The pro-breastfeeding establishment has somehow gotten the idea that the best way to encourage breast-feeding is to encourage the display of breasts in the process of breast-feeding. Hence, those “nurse-ins”–in which a bunch of moms head to Starbucks and rip open their blouses so that all can see Junior having lunch without benefit of the shielding blanket or diaper that nursing moms used to use in the interest of modesty and respect for others. The philosophy seems to be that the spectacle will show women that breast-feeding is so “natural” that they’ll all want to let it all hang out, too.
That’s the pro-breastfeeding establishment. Turns out that actual breast-feeders feel a little different about such spectacles of natural-ness. That’s what the editors of Babytalk, a magazine for new mothers, found out when they put a photo of a very photogenic baby on the cover nuzzling at a mammary gland that was, well, bigger than the baby’s head. The magazine received some 5,000 letters of protest, representing about 25 percent of its readership, mostly from mothers of infants, according to this Yahoo story:
Several readers said they were ’embarrassed’ or ‘offended’ by the Babytalk photo and one woman from Nevada said she ‘immediately turned the magazine face down’ when she saw the photo.
‘Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob,’ the mother of a four-month-old said.
Another reader said she was ‘horrified’ when she received the magazine and hoped that her husband hadn?t laid eyes on it.
‘I had to rip off the cover since I didn’t want it laying around the house,’ she said.
Typically, the editors of Babytalk don’t view this attitude as a healthy expression of proper decorum for a beautiful but intensely intimate activity. Instead, they blame those usual scapegoats: American puritanism and hypocrisy.
“here is a real puritanical streak in America,” [Babytalk executive editor Lisa] Moran told [a news service]. You see celebrities practically baring their breasts all the time and no one seems to mind in this sort of sexual context.
“But in this very natural context of feeding your child, a lot of Americans are very uncomfortable with it.”
Yes, Ms. Moran, your readers are always wrong.