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Old 07-30-2006, 09:37 PM   #76
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It seems we've gone around the block a couple times on some issues herein. Repeated statements stating it is different from other activities or feeling sorry for people who don’t believe the way we do degrades discussion.

To answer Angela Harlem’s question, I don’t think we have anyone from the “anti” crowd here. No one is against breast feeding, nor does anyone suggest that it only be done behind closed doors or making it illegal in any way. If I had to guess why there are objections referenced in the original article, I would say it deals with the level of modesty used in the activity.

As a sliding scale, we can conduct our actions in ways ranging from going out of our way to not offend someone on one end, to in you face, “it their problem” on the other. Some people will leave the room to blow their nose. Others will do it practically upon you. In the middle, others may turn so it is not done in your direction.

As cultural norms, the US tends towards higher levels of modesty. Perhaps the reaction to this particular issue is reflective of a larger, newer shift in attitude towards modesty.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:40 PM   #77
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
As cultural norms, the US tends towards higher levels of modesty.
One look at the cheerleaders of any pro sports team or a flip through the channels on television suggests otherwise.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:50 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
...Repeated statements stating it is different from other activities or feeling sorry for people who don’t believe the way we do degrades discussion.

...If I had to guess why there are objections referenced in the original article, I would say it deals with the level of modesty used in the activity.

As a sliding scale, we can conduct our actions in ways ranging from going out of our way to not offend someone on one end, to in you face, “it their problem” on the other. Some people will leave the room to blow their nose. Others will do it practically upon you. In the middle, others may turn so it is not done in your direction.
I agree about not pre-emptively judging people who Don't See Things With The Perfect Clarity I Do, but I don't think "modesty" is sufficient explanation for why in this case "going out of our way to not offend someone" might be desirable--you have to go further than that, break it down into what precisely would be the reason for taking offense or diagnosing immodesty. Is it because breastfeeding could be seen as having sexual connotations? If so, then we have a basic-definitions disagreement problem, because clearly many people do not see breastfeeding as in any sense sexual (as opposed to, e.g., setting guidelines for how low-cut a shirt one may wear in the workplace, where you generally have agreement in principle that there is indeed an attempt to appear sexually attractive involved). Or is it because breastfeeding falls into the category of bodily functions? In that case, then you have to further define which bodily functions it's most analogous to, because obviously we have widely varying ideas of what constitutes "propriety," depending on the function in question. I think this is why several people kept making the point that nursing is essentially a form of eating (which we don't generally frown upon in public, unless crumbs or wrappers on the floor is a hygiene issue), as opposed to, e.g., a form of excreting waste.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:59 PM   #79
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Originally posted by Golightly Grrl
However, I do think some "lactavists" go to far and are often horrible to mothers who do not breast feed their children for whatever reason. My friend Maria really wanted to breast feed her daughter but couldn't produce enough milk. The lambasting she got from some people was horrible.
Your friend has my sympathies; I had similar problems when I had my son. I felt like a failure when I had to give up trying to breastfeed and give him formula.

And those nosy nellies really need to mind their own business. Mothers don't need to be nagged about how they raise their children. Outsiders have no idea what is going on in that person's life.
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:20 AM   #80
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Originally posted by HeartlandGirl

One look at the cheerleaders of any pro sports team or a flip through the channels on television suggests otherwise.
Or on any magazine rack, where you can see breasts on front covers displayed in all their glory-much more than in this breastfeeding photo.

So apparently even for these women referenced in this article, a breast is a breast and will drive men uncontrollably wild, whether on a baby magazine or Cosmo or Playboy. For that reason, a photo like that on the Baby Talk magazine should not be allowed. Therefore, men are presumably the primary reason for censoring and controlling a baby magazine and an activity that is exclusively performed by females-one that I find to be beautiful and natural . Just for my taste, breasts hanging out on many magazines are not always beautiful, and massive implants are not natural. Yes breasts are also sexual, but men are not wild beasts with no self control, sense of decorum, and admiration and love for babies and women nursing babies that they can feel completely separate and apart from anything sexual- are they? Certainly not.

I think some of these women have allowed their breasts and bodies to be co-opted by attitudes of society and some of it's inhabitants and should take them back. Like I said, I see nothing wrong with women who choose to breastfeed in private (that is completely their decision), but I do have issues with women who seem to feel it should be controlled by men who they seemingly feel can't control themselves sexually and with women who teach certain attitudes about women and their bodies and men to their kids.

There is no way in my mind that American society is tending more towards modesty about bodies or breasts, you can see that at the mall (in what's for sale and in what people are wearing to the mall) on a daily basis, nevermind in movies, TV, etc. The modesty in this issue seems to revolve around a never ending double standard.
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:35 AM   #81
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Double standard? Does the reaction to the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" count?

Breasts illicit sexual desire, they serve an important purpose in social interactions that lead to copulation. Is it right to diminish this element which is certainly shaped by cultural factors to justify the more functional purpose? I think that both sexualisation and nursing are fine and that nobody has any inherent problem with nursing per se but a lot do have problems with public exposure of breasts for any reason whatsoever.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:10 AM   #82
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I think the Janet Jackson thing was portrayed in the media as being far more than what it was for most people. I also think one instance does not negate the overwhelming double standard that exists vis a vis displaying a breast for the sexual titillation and gratification of men and to market to them in that way vs the display of a breast for the purpose of breastfeeding. The situation of the New England Patriots is the perfect example- after all the cheerleaders really aren't there mainly for the purposes of entertaining the female audience. If they were they'd probably wear dance type tops that cover their breasts. I'm not saying women don't enjoy watching cheerleaders, I do. But I think we should honestly admit what the real purpose of the cheerleaders' outfits and T&A display is. But God forbid a woman nurses a baby discreetly in the stands during the same game rather than go feed her baby in a bathroom.

