A conservative own goals on breastfeeding

This conservative is missing the real problems (conservative) women face regarding the choice to breastfeed.  What he is linking to is an article and photo shoot that presents an aggressive, sexualized model of breastfeeding, and it’s a real problem that secular magazines are big fans of that sort of thing.

But instead of some discourse on that, we get a claim that nobody can recognize the difference between aggressive and intentionally sexualized breastfeeding presentations vs. presentations of breastfeeding as what mothers do when babies are hungry.  And most of the comments on Dalrock’s post further miss an opportunity to promote something natural and normal by complaining that any mother who doesn’t use a cover to breastfeed is exactly the same as the sexualized-on-purpose women I’ve linked in the first paragraph.

There’s a difference between that 1871 presentation of breastfeeding and the modern photo shoots, and if you really think there isn’t, or can’t seem to figure out what it is, the problem doesn’t lie with breastfeeding women.  Likewise, while many babies are happy to eat in the dark with their heads covered, many othes are not, and that doesn’t make their mothers attention-crazed thrill seekers for not using a cover to nurse in public.

A lot of women are shy and don’t expect some of the responses a hungry baby will have in public.  They could be encouraged, or they could be mocked for trying to do what women have done in public forever.  I guess we know what some men went for!

As for the real problems faced, there’s the non-trivial changes to the breast tissue (including fun stuff like UNIBOOB for the duration of infant nursing, try dressing to accommodate that one!), there’s the very different sleep pattern compared to feeding formula, there’s the milk production (itself a potentially exhausting endeavor), there’s the incompatibility with outside the home employment in most cases (yeah, yeah, pumping, but not really, it’s a huge hassle and mostly women just give up in favor of formula for fairly obvious reasons).  Oh, and there’s the ugly little reality (another kind of own goal if you will) that an astonishing number of right wing folks will scream at the drop of a hat about evil lactivists bullying women into breastfeeding.  I cannot count the times a discussion on some other topic at a right wing or conservative forum was interrupted by someone (usually male) going off about evil hospitals trying to get their wives to breastfeed and how terrible and mean it was.  It is a really interesting contrast to liberal areas of the internet where women exult about breaking up their marriages in order to breastfeed (not, incidentally, a better choice for baby in totality and also a real thing that happens).

I will return in a future post to that own goaling about women trying to do biologically normal stuff, it’s part of the conservative approach to gnostic heresy and is very American and sadly old, but it’s also for another day.


2 thoughts on “A conservative own goals on breastfeeding

  1. FWIW in regards to the picture of the LDS women nursing…. the corsetry book I have indicates that at that time period, breasts were less sexualized than they are now. (Waists were comparably more sexual).

    From what I read of other cultures – including very modest ones – the nursing breast is *not* seen as a sexual thing. I have a beautiful dress from Saudi Arabia with a deep neck slit, which (on a woman much slimmer than I) would allow for breast access. It is intended to be worn with a headcovering, perhaps even a face covering – but the breast, feeding a child? That is just something you see, in this world.

    I nursed my daughter through many a church service, although I wore discreet clothing and made sure I didn’t flash anyone. Kept her quiet and not-wiggly. Anyone with a lap full of 6mo baby can appreciate that!


  2. Without wishing to sound like an SJW, I think a lot of people today get offended by things because of the stuff that goes off in their own heads. If they see a woman breastfeeding in public, however modestly she’s doing it, they think of the hippie lactivists, of Tamara’s photoshoot, of FEMEN and other women shoving their breasts in the public’s faces, etc. All they can think about is how a breastfeeding woman has been “radicalized”, therefore all who breastfeed publicly must be doing so radically. They get so caught up in bare-chested women, sexual thoughts and concern over radicals that they forget the hungry infant that just wanted her/his lunch. They forget babies don’t have mealtime schedules. They forget that starving a baby is neglect.

    It’s a bit like diets. I have a friend who is genuinely coeliac. Yet people scoff so much when she asks for gluten-free food that she eats gluten-containing food even if it’s wrecking the lining of her intestine. Some things have come to be so associated with loudmouthed radical liberals that we often throw the baby out with the bathwater, in this case almost literally.


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