Sunday, August 10, 2008
How does one equate a baby getting nourishment from a breast with obscenity? In the last week there has been two "Nurse-In" protests in two stores spurred by mothers being asked to leave the stores due to breastfeeding their babies. I did not participate in these protests, one because I did not hear about it until it was done and the other because it was in another province. This blog is my form of solidarity and protest. Having just watched the movie "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" directed by Kirby Dick I think there is a huge problem with the way women's bodies are viewed in North America. What the film uncovered is that sexual content in films where a woman is showing pleasure is most often considered X(now labeled NC-17) rated. Decapitation, blood and guts can be rated R but a women enjoying an orgasm is rated NC-17. This problem is not new to me, I have witnessed it time and time again on many levels. Women are objectified but kept contained. We can be sexual objects but not display pleasure, we can be self-sacrificing mothers but are asked to isolate ourselves while feeding our hungry babies in shopping mall restrooms. The double standard that is placed on us is unacceptable. There is an earthy aura about a breastfeeding woman. She is grounded. From her body she has birthed this baby and from her breasts comes the nourishment that all mammals give to their young. Milk. Evolution developed breasts for the suckling baby. Some women derive pleasure sexually from their breasts as well. Most women have long and sordid histories with their breasts. They love them, hate them, wish they were bigger, smaller, rounder or more perky. But the sexual part of breasts is a by-product. They were made for feeding. Some women by choice or circumstance never use them for this, regardless that is their primary function. There is nothing offensive about that. I remember when my colostrum started to come in before my son was born, I was so excited that my breasts were finally functioning as nature made them to. I was somewhat in awe of them. I could feed another being from my body. I wish with all my heart that if someone takes offense to a woman breastfeeding in public they would take a minute to reflect on where that feeling is coming from. Perhaps they are uncomfortable with their own body image, or maybe they were raised with the idea of the naked body being shameful or wrong. In their heart of hearts if they would move beyond that feeling for a moment and think with their primal brain I'm sure they could see the true nature of the issue. A baby on a breast is as natural as a forest, a river or a field of grain. Do not ask women to lock ourselves away from society to feed our children. We deserve to be out in the open where everyone can see. We deserve to be proud of ourselves for the work we do......raising the next generation and giving them the best start we can. I have never had a more positive relationship to my breasts than I do now. Breastfeeding is not easy, it was painful at first and my son and I had to learn how to nurse together. But we prevailed and after 8 months I am proud of the work my body does to feed my son. I grew him, birthed him, and now I nourish him. I nurse him when he needs milk, whether that is in our home, in the park or in the mall. I support all mothers who choose to breastfeed, and I choose not to condemn those who do not. Mothers need support in all their forms and choices not judgment. I thank the countless men and women who support breastfeeding mothers. North America needs a revolution............... Let us remember that we are mammals, and our young need our milk. Women's bodies are not objects they are the vessels through which humanity is born. We will not be meek and we will not hide away, for we nourish the future with our strong and amazing bodies.