who's the ECL?

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm not BAD evil, more like devil's food cake evil.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

NIPPLES

It's World Breastfeeding Month or something like that and I've been aware for some time of the crazy debate that is raging over a woman's right to breastfeed in public.

Let it be known to all, that a woman's right to breastfeed in public is protected by law.

That should be the end of the debate, right?

Yeah, well. Somewhere in the history of mankind something seriously wrong happened and sexuality became something to be ashamed of and punishable.

I will not get into my theories about the whys and hows; I'm sure you all have your theories too. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

I just want to publicly state: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BOOBS.

My friend, the Reluctant Lactivist, has been in the spotlight recently for her public breastfeeding advocacy. And she's in the Oregonian this week, and KATU news featured her story, and just go follow that above link and check out her blog.

I just want to remain focused on me over here at EBTC, and display for you, dear readers, my comment on her blog regarding NIPping (Nursing In Public). You just needed that background story and I have lazily supplied the link for you to go figure it out.

And so here it is, My Comment:

Well. I am not a nursing mother, although I am a strong breastfeeding advocate, and I believe babies have the right to be fed when they are hungry, no matter the location. I do not believe mothers should hide, or cover up, or feel ashamed when they breastfeed in public.

But I will say: yes, breasts are for feeding babies, but at least for me, unwed and childless, breasts are also very sexual--and what is wrong with that? I am sensing from this debate that breasts have become an either/or situation. Either they are (I'm exaggarating here to make a point) mammary glands with the sole functional purpose of feeding a child, or they are (again, exaggerating to make a point) sexual, dirty things that lead men and women into deviant behavior.

Why can't we allow our breasts to be everything they can be--and why can't it be okay for our culture to be comfortable with a little breast?

I Know that when a woman is breastfeeding it isn't a sexual act--it is a mother feeding her child, giving her child comfort, bonding with her child. And I think that people who are uncomfortable with seeing a woman breastfeed in public are uncomfortable with their own sexuality--and transferring it onto this lovely private moment between a mom and her baby, a private moment between the two of them even if she is standing in public.

So really, the root of the problem needs to be addressed here if we are to see some real change: and what a root it is. How do we get a society that is so confused about sex--is it dirty? Is it biological? Is it about love? Do we need it to love? Can we use it and abuse it? Is it bad? Is it good?--into a place where we can identify a healthy expression of our sexuality, and not be freaked out, threatened, or made to feel dirty, when we see a woman breastfeed her child? How can our own views about sex and our bodies change so that we can discern when an exposed breast is about sex (in a good way, bad way, or otherwise) and when it isn't?