Archive for the Parenting Category

So My Breasts Offend You? Get Over It!

Posted in Current Events/Pop Culture, Feminism, Gender, Parenting, Womanism on June 10, 2014 by sophisticat

black-women-world-breastfeeding-week1Recently, there has been much ado about a natural nothing, well it’s something but only to a small few. Speaking as a mother of two proudly breastfed children, I’m so over people being offended by a woman using her “God-given” mammary glands to perform the function for which they were intended. Providing milk to an infant is the primary purpose for breasts. Not sexual stimulation. Not to be drooled on and lusted after by a man. The purpose of breasts is to fed the next generation. And not just feed them by the way but to provide them with the necessary antibodies that give the best possible chance of a thriving existence in the most crucial stage of infant development. So excuse me when I pull my left or right breast out to allow my child to nurse. The fact is because of the way our society is set up there is a discomfort on the part of the breastfeeding mom already. We understand that people are uncomfortable with our nakedness. As a black woman, that discomfort is “on 10.” Ultimately, the issue is not that breastfeeding is wrong and it’s not even that breastfeeding in public is wrong. It’s not! How may Nat Geo programs and photographs have we seen of native/aboriginal women breastfeeding their young and not reacted? The issue isn’t even the nakedness of the human body. The issue is the exposure of a bare breasts. Why? Because of the objectification of the female form. How many times have I heard “at least she should have respect for her husband” when referencing a married woman breastfeeding? It makes me scream! Why are you looking? Would you like some? Personally, I covered myself when in very public circumstances (i.e. no lactation room) but that was due to my discomfort with gawking eyes. But for every mother that I have gazed upon who has opted to sit on a waiting bench or snack counter at a department store or restaurant and feed her child in the open I say “More power to you!” If it is indecent to breastfeed a child in public it should be equally indecent to give a child a bottle of formula. After all, the last thing a mom is doing is seeking sexual gratification by way of breastfeeding. For the first few days and even the first couple of weeks it’s painful but that pain is beautifully natural. To continue to view breastfeeding when ever and where ever it occurs as unnatural and borderline criminal is to perpetuate ignorance! So if my breasts offend you I shout a bombastic “Get Over It.” To the self-righteous cohort that would say there is a such thing as dignity I ask, What, exactly, is undignified about breastfeeding?

What made me go on this rant?  Well, I read about Karlesha Thurman a recent graduate of California State University Long Beach here:

Karlesha posted a beautiful photo of her breastfeeding her daughter during commencement exercises on the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page.  The page is committed to encouraging and empowering minority mothers to breastfeed their children.  Black Women Do Breastfeed is also committed to making breastfeeding in the black community visible.  I believe these are both worthy and noble ambitions.  How often do we talk about the story of women having babies and never having any other ambition for themselves especially one of education.  When I read about how the photo went viral I do not know or care but the “slut shaming” and body shaming that ensued was deplorable.  I know there are those that would say, “well she could have expressed the milk?” Well to them I say, why?  I would thoroughly ask those who squirm at the notion of a woman and especially a black woman breastfeeding in public to ask themselves why they are uncomfortable.

Apparently, there is no place of comfort for a woman especially a black woman who breastfeeds her baby and still completes her immediate education goal.  So we’re still in a place of either educate yourself or have a kid but never both?  What antiquated thinking is that.  Regardless of the circumstance surrounding Karlesha’s relationship status the act is she is a mother and a college graduate; her future and that of her child are bright.

So, if my breasts offend you?  You’re the one with the problem not me.  If my breasts offend you GET OVER IT!

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