Social Question

Gifted_With_Languages's avatar

Do you believe women breastfeeding their babies should be banned from doing so in public?

Asked by Gifted_With_Languages (1134 points ) May 20th, 2014

Why do you believe women breastfeeding their babies should be banned from doing so in public?
Is it not natural to feed their young?
Has society over sexualized the female body to the point that she cannot perform the most natural of tasks without someone being offended? Explain.‎

Thank you so very much.

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103 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I thought this issue was resolved decades ago!
No, baring a breast to feed ones infant is not a sexually provocative gesture.
Babies need to eat when they need to eat and if that means they get hungry in the middle of Olive Garden, well, deal with it.
Good grief, you mean to tell me is still a controversial issue in 2014? Bah!

hominid's avatar

Yes! All eating should be done in private – from breastmilk to sandwiches! Also, the exposed flesh of a female human is the first step towards societal collapse. Burqas are the only appropriate clothing for women in public.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

LMAO @hominid

Of course it is not wrong to bare your breast(s) in public to feed your baby. People who think it is wrong are, IMO, a little bit touched in the head.

Not only that, but it is just fine and dandy in my book for women to bare their breasts in public regardless of whether they are nursing a baby or just hot.

(Yes, I know. A double entendre? You make the call).

Coloma's avatar

I 2nd LMAO!

Juels's avatar

I don’t find anything offensive about it. You can’t schedule your entire life around the baby’s feeding schedule. When I breastfed my daughter, I would cover the area with a light blanket. This provided extra privacy for me and a barrier for anyone that may feel uncomfortable. Even though it is a natural function, not everyone is on-board. It was a small courtesy extended to others with delicate sensibilities.

Plus, I really didn’t want the whole world to see my breasts. I’m from a family of large chested women. Add a bit of engorging from breastfeeding and it looks like we’re ready for our Hustler photo shoot.

Coloma's avatar

Oops, wrong response to wrong question. lol

josie's avatar

No I do not.

But the topic comes up because some people think it should be done in private. And they probably have their reason, and there are probably all sorts of different reasons.

You can’t make all the people happy all of the time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it’s funny. I breast fed in public wherever and whenever and it was not a problem..and this was in the 80’s. However, I was also very discrete and even people sitting right next to me didn’t know I was nursing. They just thought I was holding a sleeping baby.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I think as long as you’re discrete about it, such as a small towel like @Juels noted, it shouldn’t be a problem. I know it’s a totally natural thing and all that, but it is a bit off putting when out to a restaurant and someone is breast feeding completely exposed. Ya, I get it, it’s natural but I still don’t feel like seeing it while I’m eating. The same could be said about many natural bodily functions.

canidmajor's avatar

The fact that anybody cares has always surprised me, and the fact that people say they don’t want to see it surprises me. My knee-jerk reaction to that is “just don’t look if it bothers you” but I’m sure I’ll be told it’s not that simple. Fair enough. After all, they “just want to ruin your day with tits”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think some women just want to rock the boat. They could be more discrete with no problem, but they want a neon sign flashing over their heads to get attention. That seems to be a prevalent attitude these days.

hominid's avatar

^ Bullshit. However, the boat is in need of some rocking.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why? Like I said, I never had a problem. Not one. Not one person ever said anything to me or gave me dirty looks.

GloPro's avatar

If men can take their shirts off in public and women can’t, the only difference I can think of is because milk comes out of them. Therefore, it must be taboo somehow. ~

JLeslie's avatar

I am 46 and as long as I can remember I have seen women breast feed in public. I didn’t see it every day, it was rare, but it wasn’t unusual to me, and certainly should not be against the law. I do think women can be discreet, and I think if the child is over the age of two their breastfeeding should be done in private. After the age of two they are not solely on breast milk usually and there is no need to breast feed in public. I am not saying that it should be against the law to breast feed a child after the age of two in public, I just think using the issue for older children is not necessary and just stirring the pot.

hominid's avatar

^ Why the fuck do I not just ignore breastfeeding questions here? It is as though feminism and nutritional science never existed. Here’s a hint: if you purpose that woman should be “discreet”, you’re on the wrong side of the issue.
My bad for diving in here. I’m out.

hominid's avatar

I will also probably ignore the next “women should wear burqas” thread.

JLeslie's avatar

@hominid Because I am giving my opinion. Holy shit. Why are you so angry at me, I am in favor of protecting a woman’s right to breast feed in public.

