Breastfeeding Shame and Porn

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I began my adventures in breastfeeding exactly 138 days ago. Until that first latch, I had a mountain of anxiety surrounding all the logistics. “Okay, the baby is going to suck on my tits? Ugh that is so weird.” Uncomfortable thoughts infiltrated my mind no matter how cool I tried to be. Fortunately, natural changes in pregnancy prepped me. For one, my nipples turned from pink to brown and quadrupled in size. Yeah, not the sexiest picture to imagine.

Oddly enough, for weeks after my baby was born, I fed him with pure ecstasy. I immediately learned the sweet simple pleasures of feeding my son, cradling him in my arms, and whispering sweet love songs. Shortly after, my dreamy bubble burst as the reality of feeding in public hit me. How was I supposed to feed him without my 10 pillows? What do you wear when you breastfeed in public? (I spent weeks with only a nursing bra on because milk leaked all the time). And most importantly, where do you feed a baby?

During my pregnancy, I followed several mother support groups. One day a mom posted about being harassed in Bed Bath & Beyond for feeding without a cover. I confess that my first thoughts were, “that’s gross, why would you expose yourself like that, that’s her fault.” I laugh now because last week, I fed my son openly at the park. I had a breastfeeding bra on so none of my breast was exposed. It was a hot day and my son really hated his nursing cover as it enclosed him in a stuffy, dark space. As a slight breeze hit my son’s face, he unlatched for a moment, met my eyes, and let out the most innocent giggle. That’s when I realized how twisted our society is for over-sexualizing breasts. I simply fed my son with the original function of my breasts.

Now, the idea that I felt any shame about breastfeeding in public makes me cringe. I can’t change public opinion about boobs overnight. However, parents have a huge impact on their children. How hard would it be to help our children retain respect for our milk-makers and in the words of my niece, our “pee pee centers?”

Art has a unique way of encapsulating a moment in time. The introduction of Gardner’s Art Through the Ages states, “People cannot, of course, see or touch history’s vanished human events. But a visible and tangible artwork is a kind of persisting event…although created in the past, an artwork continues to exist in the present, long surviving its times.” Perhaps, we can take note of the 30,000 year old Venus of Willendorf in all of its voluptuous, reproductive glory. Or soak-in the hand carved David that took 3 years to create.

Venus of Willendorf, estimated to have been made around 28,000-25,000 BCE

Michelangelo’s David from 1501-1504

It’s depressing to imagine a person in the year 2500 reviewing some of the most viewed content in 2014. They might come across a low budget porno of 2 girls and a guy in some house in the San Fernando Valley. We have to face the reality that from the moment our child is born, their mission in life may be the quest to find their mate and procreate. However, instead of hiding this fact for the sake of “modesty,” perhaps we can help teach them early on that the body is sacred and beautiful.  The sooner breasts are respected, the sooner breastfeeding shame will end.

Mindy
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Mindy

Founder at Dymin Collective
Mindy Song is a mother of one, a video artist, and musician from Orange, CA. She is an advocate of social justice with interests in globalization, socio-economics, and the history of women’s rights in developing nations. By day she is a marketing specialist for a dental imaging company, milk pumper, and wannabe supermom. By night she is an asian fusion chef, art critic, and blogger.
Mindy
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