Breastfeeding

Breasts.

You guys love them, and I suppose, despite some hangups about size (too big, too small) we women like the way they define -or we sometimes imagine they define- our ‘femininity’ too. Well, that’s not strictly true, a flat-chested, androgynous woman can be the very pinnacle of femininity. Think, for example, actress Jane Birkin.

Jane Birkin

There’s not a lot of bosom going on there, is there, but it doesn’t detract from her beauty, her femininity and her general sex appeal.

Or Keira Knightley

Or Charlize Theron

Or less well known, but only marginally better endowed up top…Ella Keng 🙂

So an ample bosom isn’t, strictly speaking, defining femininity or sex appeal.

There’s a thousand pet names for breasts, and they’ve occupied most mens’ thoughts for thousands of years. And perhaps up to the 1950s, the only source of nourishment for a new born infant. All societies, around the world, took the presence of a breastfeeding mother, a breast visible, for granted. And in times when the breast wasn’t as regularly visible as it is now in society, when a ‘decent’ woman would never think of baring hers, all manner of women, from all starts of society, and around the globe, routinely breastfed. In public, if demands required.

The breastfeeding mother was even visible in advertising…

Which brings us up to date, with society now having decided that it can’t tolerate the most natural thing in the world. Time magazine did a piece on ‘breastfeeding controversies’.

Facebook bans photos of breastfeeding mothers. (Well, strictly speaking, you can show breastfeeding but not a nipple (!!!!)

????? 🙂

Some cafes ask women to cover up or get out. 

As do some Pizza chains.

Some people are even moved to get their camera out, take photos of a mother breastfeeding, publish it to social media and label the mother a ‘tramp’ (a story we covered in March 2014)

Insane, isn’t it?


Breastfeeding photos are out, while advertising campaigns, such as those shown below, are deemed ‘acceptable’ (not by all, by any stretch of the imagination, but advertised in magazines or on public transport).


Both campaigns operate(d) on a rather sexist approach to women, as well as being racist. But they’re OK. And breastfeeding isn’t?

And yet it appears that it might be traditional, conservative, Islamic states that now have a more tolerant approach to breastfeeding than we in the west do, as one Australian woman reported when visiting Oman.

In this family-centric Gulf State, Omani mothers, often dressed in the abaya, modestly breastfeed in public everywhere! They’re offered seats, bottles of water from kindly strangers … I just hadn’t expected this at all in an Islamic country, and it really struck me. 

Anyway, SL avatar Alison sent me some photos of her breastfeeding in SL some years ago, so let’s reprise her role to demonstrate breastfeeding being acceptable in SLarbucks, an inworld coffee shop that clearly follows the conventions laid down by its RL equivalent.

Please, fellas, (and ladies) whatever you can do to support the practice of public breastfeeding would be greatly appreciated by a world of nursing mothers/

Ella

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