I guess you are one of those people who don’t want a discussion, you just want everyone to agree with you on all points surrounding this issue. I swear I think you always miss the part where I support women who breast feed in public and only see where I think they can be aware of their surroundings also.

Judi's avatar

When my mil tried to tell my daughter to feed her baby in the bathroom at her country club my daughter replied, “How would you like to eat your lunch in the bathroom?”

SQUEEKY2's avatar

As a guy I find it very distracting sorry BUT I am a guy, a friends wife had this very nice little curtain that would clip around her neck sort of like a big bib I guess, and the Boob and baby could lunch in private no matter where mom was at the time.I thought that was great.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry as to your question NO it should not be banned, but things like the little curtain I said should be considered.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just used a blanket draped over my shoulder and over the baby. Did the same thing only I think it was a little less obvious.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@canidmajor That is simply fabulous! Everyone should click that link and watch the vid.

I love the part where the girl against breast feeding sings, “Because tits are scary just like spiders.” “They’re the monsters under your bed at night,” “They’re the scary thing under your curtain at night.”
‘And they’ll claw at you and bite, l
ike being caught in a tornado, or a real live sharknado!”

I can understand the fear men have of breastfeeding, because they probably are worried that merely seeing breasts will cause them to immediately go on a raping rampage.

But I don’t understand at all the fear women display over other women breastfeeding. Could it be jealousy? Or maybe they also fear that merely seeing breasts will cause them to immediately go on a raping rampage.

canidmajor's avatar

Some babies like to look around while they eat, just like some of us grown-ups do. Seems kind of mean to me to cover them up.

zenvelo's avatar

Absolutely not.

I am not even reading other response before answering. There is nothing that needs to be hidden or put away or kept from others unless the mother wants it discreet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I find it interesting that a male would take offense at a female’s comment that it’s not at all difficult to be discrete if they want to be. Especially from a female who breastfed in public with NO problem.

They tend to go to sleep @canidmajor. My kids started on solid foods at about 6 months. Breast feeding was just a compliment to it after that. When it was no longer their main source of nutrition I was able to control the times I breast fed more easily.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t feel the baby has to be under a blanket. Hell, I live in FL, that can be totally unrealistic depending on where you are.

ucme's avatar

No…again

canidmajor's avatar

Maybe your babies tended to go to sleep while being fed in public @Dutchess_III , mine did not. They liked being involved with their surroundings, and napping often happened after lunch, not during.

Dutchess_III's avatar

During the summer (when they were born) I used thin cotton blankets, like a sheet. I made them before they were born in July, thinking of the heat.

What I don’t understand is why it’s suddenly such a big deal. I nursed in public with no backlash, and so did many other young mothers I knew. It was never a big deal, never a problem. Why is it now? Have we, once again, created a problem where there was none?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Here is a question to women that openly breast feed in public, and I know it’s natural thing but now do you care that strange men will stare at you while doing it,and guess what they are allowed to stare because it is a PUBLIC space, and men will be men so the idea of the curtain is a good idea to me .

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t get it either. Maybe in some parts of the US it is more of a big deal than others? I do think some people are making a deal when there isn’t one, but probably there have been situations where people were intollerant.

@SQUEEKY2 So a woman has her baby on her breast and you are thinking sex? Or, what exactly? Curious to see if her nipple is pink or brown?

Dutchess_III's avatar

You wouldn’t have even known @SQUEEKY2, if it was me.

I would have a difficult time understanding why a women would have a problem with men staring if they’re being obvious about it. We spend SO MUCH time making boobs out to be major sex objects, I wouldn’t expect a man to be able to just turn that all off.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think he’d want to examine and compare! Maybe give it a grade!

I’m in the Bible Belt, if that makes any difference. If there was any place that would be intolerant, it would be here.

hug_of_war's avatar

Yep I don’t see why I should be subjected to seeing breasts and nipples out and about. I consider it sexual harassment.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Breasts and nipples out and about!” LOL! Hey, our society is kinda screwed up like that, no doubt.

