Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
The main argument I’ve heard against breastfeeding in public is that it’s indecent. People claim how awful it is for children to be exposed to (gasp) breasts, and how any decent woman would never expose themselves to others in general. There could be lusting men out there, just waiting to catch a glimpse of leaky boobs.
Except, breasts were never intended as sexual objects. Breasts were biologically designed to provide nourishment to babies. That’s why humans have mammary glands, and breast size or shape has absolutely nothing to do with milk production.
Yet, our culture has decided that breasts (and nipples) are dirty things that should never be seen outside of a bedroom. As a breastfeeding mother, however, sexy is not the first word I would use for my breasts. Handy. Functional. They stop crying babies. Feed starving children. The last time my boobs were used for anything sexual was about three years ago. Good times.
The biggest issue I have with people saying that breasts are sexual objects is the fact that breasts are really a minimal part of sex. Sure, people are attracted to breasts. You know what else people are attracted to? Abs. Eyes. Lips. Even feet, for those really adventurous people out there.
Breasts also have absolutely no functional part of sex, at least nothing that you can’t also do to a man. Nipple play can go both ways. Other than that, they just kind of jiggle around.
It’s all contextual.
If I’m in a tiny bikini, bouncing around the beach, you could say that my breasts are sexual in that moment. If there is milk flowing from my nipple into my baby’s mouth, that is not sexual. Quit being a creep.
We even differentiate with our toddler. As her mother, I’m the only one with “titties” (our delightful term for breastfeeding). However, my toddler understands that everyone has boobies. She knows that she can only get milk from me, but everyone has breasts and nipples. Not sexual at all.
Do you know what else is contextual? Mouths. Sure, they have a completely functional purpose. They were made for eating! Just like breasts were made for feeding (gasp). Except, I’m sure that most people have done a lot more things with their mouths than I have ever done with my supposedly heinous public breastfeeding. You know who you are and what you’ve done with that supposedly innocent mouth, so we’ll just leave it at that.
Sexualizing anything is always contextual, and breasts that are feeding babies are just not sexy. They are nurturing and heart-warming. Women themselves are more than sexual objects, and that starts with recognizing the basics of biology. Let women breastfeed in public in peace, and if you’re truly that offended, go find a blanket to put over your head. This way you can hide your virgin eyes and keep your purity intact.