“If Victoria’s Secret ads are ‘scandalous,’ then why would you expose yourself in public to nurse?” -A comment on Kate Fridkis’ blog post, “I Don’t Care What You Think of Me Breastfeeding in Public.”
Let’s make things clear, comparing a Victoria’s Secret ad to a nursing mother is like comparing a cow at a factory farm to a cow at a small ranch. They just… no. Different purposes, people! One objectifies life; the other celebrates life.
First, I’d like to start this blog iterating my words stem from the words of others. It’s important we recognize all ideas are built upon each other’s. …Which is why intellectual property is not a real thing… but that’s another blog post 🙂
Now to the meat, …I mean milk. I’ve become increasingly interested on women’s role in society and how our every move, thought, and choice is over-examined by those around us. Everything from dress, language, and organs, we are picked apart and told we are innately wrong, disgusting, and deceiving. We’re suffocated in double standards–we’re told it’s immodest to breastfeed in public; yet, we criticize cultures where women are routinely covered; we’re told to be innocent and sexual, obedient and sassy, nice and emotional. Women could put together a whole novel of double standards. Plus, our bodies are never up to par. Somehow we’re convinced body hair is gross? While in India, I remember watching a mother and daughter cuddle. I watched the thirteen-year-old daughter rub her mother’s legs, which were naturally and beautifully covered with hair. At first I was taken aback, but then I became furious by western culture’s demand and expectation for women to be hairless, like little girls or naked mole rats. It’s really quite obscure.
Even more obscure: women’s organs and bodies and that their use, appearance, and ‘sacredness’ are still debated as a political issue like we’re voting on whether to criminalize chickens for having feathers. No matter your moral, religious, political, or personal views, just always keep in mind we’re talking about people. People with feelings, decisions, backgrounds, and futures. There seems to be confusion around pro-life/pro-choice/pro-birth debates. How can one identify as pro-life and not support social welfare programs, a livable wage, or human dignity? That is not pro-life. That is pro-birth. Huge difference. Likewise, pro-choice does not mean pro-death, pro-killing-babies, or pro-suicide. It’s pro-supporting individuals and their wants and needs to make the choice that is healthiest for them and their situation. Ever think there’s a correlation between abortion, suicide, and only pro-birth? If we cared about our fellow humans and animals, maybe people wouldn’t be forced into situations of choosing abortion or suicide.
And then to feel offended by a woman breastfeeding her infant in public because it’s indecent or immoral? Again, pro-birth. Until our society has true pro-life, supporting all forms of life every step of the way, judgement cannot be cast on individuals’ actions, especially when they are trying to feed their children or provide them with shelter. In each of these ‘debates,’ the woman’s selfishness never fails mentioning: She’s doing it for attention; It’s all about YOU, YOU, YOU–what about the comfortability of others; She was asking for it. The only thing we’re asking for is some humanity! I can’t do anything without someone thinking I have some negative motive. Why do women always have to be ‘up to no good’?
Oh, and hold up. Side note. I’m getting realllll tired of the argument that breasts are naturally sexualized and men are naturally attracted to them. That is incorrect. Breasts have been socialized to be attractive; breasts have been sexualized. Not every culture finds breasts sexually attractive. That goes for humans and animals. You don’t see Mr. Whisker’s drooling over Floppy Franny’s kitty breasts. There’s nothing natural about it. It’s actually the exact opposite. Just ask Mister Rogers–you know, the nice old guy who taught the world “manners” and love; he proudly and publicly supported public breastfeeding. Check out this awesome episode to find out the secret purpose of breasts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMAzpwVDON0
And the stereotypes don’t stop with breasts. Seems like our society really has a problem with women and reproductive organs.
BREAKING NEWS: WOMEN’S EGGS DO NOT NEED RESCUED.
They are not fragile, dependent, passive, dormant, or helpless. Our eggs are strong, powerful, and in control. While textbooks argue “mission”-driven sperm take a “perilous journey” “through the female tract in quest of the ovum,” sperm actually swim around aimlessly, dying along the way, until the egg captures a sperm. Clearly, the vagina runs this show.
BE CRITICAL OF INFORMATION. Language constructs our social world. If we’re told women’s biology is “weak” and “unproductive” and men’s is “strong,” “fueled,” and “aggressive,” we will believe women are innately submissive objects to act upon and men are resilient heroes. Debunk assumptions about men and women and their reproductive organs, and no longer accept that women are less worthy than their male counterparts. Don’t let textbooks convince you women’s ovaries are “scarred and battered” or that men and sperm are the actors/agents of life. If your body menstruates, shout that out and love the brilliant, clean biology inside of you!
AND WHY CAN’T THERE BE A DISNEY MOVIE WITH A MAN HELPLESSLY TRAPPED IN A TOWER SPENDING EVERYDAY NOT USING HIS BRAIN AND CREATIVITY TO ESCAPE, BUT, INSTEAD, ONLY PASSIVELY DREAMS OF A WOMAN SAVING/RESCUING HIM WITH A KISS SINCE, YOU KNOW, THAT’S WHAT PASSIVE PEOPLE WANT… SOMEONE TO BARGE INTO THEIR HOME AND SLOBER THEIR FACE.
It’s funny, when a heterosexual marriage/relationship ends, people are more likely to assume the woman is struggling. I say HA! Seems like men need women more that women need men. But you probably couldn’t tell that from movies or TV. It’s time to get critical and to let men cry. No more “manliness” talk–it isn’t real. Support those who act against gender norms. Support women, support their choices, support their wellbeing. And support yourself. Male, female, or however you identify, you are worthy and hold agency. ….And I love you.