JLeslie's avatar

I found this article regarding breastfeeding laws in the US. It looks like it has never been against the law in the US to breastfeed in public. The article cites some really ridiculous and horrible situations where women were treated terribly, but those types of situations seem to be few and far between. One cited was a woman asked to leave a flight, it had not taken off yet. I find that outrageous, of course women should be able to breastfeed in their seat while on a flight! WTF? Another woman in TX was charged with “sexual performance of a child” good God. These incidents are obviously horrific. But, let’s not turn several idiots around the country into feeling there is a huge war.

I guess we should really be talking about laws to protect women who do breastfeed, rather than laws to make breastfeeding in public illegal. I winder if anyone is trying to make it illegal?The article states that there is a federal law that women are protected in all federal buildings to breastfeed. That makes me feel good. At least our central government is in the right place, and things tend to trickle down.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry a boob is a boob and guys like looking at boobs,doesn’t mean they want sex just a look , if that makes you uncomfortable maybe the idea of a privacy curtain isn’t such a bad thought now.

JLeslie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I used to go topless on South Beach, so it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, I could care less. However, that is on a beach where it is commonly known and accepted to go topless. I don’t try to go topless at my apartment complex pool. I was always under the impression breastfeeding is acceptable in public, it’s just nice to consider those around you.

Mariah's avatar

No. That’s so puritanical.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 A privacy “curtain”, hey..there’s an idea!
A shower stall with a curtain made out of lightweight piping so the woman can walk around in her little breast feeding booth. lol

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@JLeslie Then I guess you have no problem with guys staring at your boobs, good for you.

Juels's avatar

I feel that a little bit of discretion is a way to be polite to strangers. A small handkerchief would work. No need to cover the baby. This is just my preference. We can’t dictate the feelings of others.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma That’s not what I meant and you know it, hey if you have no problem with open public breast feeding and and complete strangers staring at you then by all means have at it, just don’t give the guys shit for staring that’s all, I thought the curtain thing was classy it was cute and the mom didn’t want to show everyone her boobs.

JLeslie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I think it is odd if someone stared a really long time. Beautiful breasts are like a beautiful face, legs, I just think admiring a woman’s body is different than galking. I also think a woman breastfeeding is different than lying on the sand in a monokini, but hey, I’m a girl.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d like to refer back to @JLeslie post where she notes: “I found this article regarding breastfeeding laws in the US. It looks like it has never been against the law in the US to breastfeed in public. The article cites some really ridiculous and horrible situations where women were treated terribly, but those types of situations seem to be few and far between. One cited was a woman asked to leave a flight, it had not taken off yet. I find that outrageous, of course women should be able to breastfeed in their seat while on a flight! WTF? Another woman in TX was charged with “sexual performance of a child” good God. These incidents are obviously horrific. But, let’s not turn several idiots around the country into feeling there is a huge war.”

“But, let’s not turn several idiots around the country into feeling there is a huge war.”

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@JLeslie Totally agree and yeah your right, but there are alot of pervs out there.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

Absolutely not. We are a crazy society I swear.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As a man and a boob connoisseur I will say that any man who feels compelled to stare at a woman breastfeeding needs to return to the cave they knuckle-dragged themselves out of.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it would distract me too, but because of the society I grew up in.

canidmajor's avatar

After all is said and done, any way that a woman feeds a baby in public is open to censure.
If she breast feeds she can be considered to be “flaunting” or “indiscreet”.
If she bottle feeds she can be criticized for not breastfeeding. (Very often the criticizer doesn’t bother to find out what exactly is in the bottle.). However a woman feeds a baby, it can present an opportunity for a soap box event.

livelaughlove21's avatar

No, I don’t.

I doubt I’ll breastfeed quite as publicly as some women do (I’ll be using one of those cover things so there’s no nip slip), but that’s just my own modesty. I don’t believe everyone should be that way.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I was JOKING! Not being sarcastic about your comment. There, there, have a nice warm baba and chill. Now that’s sarcasm. lol

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma Ok I forgive you.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Thank You, or I’d have to come over there and breast slap you around a bit. haha ;-)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Sigh. No. No. No.

