Tuesday, May 14, 2002

BOSOMS AIN'T IDEOLOGICAL (WHERE HUNGRY BABIES ARE CONCERNED): Today on National Review Online, Betsy Hart complains about seeing breasts everywhere -- with babies' mouths attached. While I'll grant that mothers should use a little discretion when breastfeeding in public, and not unnecessarily expose the goods to the discomfort of strangers, the fact is that too many people -- like Hart -- are uncomfortable around breastfeeding whether or not they can see anything. Hart complains about seeing a 14-month old child nursing, implying that it was too old. But a 14-month old child is still very much a baby, and many babies that age still need to nurse, for food and, more importantly, for comfort. Hart notes that after a few months babies go hours between feedings, so a nursing mother should just schedule her trips out of the house around eating times. That's all well and good if you ordered one of those on-schedule-baby models, but lots of babies still nurse all the time after a year (and that's not counting comfort-nursing, which is necessary whenever the baby needs, well, comforting; I've never been able to schedule my son's bumps and scrapes). My main problem with Hart's essay is that she tries to make public breastfeeding a feminist issue. Maybe some feminists and anti-feminists see it that way, but for me and most mothers I know it has nothing to do with ideology. It's a matter child-rearing. I'm all for "breastfeeding anywhere, anytime" because babies and toddlers should be able to eat anywhere, anytime. That some people see breasts as sexual objects -- either to be "de-objectified" through public breastfeeding, or kept modest by discouraging public breastfeeding -- has nothing to do with whether my children get hungry when I'm out and about. PS: On a topic only related in my mind, while women are whipping it out everywhere, some men have problems doing the same.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails