Everywhere I look, I see boobs. Whether it's on a seductive lingerie commercial (those are fun to watch when 7 months pregnant and feeling huge!), on a billboard, in a magazine advertisement, or in a movie that hubby and I rented, there are boobs everywhere! No one even seems shocked or surprised by this fact. Yet people act disgusted when a woman openly breastfeeds in public.
What the heck?? What is with this double standard? Why is it not considered offensive to plaster women in lingerie or Hooters t-shirts all over a billboard yet a woman who is using her breasts for their actual purpose- FEEDING A BABY- is made to feel ashamed?
Picture this: a year or two ago, hubby and I were having a nice Saturday night in. We put our son to bed, popped some popcorn, and put in a DVD we rented. I believe the movie was "Good Luck Chuck", a movie I heard was hysterical. The first few scenes though are full of bare chested busty women. And NO- this was not pornography, this was a comedy. Now I'm no prude but it was so ridiculous that I could barely see past the boobs to enjoy the plot. (Was there a plot???) Date night was ruined as I screamed, "Turn this crap off! If I want to see titties, I'll look in the damn mirror!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
When we used to live in the Atlanta area, there were strip clubs everywhere. These strips clubs were well advertised too. Even before I was a mother, these billboards bothered me. I was a first grade teacher at the time and my students were just learning to read. I shuddered at the thought of one of my "babies" riding down the road with their parents and being exposed to pictures of half naked women on signs that read "STROKERS" or "PINK PONY". In fact, one of hubby's old co-workers had a little daughter who sounded out the words on the billboard and said, "Oooo daddy, what's the PINK PONY?" I imagine to a little girl, Pink Pony sounds like a magical and awesome place. Well...maybe to an old pervy man it was.....haha!
Half naked women just seem to be a normal, accepted thing in our culture. That is until women are popping out their breasts to feed their babies in public. OH NO! THE HORROR! I have actually been out with men and some women who have looked away in disgust when a women breastfed, uncovered, in public. Because of this, I was extremely self conscious about nursing my first child in public.
In fact, despite that fact that I owned a nursing cover, I never nursed in public. Never. Not at a restaurant, or a store, or even at the beach. A lot of that was due to my own insecurities of course but I know a small part of it was because I was too worried about what others would think. I constantly inconvenienced myself by nursing in bathroom stalls, the car, or even going home to nurse. I became even more self conscious when my son got to the age where he was able to grab things. Let's face it, few 7 month old babies are going to nurse calmly under a cover without trying to grab it and pull it off!
Now that I am expecting baby #2, I look back and wonder why I put myself out so much when I was breastfeeding my son. Nursing a child has to be one of the most natural, basic things any mammal does. Do I plan on popping out my exposed boob wherever I go? Of course not! (Sorry guys....) But I refuse to feel uncomfortable about nursing my baby in the middle of a restaurant discreetly, under a nursing cover. I refuse to let my food get cold or leave a store or beach so that I can go feed my baby on some toilet. (The majority of bathrooms don't even have a chair for women who need to nurse...)
Do me a favor. Please, please try not to be appalled the next time you see a woman breastfeeding her baby in public. Sometimes a baby is starving and crying so frantically that there just isn't always time to cover up before he is fed. In the meantime, I personally will be fast forwarding through the Victoria Secret commercials and avoiding magazines that boast half naked women on the covers! At least until I get my "body after baby" back.