Breasts are not sexual objects before they are a source of food. Feeding babies is their primary function. Saying “men will be men” and that they will stare at an exposed breast that is feeding a baby is doing nothing but creating an excuse for stupid behavior. It is not up to a mother feeding her child to control the stupidity of the people around her. Her job, as a good parent who cares about the needs of her child, is to feed said child when it needs food. It is one thing to glance at a mother with an exposed breast while feeding her baby, it is an entirely different matter if someone stares and lusts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The problem is, @DrasticDreamer (and good to see you!) is that 1000 times a day we’re hit with breasts as sexual objects (smack smack). .000001 times a day they are presented as sources of food. What is “right” and what is “reality” are often two opposing things.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thanks and hi! :)

I don’t disagree with that at all. Breasts have been highly sexualized in certain societies. However, unless more people stand up about how ridiculous it is to to come down on women who choose to not cover up in public while they breastfeed, perceptions will never change. I feel that it’s up to each individual woman and her own comfort level, but women should not be called out for choosing not to cover their breast/baby in public. They also shouldn’t hear, “men are men” which is essentially saying “it’s up to you, not them, to take responsibility for their poor behavior”. It’s basically the same thing as victim blaming, which is why education and people who speak out against that mindset matter so much.

Judi's avatar

My daughter says“If breast feeding offends you put a blanket over your head.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. I agree with everything you said @DrasticDreamer. But…it’s nothing to cover up when breast feeding. Nothing at all. Why should it even be a big deal?

Coloma's avatar

^^^ I like that! haha,
Yes, toss an extra little head blanket in the diaper bag for strangers.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Breasts are not sexual objects before they are a source of food.

hahaha. Right. They were most certainly sexual objects in enticing the man to help make the baby so they could then be used as a source of food.
But they are more than sexual objects. Everyone seems to forget that at one time (when we were wee young ‘uns ourselves) that breasts were not only a source of food, but also warmth, comfort, motherly love, security and other wonderful adjectives.
As such, it is not only men, but women too who view breasts with tender love.
Anyone who denies this is simply fooling themselves and victims of their own inability to overcome the enormous energy to conform to rules established by the church? the government?

Who is it that got everyone to agree to forget the wondrosity of breasts and make them into objects of ridicule (boobs) and objects we are to be ashamed of?

Judi's avatar

A mouth is a sexual object too. Lets make women keep their face covered so the perves out there aren’t tempted to leer.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Biologically, breasts are there to produce food, period. You cannot conclusively, without doubt, state that they are sexual objects before they’re food in any sound, scientific way. In certain cultures in Africa the women do not understand why females here cover our breasts. When it’s explained to them that it’s because they’re sexual body parts here, the women burst out laughing and then ask if our men are infants. I suggest some biological and cultural anthropology classes. Just because they are objects of sexual desire here does not mean they are everywhere, and it is not one single culture that sets the standard.

@Dutchess_III You’re right – covering up isn’t a hard thing to do. But neither is averting your eyes if you’re personally offended by something completely natural.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@DrasticDreamer
If you are constantly bombarded by images of women suggestively sexual and provocative in nature, featuring poses of women exposing their breasts, then you will be training those who enjoy these images to respond sexually to them. I believe it is a Pavlovian sort of response.
Ergo of course the African women do not understand this as they don’t get National Geographic or Playboy magazine(s) delivered to their huts.
Besides, no one said this was a universal thing. Of course, neither did I limit my previous reply to the industrial nations.
But you just admitted as much yourself.
Breasts are sexual objects to men (and women [lesbians]) raised in industrial nations where they are constantly bombarded with images of sexually provocative women baring most if not all of their breasts.

And if I remember correctly, most, if not all of the women with whom I had sexual relations years ago in my past life were extremely aroused by my fondling and kissing their breasts. This in turn revved my engine, as it were, and thus it is the women’s arousal at fondling her breasts which creates the sexual objectivity of the breast in question.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Breasts can be sexual objects, yes. So can the mouth, so can the hands, and so on. It depends on the context of the situation. If you see breasts as sexual objects while they’re feeding an infant then you’ve got some problems.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Apparently you have never made love to a woman who has a very young child @Darth_Algar . I mean do all married couples simply cease to have sex during the breast-feeding stage. Is the fact that your wife has a baby and you see her breast feeding a turnoff for you?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dan_Lyons

Are you turn on by the sight of a baby breastfeeding?

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Darth_Algar hahaha, still answering questions with questions I see.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dan_Lyons

Generally speaking I don’t consider questions that rest upon ignorant assumptions to be worthy of an answer.

JLeslie's avatar

This conversation reminds me a little of a line I was told when I was in my teens from a man who cheats regularly on his wife. He said, “those lips kiss my children, I don’t want her sucking my dick.” He was a cheating, lying, asshole. Once she became a mother she was less of a sex “object” to him, and that was pretty disheartening to me.

