OPINION By KIMBERLY SEALS ALLERS
I’m not really sure why breasts can be openly used to sell beer and entice people to eat chicken wings at Hooters, but when they are used in their actual context — feeding a baby — people get all puritanical.
Oh, the hypocrisy!
This week, another breastfeeding mom, who was covered up, was forced to stop feeding her 4-month old in the hallway of a Washington, D.C., DMV office when two (GASP!) female security guards told her to stop because it was indecent.
Simone Dos Santos, a lawyer, was waiting for a traffic hearing and stepped out into the hallway to breastfeed when the guards approached her, although she had covered her baby with a jacket.
“I was shocked, upset and angry that by providing food for my son, I was being treated like a criminal,” she said in recent news reports.
As an attorney, Dos Santos knew that she had legal rights — 28 states as well as the District of Columbia exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws.
But it’s a shame that the laws of common sense don’t govern most people. And it is our babies who ultimately suffer when women are made to feel uncomfortable performing the biological act of infant feeding.
Our bodies naturally produce breast milk, and some believe it’s one of the best preventive infant health measure one can take. Feeding our young used to be as natural and instinctive as it is for any other animals, but somehow we’ve lost our instincts and our choices about our babies first food sometimes gets lost in cultural norms.
And the oversexualization of the breast hasn’t helped matters. Breasts are everywhere: on billboards, in magazines and spilling out of skintight attire. Bathing suits have grown skimpier by the year. I wonder if any of those female security guards have purchased those tiny bikini tops they are now marketing to 9-year-old girls? Women spend much money to make their breasts bigger, bouncier, rounder and or more perky, but everyone forgets this one indisputable truth: that they are merely mammary glands — fatty tissue with milk ducts designed to feed babies.
Wake up women! Society has told us that it is perfectly acceptable to show our breasts on its terms — pushed up, dangling, with a beer, in a wet-T-shirt contest or as we parade around a pole, but to show our breasts to feed our babies is indecent!!
I really can’t take it anymore.
Yes, I am a unapologetic first-food advocate. I believe that every baby should have fair and equal access to the best infant nutrition possible. And for me that’s breast milk. But women can’t make those decisions clearly, with this type of hypocrisy and hype crowding the issues. And that makes breastfeeding an issue for every woman.
If we can reclaim our breasts from the advertisers and marketers maybe then we can use them for our babies without being made to feel uncomfortable. Are you ready to get your breasts back?
Oh, and the next time I see a man with boobs topless, I’m calling the police. Who’s with me?
More from Lifetime Moms:
- Are You on the Sidelines? What Moms Can Do to Be Heard
- New Poll Says Moms Are Angry at Do-Nothing Dads. Sound Familiar?
- Is Parenting Harder in Today’s Society?
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.