Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Breastfeeding in Public: An American Stigmatism

I keep hearing stories about these “Disgusting”, “Outrageous”, “Hippie” moms who are unapologetically breastfeeding their babies in malls, restaurants, and supermarkets. And some of them have the nerve to do it uncovered! Just baby suckling breast with no shame!

In a society that claims to be “forward thinking” and “green” and sensitive to the rights of its citizens, we should be ashamed. In a society where it is the norm to see people kissing and fondling in public, where actresses are called sexy for wearing next to nothing at award shows and bikini tops are acceptable wardrobe for a night out with the girls, it is depressing that breastfeeding moms are the ones met with outrage and disgust.

This is just another indication that the portrayal of liberation and freedom women have in American society is merely a political farce used to make other countries feel inferior to American values.

Do I breastfeed in public? Yes I do. Would you notice? Probably not, because I always use my scarf or other garment as a cover. But does not mean I would be outraged to see another women do it uncovered? No I would not because I have seen much more outrageous things than a mother nourishing her child in the open. And frankly, I’d probably be more happy to see another mother who has embraced the best way to feed their child in a society who pretends they support it, but in reality it is a deep seeded taboo.

Why is breastfeeding taboo in America? What is at the base of American values? Capitolism. And corporations, like Enfamil and Good Start have infiltrated the minds and hearts of American women, telling them their own milk was not good enough for their offspring. And formula was better. So we have not only bought into this rhetoric, making their pockets fat, but we have sexualized and demonized breastfeeding and the people who do it.

This is not a blog about breastfeeding vs. formula. This is a blog about how an entire society can be brainwashed into thinking that something which is good and natural is something that is sick and inappropriate.


lala said...

i am guilty of this!! while i breastfeed exclusively, i will usually go to the car to do it out in public unless there is a secluded area. I use my scarf too but I think it was the way I grew up, not sure... Actually, must be; at hearing my decision to BF my family members scoffed and scolded! 'I'm not a cow,' or 'my breasts are for my husband,' was what I heard. BFing my son until 22 months? OMG, scandal and even perviness, lol. Okay so I got sidetracked, lol sorry.... I agree ith though and notice this myself. But when I am offended a woman BF infront of me without covering up, it is just bc I am so afraid of her thinking I'm just looking at her chest!!
No dount thanks to the marketing of breasts as purely sexual objects ;/

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Muslim Mommy. Hope you and your family are well. Ok where do I stand on this. I support breastfeeding and encourage it but it done in public and women exposing their breasts for all to see isn't something I like at all. There are ways to breastfeed without baring all and some women think they are being liberated by doing it however and in front of whoever but it is soo off putting. I even feel uncomfortable when a sister feeds her baby and doesn't cover up and we are in my living room! I just think drawing a scarf over the bosom is right way to go about it. Maybe I am old fashioned?! lol

Muslim Mommy said...

Thank you for your comments and your truthfulness! While I don't condone baring it all for the public to see, I'm just trying to get us to think about why we feel so shamed about it. Sometimes we harbor emotions and don't realize where the emotions come from.

Lala, I thank God my family was supportive of breastfeeding but i have gotten the same reaction from cousind, friends, and even Muslimahs in the masjid!

Sanaa, thank you for your opinion, i am well, just so busy withe the babes hardly get to write anymore:( but Alhamdulillah I am trying my best to treasure these times, as I know they will soon pass.

Thank you for reading!! Salaam!