So is a woman who is flat chested asexual or not as sexually attractive to a man? What about one who has had a mastectomy? Are breasts really that important in sexuality? What about brains? Just asking. Not directed to anyone in particular, but it can seem in this thread as if breasts are the be all and end all in sexuality.

Nobody is diminishing the sexual element, but I for one think we all diminish ourselves when we can't separate it from the beautiful act of a mother nursing her baby.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:12 AM   #83
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Part of the double standard lies in the perception of mothers being pure, natural and good and that women who expose themselves are sexy, evil sinners who should be shamed...the whole Madonna/whore complex which is still rampant in NA.

Many people will say, oh of course there's nothing wrong or unnatural about breastfeeding, yet are still uncomfortable with it being done in their presence...NO MATTER HOW DISCREET...not just strangers in public, but family and friends of mothers as well. So the sexual connotation, whether conscious or unconscious, goes well beyond exposed boobies.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:15 AM   #84
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
Part of the double standard lies in the perception of mothers being pure, natural and good and that women who expose themselves are sexy, evil sinners who should be shamed...the whole Madonna/whore complex which is still rampant in NA.

Many people will say, oh of course there's nothing wrong or unnatural about breastfeeding, yet are still uncomfortable with it being done in their presence...NO MATTER HOW DISCREET...not just strangers in public, but family and friends of mothers as well. So the sexual connotation, whether conscious or unconscious, goes well beyond exposed boobies.
Exactly- the Madonna/whore complex , as I also mentioned earlier, is a definite element. Maybe in society and in FYM it's the elephant in the room.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:50 AM   #85
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So is a woman who is flat chested asexual or not as sexually attractive to a man? What about one who has had a mastectomy?
Not necessarily, there is a very significant cultural aspect and element of conditioning
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Are breasts really that important in sexuality?
I think that they are an important element in human sexuality and have been the focus of cultural fetishism throughout the history of the west, do they trump everything else I think not, but it is pertinent to this discussion because we aren't talking about exposure of thighs, backs or ankles or any part of the human body that is held to be taboo
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What about brains?
An important factor to be sure - of course I am not sure that it is a universal element in attraction. Attraction is not a single element there are innumerable factors that go into it both physical and sociological. If it was really reducable to that single factor of breasts then why would one find the look of the surgically enhanced peroxide blonde to be utterly vapid when that is obviously a marketable image to some sections, so basically it is equally unfair to place bust as the principle attractor or to desexualise it for strictly utilitarian purposes.

Most people are more than capable of distinguishing between a breastfeeding mother and a peepshow, the objection and issue however is not being raised due to women being made to feel uncomfortable from enduring unwarranted and unwanted stares but from those who are made uncomfortable by their presence and actions - actions which are perfectly natural and normal.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:54 AM   #86
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A pregnant belly in public used to elicit the same reactions...people got over it becaus e women were no longer able or willing to hide.

As more women have the courage to stand up for their babies' health as well as their own (nursing has significant benefits for mothers too) the more normal it will become and more babies will be breastfed longer.

That said, those that choose not to breastfeed in front of others, whatever the reasons, should not be made to feel guilty.
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:01 AM   #87
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy


That said, those that choose not to breastfeed in front of others, whatever the reasons, should not be made to feel guilty.
And women who are not breast-feeding should not be judged either.
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:19 AM   #88
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And women who are not breast-feeding should not be judged either.
Absolutely.

Women should be encouraged and properly supported to breastfeed for the recommended periods of time...which means removing barriers (public perception as well as workplace barriers) and spreading public health information...not guilt and shame.
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:59 AM   #89
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Originally posted by AliEnvy
A pregnant belly in public used to elicit the same reactions...people got over it becaus e women were no longer able or willing to hide.

As more women have the courage to stand up for their babies' health as well as their own (nursing has significant benefits for mothers too) the more normal it will become and more babies will be breastfed longer.

That said, those that choose not to breastfeed in front of others, whatever the reasons, should not be made to feel guilty.
That's right. Until the '70's, members of the British Royal Family who were pregnant wouldn't go out in public. I forget who the first pregnant royal to go out in public was, it was either Princess Margaret or Princess Anne. But it's the same thing, breastfeeding in public is healthy and will have to be accepted.
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Old 07-31-2006, 12:32 PM   #90
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Men shirtless in public is acceptable, even though they don't have to breastfeed.

Saggy man boobs displayed in public even though men don't have to breastfeed = still acceptable.

Women breastfeeding discreetly in public is just so wrong, because men's chests and some men's saggy man boobs don't drive women wild sexually and don't exist solely as objects of sexual desire and gratification for women. Is that it?
Put Larry on the beach with no shirt and see how many women utterly ignore his innate sexiness. Granted, women aren't as bold as men about it, usually, due to societal conditioning, but a sexy man with no shirt is equally appealing visually to women as women are to men.

But then again, it's been borne onto me how unnatural a woman I am, so perhaps this ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
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