Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Making a clean breast of things

Came across this news item today, and couldn’t help laughing – I mean, how ridiculous is it to say that the woman breached food and drink rules? (Actually she breached both rules simultaneously – hahahaha! Sorry, cant help it, I just think it’s really funny.)

Seriously, though, it’s not like she was going to litter the poolside with empty bottles or cans or sandwich wrappers! She would certainly not be leaving anything behind for someone else to clear up as the container(s) would go home with her. That really was a ridiculous enforcement of an otherwise reasonable rule and the pool management definitely owed her an apology at the very least.

Anyway, as expected, the woman protested that she was doing “the most natural thing in the world”. And that's where my irritation kicked in. I have a problem with that description as applied to breastfeeding... it is NOT the most natural thing. Or rather, it’s one of many “most natural” functions, including crapping. Obviously most normal people wouldn’t crap in public, given a choice of doing it more discreetly and comfortably away from the eyes of onlookers. (Men who pee/crap in public, by the way, are normal too – it’s just that they should be classified as animal, rather than human.)

Breastfeeding discreetly in public is ok by me, and even indiscreetly done it doesn’t really bother me, as obviously it doesn’t bother the woman doing it. What I find odd, though - if displaying one's breasts all the time is unacceptable despite their being natural (forget about surgically enhanced for the moment), why is it acceptable to display them while breastfeeding? Yeah yeah, I know, boobs are for feeding babies, yada yada. But call breastfeeding the “most natural thing” all you want, protest as much as you like that she’s a mother providing nourishment to her infant, the undeniable fact is that the woman has her boobs out in public. It's not something women do in the normal course of things, is it?

I don't mean those who do it discreetly. I assume that those who don't make a big deal of breastfeeding their babies openly are those who do not have the exhibitionist gene in their make-up. Single women who were comfortable with putting their assets on display probably continue that way as mothers – but with the added approbation of doing the “most natural thing”, this time as a more or less socially-acceptable form of exhibitionism.

Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong, and the call of motherhood is stronger than any inhibitions that might be caused by modesty. I wouldn’t know that personally and don’t care to find out.

Still, if boobs must be whipped out in public, at least done to feed a baby, it’s in a good cause. I’m all for good causes.

1 comment:

Kamini said...

Funny, we can get so prudish about so many things in India - but breastfeeding in public (usually by poorer women) is not one of them. And thank goodness for that! Most women I have seen do it quite discreetly, but there are some annoying "earth mother" types who flaunt their earth motherliness and make a bit production of it. Those types are so annoying, I barely resist the temptation to stick my tongue out at their smugness.