Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Lactivism

That is, of course, the name of the support movement for public breastfeeding, explained in this NYTimes article. Amy Welborn has lots of comments on it (including one by me), the ladies of Feminine Genius posted some thoughts (though I don't actually agree with most of their's...telling someone to put up with public breastfeeding and telling someone to put up with abortion are two very different things) and some thoughts from Domenico of Bettnet. The following paragraph of his hit the nail on the head:

This exposes the lie of the sexual-revolution-as-women’s-liberation claim because what all the skin is about is not making women the object of desire, but in denigrating what true womanhood is. Which is more feminine: Pamela Anderson in a bikini or your average mom nurturing her child from her own body?

His fiancee, Melanie, adds:
I would add that this is yet another indication that ours is a sex-obsessed culture. I bet the same people who object to breastfeeding have no problems with breasts in Victoria’s secret cataloges and the like. Breasts are acceptable as sex-objects but not in their primary function as nourishment for children. It should be no surprise that when contraception has divorced sex from its nuptial meaning even breastfeeding becomes stained with the taint of sex. This is just another symptom of our desperate need for our late Holy Father’s Theology of the Body.
I think some more conservative commentators feel this is an issue of modesty. But since when does a woman breastfeeding make her immodest? Yes, women should cover up when they do it in public, but it's not like they're using nourishing their children as an excuse to show some skin.

And on a more practical note: People say women who want to breastfeed while they're out should go to a bathroom to do it. There are a few problems with this. First, public restrooms very often smell of urine, which does not exactly make for a nice atmosphere in which to feed your child (would you want to eat your dinner in a public restroom?). Second, public restrooms can be very dangerous places for women.