A global campaign has been launched by thousands of mothers against social networking site Facebook for banning photos of breastfeeding women.
Facebook says that it it isn't against breastfeeding, only the showing of nipples. What is their problem? Are they all prepubescent nerds locked in a broom cupboard ? They did ask us to share our innermost secrets. Soon we will be back to the fifties where whole generations of young men grew up believing that women had black squares at the junction of their thighs because no hair could be shown in any publication, or worse still those dark Victorian days when people were hysterical about uncovered legs on pianos, lest they incite men to lust. Breast feeding is a natural human function. What should be questioned is why seeing it on the media or eslewhere comes as shock to so many people? Did they spring fully formed from the earth, or did someone once feed them? Did they have bad memories or pardon the pun, bad mammaries? Then again, perhaps the idea of sacred motherhood conflicts too sharply with the well established idea of women as sex objects.
My feeling is that we are only uncomfortable with seeing breasts and nipples in the maternal context, because they have not had enough exposure while commercial and sexual exploitation of breasts has a much longer history. Remember when 'baby bumps" had to be hidden away? Remember the shock horror of seeing men in movies at urinals, the initial shock of seeing open homosexuality in "Brokeback Mountain" or the recent spate of movies about intimate relationships between women? Now all that has become ho -hum. Instead, we register mild shock at seeing people smoking in old movies, foreign films and "Mad Men," something which our eyes used to gloss over. Here is a new frontier movie moguls. Hop to it! Or doesn't it sell enough product?
There are many things both on the internet and in daily life which are much more obscene than the glimpse of a nipple between friends. I'm am thinking for a start, about all the depictions of violence and abusive language. Then there is the use of suggestive imagery and emaciated women in advertising and the promotion of junk food to kids. Personally, I am also offended by political propaganda and the sight of grown men in budgie smugglers. Do us a favour and take your prudery and censorship there.
A controversial ruling from a Houston judge has sparked a firestorm among breastfeeding mothers.Judge Lynn Hughes ruled that "Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sexual discrimination."