All parts of our bodies can be sexual. Our hands, breasts, mouth, backside, none of that should matter. In America breasts Are a really big deal for a lot of people, I guess maybe because we typically cover them up.

Women every day dress up in a sexy way, having a breast show is not more or less sexual to me really. I find men more sexy in clothing.

@Judi I have to say I like the cover your head bit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I’d like to point out that human females are the only female mammals to walk around with perpetually enlarged mammary glands, as though we are constantly lactating. There is an evolutionary reason for this that is tied up with desirability and apparent fertility.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Just standing upright we are constantly advertising our “front.”

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Hey if open public breast feeding is your right ,then get at it just don’t freak out when you find creepy guys staring at you.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SQUEEKY2

Being out in public without your face covered is also a right. Should women also not get freaked out when creepy guys stare at them then?

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar I don’t think @SQUEEKY2 is saying we can’t get freaked out. He is saying there might be some people who take a look. Most aren’t creeps, but some will be. We women live with that everyday, naked or clothed.

@SQUEEKY2 From what I read, it seems we have the right to breastfeed, but shipowners also have the right to ask us to leave. The laws might vary by state.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie

No? I thought that was pretty much what he implied when he said “just don’t freak out”. The tone of his entire post (and, indeed, every other post he’s made in this thread) smacks of the same type of “guys will be guys” (as if those of us of the male sex are little more than animals with little to no control over our reactions and behavior) rationalizing that’s so often applied to rape victims – that it’s on the victim to cover themselves, not on the perpetrator to behave himself.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Darth_Algar You ever get tired of taking life so seriously,you must be the life of the party, I am not saying all males are creeps but we all will take a look , if you don’t your either gay or a saint, and in todays world a little modesty for safety sakes wouldn’t hurt.
For example and I know you will poke tons of holes in this example so have fun, but think about as well, you wouldn’t walk into a biker bar and shout Harleys suck and bikers are fags now would you?
Most would probably just laugh it off but a couple would kill you just to watch you die,and that couple is why you wouldn’t think of doing that,even though it’s a free country with free speech.
You wouldn’t let a woman you cared for dress really sexy and walk through a bad part of the city by herself now ,would you, after all everyone behaves themselfs.
Society has beat breasts and the woman form is a sex object into us, can’t say right or wrong it just is think I’m full of shit? just look at just about every bill board or magazine add.
Now breast feeding is natural and part of being a Mom, and public breast feeding is going to happen and if a nice cute little privacy curtain is bad thing then maybe I am just one old guy who thinks a little modesty aint a bad thing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Darth_Algar Decent guys will resist the urge to stare. There are plenty of assholes who WON’T, and if you whip your tit out in public, you need to be ready for it. It’s the guy’s fault, yes, not the woman’s, but it’ll happen, nonetheless.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar There are men out there who will just be men animals. As I said, we women deal with it more than you might expect. As far as rape victims, I am never going to say some girl deserved to be raped because of how she was dressed or that she walked down an alley alone, he is the criminal. I will tell women to not walk alone in an isolated place and if they do to keep their heads up, walk with a quick pace, don’t be texting and unaware of your surroundings. I don’t want to get far off on a tangent though, so I will leave it at that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some of the stuff I’ve dealt with just because I’m a woman…..I got a reputation as being ‘easy’ in HS (I wasn’t) just because I had larger than average boobs. Like I had deliberately chosen them or something. I “deserved” to be gawked at and whistled at and was just asking for guys to make lewd gestures and comments because I had them boobs. It was my own fault, you see.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Maybe I know a fair amount of decent men because all the men I am close to would make a massive effort not to stare if they came across a woman breast feeding, often with awkward results (the overly obvious look in the opposite direction so there can be no misunderstanding or appearing creepy in any way). They may all want to look but they also don’t want to be that guy! I’m not sure any of the males in my life that I have reason to respect would be that guy. I have known a few sleazy types over the years and the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude just gives them an excuse to not take responsibility for their own, individual, actions in the same way that blonde jokes do to (certain) women (“I can’t help it, I’m blonde”)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Leanne1986 ? What does this have to do with men we are close to? We’re talking about complete strangers in public.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III Exactly thanks for making that clear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have yet to see a mother blatantly and obviously breast feeding in public, but if I ever do, and some guy is gawking, I’m going to yell at him, “YOU AREN’T A FLUTHER JELLY ARE YOU, YOU DIRTY DOG!!!” I imagine they’ll take me away but I will have made my point. Maybe.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d almost forgotten, it’s been so long, but during the years I was breast feeding I saw my breasts in an entirely different way. They were there, as far as I was concerned, solely for my children’s nurturing and comfort. When I’d see a “Cosmo” magazine (which always seemed to feature breasts in an sexual way on the cover…which I thought was odd given the nature of the magazine) I’d just have to shake my head. My young son would be going “Numma numma numma!” at the magazine and I’d just have to laugh. However, I also realized that that new perspective was mine and I certainly didn’t expect everyone else in the world to come around to my perspective. I understood that they really couldn’t, not unless they lived it, experienced it.
As soon as I quit nursing, though, that perspective began dimming.

