Friday, 15 May 2009
at 8:02 am by Anna
A friend tipped me off to this poster, which promotes World Breastfeeding Week (apologies for the quality of the image). She'd seen it at her daughter's creche in all it's A2 glory, and although a feminist, she found it 'confronting'.
The Women's Health Action Trust website features an interesting article about the poster, which discusses public discomfort with the poster. The article concludes that breastfeeding in public is permissable so long as women are discreet about it - and breastfeeding a toddler, by definition it seems, is not discreet.
I completely support the right of mothers to breastfeed for as long as they please (with a bit of a proviso: if the child is old enough to be alienated from his/her peers by breastfeeding, then I think it's time to stop). I breastfed my own kids until 20 and 16 months respectively, when they lost interest, and I've not doubt this made some people uncomfortable.
And yet, I too found the poster somehow confronting. There are social expectations around what we ladies do with our boobies. When our children are small, we get a dispensation to stop regarding our breasts as sexual items only. Beyond a certain point in a baby's growth, however, it's expected that we'll stop using our breasts as a source of food, and return them to their rightful place in the realm of the sexual.
Maybe the ultimate question is this: who owns our boobs?