Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Breastfeeding Oppression": My comments

My thanks to my friends Jenni and Gen for passing along "Breastfeeding Oppression" on Facebook. It's a well-written look at the real intent and the real priorities behind those who insist that women not nurse in public where they can see it.  I haven't talked much about breastfeeding in a while, so newer readers may not know how much this issue gets my goat.  Very quickly, though, I'd like to comment on the very first part of the article,

Before the advent of baby formula and bottle-feeding, public breastfeeding was commonplace. No one expected anyone to cover up or go to a private room. Women were free to breastfeed where and how they needed to. This included public buildings, churches, all outdoor areas, and people’s homes. Essentially anywhere and everywhere. And why shouldn’t they have? It is the natural work of a mother, occurring intermittently throughout the day.
It occurs to me that formula is one of the few technologies (and boy, is it ever a technology) that has made this jump so pervasively and completely in our culture.  The concerted efforts of formula advertisement over the past several decades has taken a mammalian biological and social norm for nourishing offspring that occasionally needed supplementation in a relatively few extreme, medical cases and turned it into a moral atrocity of public lewdness for much of society here in the States.

Books haven't been covered up since the invention of eReaders.  Pen and paper haven't been relegated to the nearest bathroom for taking notes since the rise of computers, PDAs, and smart phones.  Mental math skills may have plummeted (my own included) since the widespread use of calculators, but that's mostly a function of laziness and convenience rather than segregation.  Not to mention that walking in public is not considered improper since the invention of trains, bicycles, cars, or airplanes, (in spite of it using a body part many find attractive! :O le gasp).  In fact,we are less healthy for doing it less.  We are less healthy, less graceful, less strong and more susceptible to disease and infirmity because we are a culture of sitters and drivers rather than standers and walkers.  But we have automobiles!  Great, expensive automobiles that we must constantly feed (with pollutants) to keep them running!  And yet, there isn't a pervasive, antagonistic moral "authority" in having a car so you don't have to use your legs for their proper function in public for the comfort and convenience of other people.

I do believe that we've been had.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage