Rumor has it that the noxious sight of breastfeeding mothers has been upsetting you teenybopping Facebookers. I vaguely recall some comments around here about those famous "obnoxious breastfeeders" we all love to hate--you know, the gals who remove their shirts entirely to feed a baby (or, more likely, a tween) and decorate the spare with a tasseled pastie just to offend you. Man, if I had a dollar for every time I ran into one of these people . . . .
I'm shy. I usually use a blanket cover and/or a nursing top when I'm going to be feeding out and about. If I'm with people with low nursing exposure or tolerance, I find a private room. But I operate this way because that's my personality, not because I think it's the right way to do it. I'm not worried about offending someone, I'm worried about someone offending me by not giving me the space I prefer (all it takes is one ogling redneck in a mid-Missouri Taco Bell parking lot to send me diving for cover). I fall into that category of females who don't cruise locker rooms in skivvies or less. Or publicize photos of herself feeding her kid. Or take such photos in the first place. I digress.
Some girls just aren't shy and don't take the extra coverage/sequesterage measures that I do. They aren't trying to make a political statement with their matter-of-fact feedings any more than I am with my mummy approach. They're just living their lives, and I don't have a problem with it. I think it sets a good example by normalizing breastfeeding. In pondering this topic, I realized I'd rather have my kids see a mom nursing not-so-discreetly in real life than a Victoria's Secret billboard. Why? Because one is meretricious, and the other isn't. Seeing breastfeeding helps my kids, boys and girls, contextualize female anatomy appropriately.
Disrobing to make a political statement is tactless. An unclothed person is distracting to any other person, regardless of the sexes of either of them, so there are always some discretionary measures to be taken (take the tassel off the pastie for t-ball games). But it's ridiculous to get ticked off at mothers for not wanting to feed their little sweatlings under blankets on an 85 degree day when all the other women in sight are exhibiting endowments of varying merits in halter tops. Why should we let Victoria's Secret win and concede all our mammary goodness to the pervs? And by the way, your husband isn't looking. He's too embarrassed. See? The system works!
My personal suspicion is that women who are offended by other women breastfeeding are those who, for whatever reason, haven't breastfed for any amount of time. Breastfeeding weirded me out until I was always doing it. You can't be weirded out by your own way of life.
So I defend my freedom to nurse on the sly, although the lactivists may call me a sellout. And I salute the moms out there who aren't as inhibited. Represent away.