Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baring Your Breast? Is Breastfeeding In Public Offensive?


One thing I don’t like is someone using a twisted sense of morality or decency to try to prevent something as healthy and natural as breastfeeding in public.

The above was a comment on a blog on wordpress, go to the following to see it:

Now I know I am an older person (stop laughing all right?!), however, I don't believe I am showing my age when I OBJECT to that remark, by someone called "Tim Merrick".  Yep, I get embarrassed as hell when a stranger partially undresses in front of me in a very public place, ok?  I do NOT have a twisted sense of morality or decency! 

What the original poster of the blog and succeeding posters, plus many many of those who have commented, including Tim Merrick, have NOT BOTHERED to take into account or even to think about, is the upbringing of people of my generation and the generation ahead of me!  Anyone who knows me will know that there is no way on earth I am a prude, a prissy miss, nor do I have a twisted anything - except perhaps my sense of humour. This does not prevent me from being embarrassed!

The generations younger than mine are far more relaxed and open about all things sexual, about their bodies, about their antics in the bedroom, whatever. I know I am not alone in the way I was introduced to matters pertaining to the "birds and the bees". 

My instruction was from a little book that my mother gave me to read, saying "If you have any questions just ask me".   I need to add here that if I had asked her anything she would have probably died on the spot from extreme mortification.  I don't think her mother told her and my aunt much, if anything at all.  It was all hush hush - and sex, bodies, menstruation, the whole of it - never to be spoken of, and definitely not in public!

As for bare bodies in ads - unthinkable!  No sex in the movies, just the waves suggesting motion  or some other 'subliminal' prompt.   I still can't watch a movie in which couples strip and dive into bed to have sex.  I find it extremely unnecessary and hideously uncomfortable.  Maybe that is my twisted sense of decency?  I just feel sex is a very private matter, and is between two people who love and care about each other.  Not for voyeuristic consumption.

Somehow I have come a long way in a short time, and can talk about many things quite openly, but will always have that training, that upbringing, lodged firmly in my mind and many of my attitudes.

Not speaking for the men of any generation, but the women I know don't agree with half naked female bodies being used to promote or sell anything.  We feel ashamed and embarrassed (there's that word again) when we see billboards or ads with young women posed in deliberately provocative ninon over none-on clothing.  Most of my mates disagree with this type of exploitation, and feel that there would be far fewer sex attacks and far more respect for women if this type of advertising was damned well banned.

Come on, you don't often see adverts using men with their bag of fruit hanging out, now do you?  Somehow women have become OBJECTS, and sexuality TRIVIALISED.  And girls and women go along with it.  No, I don't find bum cracks and bare bellies attractive, not at all.  And judging by remarks I read and hear, few others disagree with me.  I don't find tits hanging out all over the show attractive either. Whether it is the girl in the mall or a 'film star', it is just not a good look. They demean themselves.  There is a  distinction between looking sexy and looking like a tart.

And guess what else?  The original blogger lost the plot or missed the point or something.  The ads have nothing whatsoever to do with breast feeding!  Heigh Ho, the BF Nazis are going to hate me for this, but it has bugger all to do with women undressing in front of me at the bus stop.   Yes, yes, breastfeeding is all natural and healthy and whatnot etc etc.  IF you can do it - good luck to you.  BUT.  Please don't be one of those (and there are many many many of you) who deliberately go out of their way to make, or prove, a point.  What that point is (apart from their bare nipple) I am not sure. 

Hell's bells, I have stood with a friend of my daughter's, who said excuse,  placed baby in the sling and fed her.  Her respect for other people's feelings was enormous, and I applauded her.  My respect for her was also enormous.  She didn't make a display, nor an exhibition, nor a point.  She quietly got on and fed her baby.  And we quietly chatted while the little one had her meal.

In answer to the question posed - no.  Breastfeeding in public is not offensive, it is a certain type of mother who makes it into a spectacle that is offensive.

And in answer to those who say ' you don't have to look ' - how can you bloody well avoid looking when some women are so blatant about popping their boob in front of your eyes?  Some women feed their babies discreetly, respectfully, and with modesty - well I think the majority do - they are the ones I can smile at! 

The ones who show no discretion, no respect - which after all means 'consideration'  - to me it is just as though some strange boy dropped his pants in front of me.  The effect is exactly the same.  It is human nature to LOOK!  Yep, breastfeed in public because your baby needs feeding - but where you have wonderful quiet facilities to do so, why not use them?  If you don't have the facilities, have consideration and don't provoke!

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