Women should NOT be forced to feed their babies in a bathroom, all because we live in a misogynistic, porn-warped society that’s been brainwashed to believe that female breasts used for anything other than male pleasure is “indecent”. Support public breast feeding and end the porn culture.
Pediatric anthropology student, here.
1.) Breasts as sexual fetishes is a (largely Western) cultural construction. Yes, it’s a fetish – anything you are sexually attracted to that is not the genitals of an adult is a fetish, or paraphilia. My professors have met non-Westerners who think our men are “like babies” because they are attracted to breasts.
Breasts ≠ genitals. Scientifically, they are considered secondary sexual characteristics – same category as facial hair. They can be sexual in a sexual context, just as necks and feet can be. But their primary purpose isreproductive.
2.) Breastmilk is not a “bodily fluid.” It is FOOD.
It is not categorized by the CDC as a biohazard, and so no you don’t need to freak out if your coworker wants to store her milk right next to your Lunchables.
Breastmilk is not just protein and vitamins. It is a living, dynamic substance that BUILDS HUMANS.
It has hundreds of ingredients (<— actually that list needs to be updated because they’ve discovered more already).
There is a lab at the University of Washington St. Louis, where they have written all of the ingredients of human milk on the wall – They have run out of room on that wall. Among those ingredients:
- The exact ratio of protein-sugars-fats that human infants need (cow’s milk doesn’t even come close)
- Antibodies to pathogens in the baby’s environment (synthesized by the mother within hours of coming into contact with a given pathogen) and other immune factors
- Stem cells. FUCKING STEM CELLS. (They used glow-in-the-dark mice to find out what they do!)
- Hormones (support growth and regulate behavior)
- Self-digesting fats (what the whaaat)
- Growth factors
- water, vitamins, minerals, carbs, etc.
- prolly other awesome shit we don’t even know about yet because we’ve barely scratched the surface of this research!
These ingredients change hour-to-hour according to the baby’s needs. It will even add more water on hot/dry days. Fuck, breastmilk kills cancer in a petri dish.
Breastmilk. is. not. a. bodily. fluid. It. is. liquid. gold.
3.) When you tell a woman to go to the bathroom to breastfeed, you are perpetuating the notion that it is dirty and shameful and needs to be hidden away. This idea is the biggest barrier to achieving breastfeeding goals in the United States. Because women feel ashamed, they often stay isolated at home when they should be spending time out and about with friends and family and having, like, a life. This isolation can contribute to postpartum depression.
Women may find themselves excluded from social interactions when they are breastfeeding because others are reluctant to be in the same room while they breastfeed. For many women, the feeling of embarrassment restricts their activities and is cited as a reason for choosing to feed supplementary formula or to give up breastfeeding altogether.
And since we have this culture of shame and privacy surrounding breastfeeding, young girls and women don’t see it enough to learn what is normal/not and how to do it, so they often give up when they run into problems because they don’t realize there’s an easy fix.
Moreover, an infant needs to be integrated into society in order to develop properly. He/she needs to see faces and hear voices. Isolating them – or throwing a blanket over their head – takes this important component of their development away. It also often annoys them because they are understimulated.
4.) YOU NEED TO SEE IT. That’s right, YOU. Even if you are a dude. Maybe you aren’t a parent, but you probably have loved ones who are. Or you might become one yourself someday. And if you are American chances are you have no idea how breastfeeding actually works, because you never fucking see it. It’s messy and complicated, and hard. It used to be a part of everyday life, because there weren’t any alternatives – So we learned how to do it by being around it all the time, NBD. The whole sexualization/modesty thing surrounding breasts wasn’t a thing until like the mid-20th century. Check out this 1871 drawing of a woman breastfeeding IN FUCKING CHURCH:
She’s covered head to toe, in accordance with modesty standards of the time – except for her breast, about which the people around her give zero fucks.
More from the Surgeon General:
In American culture, breasts have often been regarded primarily as sexual objects, while their nurturing function has been downplayed. Although focusing on the sexuality of female breasts is common in the mass media, visual images of breastfeeding are rare, and a mother may never have seen a woman breastfeeding.
Mothers need to see it. Future mothers need to see it. Future fathers need to see it. Family members need to see it. Everybody needs to see it. SO THEY FUCKING GET USED TO IT.
So, no, I’m not gonna go to the bathroom to feed my kid. If you don’t want to see it, then DON’T. FUCKING. LOOK.
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