Got Milk? Yeah, Right Here In My Breasts.
My Friend Ain’t No Stripper
No, she hasn’t returned to a career as an exotic dancer. She’s breast-feeding her third child. And I exaggerate. She doesn’t flash her flesh. She discreetly covers the baby and herself with a blanket before the critical unveiling. But judging by the shocked expressions she gets from lookers-on, you’d think she had yanked off her top in the middle of church and twirled nipple tassels while whistling “The Stripper.”
Society’s Disdain For Breastfeeding In Public
The sad truth is that our society is more comfortable using breasts to titillate (yes, I think that’s the perfect word choice) than to nourish. Even though breast milk contains disease-fighting antibodies, society only wants to see breasts flopping out of halter tops, swim suits and evening gowns, especially if the flopping is in the interest of capitalism. Breasts are the O negative blood type of the advertising world; they’re the universal marketing tool that sells everything from air filters, beer and eyeglasses to jet skis, cigarettes and furniture. We’ve all seen those ads that seem to imply: “Buy this leather love seat and buxom beauties will line up for a chance to give it a test drive.” But when my friend uses her breasts in the way nature intended, faces redden and gazes avert.
Now, if she were at the swimming pool and her top fell off when she dove into the water, my friend would likely get “high scores” from all the poolside guys. You know the ones I’m talking about. Those poolside guys who ogle at you from behind their books and newspapers. Yet some of those same lounge-chair lizards freak out when a mother nurses her baby, and they demand the lifeguard to tell the mother to either cease and desist, or leave. Which leads to the big question: if lifeguards are now certified in CPR and Decency Patrol, why aren’t they busting men in Speedos?
Get Over It! Breastfeeding Is Good For Babies
We need to educate all of the “oglers” and “lifeguards” in our lives. They need to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of their lives. The next time these people’s delicate sensibilities are offended by the sight of a woman feeding her child, they need to be told that children who are breast-fed have a lower risk of Type I and Type II diabetes, and that women who breast-feed are not as likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer.
Society needs to get over its tittie fixation.
And why can’t we call them what they are? Breasts. Not boobs, jugs, bazooms or knockers. Breasts. No wonder people squirm in the presence of a mother feeding her child when we can’t bring ourselves to say the word. Maybe La Leche League, in its efforts to promote breast-feeding, has gotten it all wrong. They should start a campaign that refers to breast-feeding as “jug-feeding.”
When my sons were young, I considered myself a breast-feeding militant. I didn’t wave a fist and chant “Lactation Nation,” but I nursed whenever and wherever was necessary. I fed them in parks, shopping malls, restaurants, libraries and museums. We breast-fed on planes, trains, boats and buses. I even breast-fed while we were riding on the New York City subway, where we were just two faces in the crowd. My one regret I have is that I never conducted a sociological experiment on what it’s like to nurse at Hooters.
My friend called the other day to tell me she was already tired of it. Tired of the lack of support for her decision to breast-feed, tired of people thinking what she was doing was icky. She’d just returned from the hospital where a mammogram technician refused to x-ray a cyst because it would be messy and “milk will get everywhere.” Apparently milk’s categorized with pus and blood.
We decided breast-feeding needed a new PR campaign. The old arguments were outdated. Who cared about fewer ear infections and allergies or the increased bond between mother and child? So what if breast-feeding was more convenient than boiling bottles and mixing formula and way less expensive?
It was time to change tactics.
The nursing bra and pullovers with their discreet slits had to go. If a breast-feeding mother can be charged with indecent exposure while a thong-wearing woman is embraced by society, my friend needed a new image.
She needed to go bra-less and don a wet T-shirt!
Who knows? She might end up getting a job selling riding lawn mowers.