Just sayin’ we need to cut people some slack here. They’ve been brain washed into boobs=sexy for years and years and years (and women haven’t protested that….) and we can’t expect them to suddenly do an about face when it’s IN their face, especially unexpectedly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I also wonder if I was a nursing mom today, and I tried to breast feed in public, no matter how discretely, if I would be clocked by someone who watched too much fb.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I want to try a different angle on this, why should the nursing mother care if anyone stares at her while public breast feeding, after all it’s a beautiful natural thing and if the world stares so what,right?
Unless she doesn’t want people staring at her breasts, and the baby feeding, but why would that bother her it’s just a mother feeding her baby right?
A cute little privacy curtain doesn’t seem so bad now doesn’t it?
I rest my case,use a curtain , don’t use a curtain, but flash a boob in public and people are going to look.

JLeslie's avatar

I think in the end, women are less worried about stares and more worried about not being able to do it, if they are worried, which obviously some women are. They worry they will be asked to leave the place of business, or worse arrested.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SQUEEKY2

Eating is a beautiful natural thing, but would you be peachy with someone staring at you while you ate? I’m guessing not.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar I don’t think the baby is aware, they are the ones eating. Women are looked at while they eat, clothing or not. I don’t think even a man fascinated with breasts is going to need to stare for a very long time, do you?

longgone's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Yes, feeding your child is natural and beautiful. Staring is still uncomfortable.

hominid's avatar

Ok. Against my better judgement, I am stepping back in just to provide some perspective. I am not going to speak for everyone, but let me at least provide some insight into heterosexual male arousal and the nursing of babies…

First, admittedly, my situation may not be the norm. My wife is a lactation consultant. And for 8 years, my house was full of breasts. Tons of them. My wife’s friends, support group meetings she held in the house (and I also have spent a good amount of time at breastfeeding conferences). Look left – nipple, look right – another nipple. Boobs everywhere.

Now, I am a heterosexual male who happens to be sexually aroused by the female body. And breasts are one of the most important sexual turn-ons for me. However, I find none of that sexual attraction when they are used for feeding babies. It’s just not there. I don’t suppress it, or try to talk myself into anything. It’s just a woman nourishing her child. Period.

People describe being stared at by men when they are nursing. First, I suspect that much of the “staring” is simply “holy sh*t, am I seeing what I think I am seeing” and a ton of looking back to see. When something is uncommon, it’s easy to be confused and want to make sure. Second, I am not alone in my love of the breast as a sexual thing being completely separate from my appreciation of the breast as a source of nutrition. When men are surrounded by women who breastfeed, they are less likely to stare, and I can assure you that they’re not busting through their pants by seeing you nourish your child (unless they’re into that thing. There are fetishes for sniffing dirty sneakers, so you’re not going to avoid that.).

Why do I get upset when women propose that it is the responsibility of women to be “discreet”? Maybe it has to do with the fact that I understand women to be full human beings, with the ability to not have societal prudish norms be an excuse to blame a woman for exposing skin. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have women in my life that I care about. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have an 11-year-old daughter. This stuff matters. If my sons can walk around with no shirt on, but my daughter could be shamed for not being discreet enough while feeding her baby? Shit, that gets me f*cking pissed off. We don’t need to be arguing about burqas to be arguing about burqas. This is what we’re doing here people.

Sure, women should be able to feed their babies in public. But the real issue is: are women going to make it challenging for other women to raise their children by laying their shit on them about modesty or being discreet? Can we have an honest discussion about feminism? And how exactly does being male make me less qualified to fight on behalf of my daughter, wife, mother, and all women?

JLeslie's avatar

@hominid GA.

I agree some stares are just simply people might not be accustomed to seeing someone breastfeed in public. They took a second look to be sure what is actually going on.

As far as girls being topless, regarding it having nothing to do with breastfeeding, many places do not allow men to be shirtless either while in their establishment. Men’s breasts are not the same as women’s breasts in our culture in America. Once women reach puberty their “female” figure is a sign of sexuality. It just is. I guess we could argue the hair on a man’s chest is also, but society is more focused on women for various reasons. However, a lot of Americans also do not feel comfortable seeing men in a Speedo bathing suit, I think that is a similar situation as women going topless.

I really don’t think breastfeeding in public is a huge deal. Do you have stats on instances where women were not allowed to do it? I gave some examples in my link, which of course were awful, but it doesn’t seem to happen a lot. The airline situation Delta was sure to state that their policy is to allow women to breastfeed and they disagreed with what was done by the partner airline they work with for local flights.

I also think you are in the mind set of you are not for us 100% you are against us, and there might be some middle ground inbetween that makes everyone comfortable.

What if all those women you speak of met up in a small restaurant resulting in half the restaurant full of women with their tits out? Maybe it would deter other customers from coming in. Whether it is right or not, if the owner feels it impedes his business, maybe he should have the right to ask them not to be so open about their breastfeeding. Or, maybe he will appreciate the business from the breastfeeding group, I don’t know. It does sound like it borders on “racist,” asking a group not to meet in an establishment open to the public. I think being able to discuss it is important, because I know the more I talk about it, the more I think a law should be made that women have the right to breastfeed in public to protect them.

I remember one time being with my SIL and her baby needed to feed and I told her to go ahead. We were in a small deli. She seemed horrified by the suggestion. I told her we could switch seats, I was facing the wall and she was facing out towards the rest of the restaurant. She wouldn’t. She went to the mini small bathroom in the small deli and fed her baby there. I thought it was ridiculous. She asked me to watch the door in case someone else needed to use the bathroom. She also sometimes went out to her car if she was in a public place. I hate that any woman feels they need to do such a thing. I don’t know if it was modesty or if she thought it simply was not allowed. Maybe it isn’t in her country.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, again. No one ever stared at me.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Dutchess_III aren’t the men in our lives strangers to other people? My point was, if the men in my life are perfectly capable of resisting any temptation to gawk at a breast feeding woman then there must be many more like them but some of the answers on here make it sound like all men are too weak to cope with a breast feeding woman. Using the excuse ‘boys will be boys’ to try and encourage women to cover up when feeding their babies sounds a little like victim blaming to me and is weak and pathetic. Most men are able to control themselves and for those that can’t, that’s their own problem and not the woman’s. If a woman chooses to cover up because of the odd pervy douchebag, that’s her choice and I’m fine with that but I don’t think it’s ok to make women feel they have to cover up because (apparently) men are too weak and inconsiderate to avert their eyes. The woman breast feeding is not responsible for the way it causes other people to act and I strongly believe we should be educating people to be considerate rather than forcing someone to hide a perfectly natural and appropriate act because ‘boys will be boys’.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I didn’t get that at all. As a woman, @Leanne1986 I know you’ve had to deal with the scads and skunks that some men can be. Those are the men we’re referring to.

I like what someone wrote above: If the woman feels uncomfortable with people looking, then she needs to be discrete. If she doesn’t care then she has nothing to complain about. She can just blow it off as their problem, not hers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The thing is, for every sweet image we see of a woman nursing, we see over a thousand (or more) of breasts being used as sexual objects. It’s just hard for some to reconcile and I totally understand that.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Dutchess_III Even after my experiences with certain types of men, I still believe there are more decent ones with self control than inconsiderate arseholes and, in short, we should stop making excuses for said arseholes.

I have no problems with women covering up if they are concerned about people gawking at them but I do have a problem with other people (male or female) telling them they should cover up just in case someone might look. If someone makes the woman feel uncomfortable then they should get a smack upside the head and a lesson in common courtesy rather than being let off the hook with a ‘oh but he can’t help it, he’s a man’ or ‘what did she expect, sitting there with her boobs on display’.

@hominid GA

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree, it’s her choice.

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