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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Breastfeeding healthy, not offensive

What’s cooler than hating something? Hating something with a ton of strangers. Breastfeeding in public has caused a stir on social media outlets and everyone is falling out of their chairs in an effort to shame women into stopping.

Advertisers use breasts to sell beer, clothes, car insurance, oven mitts, movie tickets, paint, chairs, salt shakers — the list goes on. You could name any product and the likelihood is that it’s been sold with breasts because sex really does sell. Very few in our country take issue with this practice.

However, when that same part of a woman’s body is used for its evolutionary purpose of nurturing and feeding a child, people suddenly fly off the handle.

The outrage needs to stop. The shaming needs to stop.

Women aren’t breastfeeding children with the intent to anger anyone. This isn’t high school, where kids act a fool to get their friends riled up. Women are breastfeeding because it’s healthy for their child and because sometimes it’s necessary to do in public rather than finding some place to hide behind closed doors.

If it bothers you that much, simply look away. It’s not hurting anyone.

According to WebMD, breast milk has countless benefits, including a perfect mix of vitamins, protein, fat and antibodies to help fight viruses and bacteria. It has been linked to higher IQ scores and is thought to lower the risk of diabetes and obesity — do I really need to keep listing the benefits?

For something with so many benefits, people sure do like to shame mothers for trying to give it to their children. What’s next? Stopping people from reading a book in public? Exercising? Watching “Parks and Rec?”

A woman is celebrated for bringing a life into the world and then immediately harassed when she’s seen breastfeeding her child in public. For the most part, women are covered up while breastfeeding and far from flaunting the process in front of anyone.

A woman who is moderately dressed and sitting on a park bench will be on the receiving end of many leering stares. Men will unabashedly stare. Yet these same men get uncomfortable when they breastfeed in public? This is a dangerous double standard.

Our society is shaming women for doing something natural and healthy for their child, something that really doesn’t affect anyone else.

People can look away. No one is forced to sit and stare at a breastfeeding woman. No woman is bursting into anyone’s home and breastfeeding on his or her couch as they eat dinner. She’s not breastfeeding her child and following the person around the house as they’re getting ready for work. A breastfeeding woman creates no interference in anybody’s life at all.

When you hear music that doesn’t appeal to you, you turn it down. When you see a television show that you’re not fond of, you change the channel. People constantly make all sorts of simple, small accommodations in order to feel more comfortable, and looking away from a breastfeeding woman is no different.

Follow Daniel Geffre on Twitter

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