.

My job is raising my kids.

Some people might think this is an anti-feminist sort of role, but I would have to disagree.

Since becoming a mother and not being part of the outside the home workforce I think I have become more strongly pro-woman and woman's rights.

Most notably, I have become a strong supporter of breastfeeding and VBAC rights. Some might question whether these are feminist issues, but I would argue that they very much are.

We live in a society that has sexualized breasts to an absurd degree. Absurd because they have been sexualized right on past their primary function. Feeding babies. Breasts are for feeding babies. To turn this into something disgusting and sexual takes power away from women. My body created two little human beings. Then, once they were born, my body and my breasts continued to support and nourish them. I can think of nothing more powerful and womanly then that. To quote a somewhat corny line from God knows where, "I make milk, what's your superpower?"

There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding. I have read a few blogs and even heard a few snippy comments that imply or outright state that a breast feeding mother must be "getting off" on it. Bullshit. Comments like these only serve to diminsh a woman's self estemm and power and turn her into sexual object. I know dozens of nursing moms and I feel pretty confident saying that I doubt a single one gets anything other then a sense of bonding and maternal love from the act of breastfeeding.

But you can't sell beer with "those" sorts of breasts.

Everytime I breast fed in public I looked at it as a feminist act. It was me normalizing breasts. Not just normalizing breastfeeding but normalizing breasts. Taking them back from the beer ads and magazine covers and putting them back in their natural place. Which is a very feminist act. I know it made some people uncomfortable. I was glad it made some people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable meant it was challenging them. Change is always uncomfortable.

So to the woman who glared at me at Applebees while I was feeding my daughter, or the old woman who chastised my friend for feeding her son at Panera. You're welcome. Women who nurse in public are doing you, your daughters, and your grandaughters a favor.

And you're welcome.

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