As a brand new mother, I scoured the Internet for reliable information regarding attachment parenting, baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, discipline, and all topics relating to the areas of motherhood and feminism that resonated with me. It wasn’t long before I was constantly referring to the fount of wisdom that is PhD in Parenting.
Annie, the blog’s brilliant author, is at the cutting edge of all things parenthood. From anti-Nestle campaigns and breastfeeding lactivism to opinions on parenting books and public policy — PhD in Parenting has brokered a wide readership and an impressive level of authority on the subject.
In response to negative comments saying that women should cover up when breastfeeding, Annie has created an amazing video tackling the potential anti-breastfeeding message that’s voiced when people dictate how others should dress in public.
Positioning that covering is a feminist issue, the video begins with contradictory quotes — telling women to loosen up, but not to dress like a slut. It then moves to artistic shots of women in various levels of dress: a burqa, hijab, sweaters, low-cut shirts and nothing at all, saying that women are free to wear whatever they want. The video then shows images of nursing mothers in various stages of dress — emphasizing the obvious double standard that some hold between nursing and non-nursing women.
The video’s message is clear: telling women what to wear, or what not to wear is a form of oppression. How a woman relates to herself and to others through clothing, and her reasons for doing so, are her choice regardless of the degree to which she covers. Forcing a woman into burqa, or banning a woman from wearing hijab is just as offensive as telling a breastfeeding mother that nursing her child in public is disgusting.
As Annie explains in the comments section of her post,
For a breastfeeding mother whose baby will not accept being covered or who finds it awkward to use a cover, that could mean that she opts not to nurse in public, which could make her more likely to supplement, to feel like she has to go and hide to nurse, or result in her choosing to wean early because it is just too difficult to nurse in public.
As much as I rail against the barrier, it took a fussy nursling to eat noisily behind a mosque curtain for me to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. Having the freedom to leave my house with my child, without fear of reprisals or transgression of my own standards of modesty was a huge step for me. If at any time someone would have commented negatively on how I nurse my child, I probably would have never left the house. And no one deserve the right to force women into that position by bullying, force, or prejudice. Because yes, it is prejudice and oppression against breastfeeding when women are asked to cover up the second a child is attached to their chest.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder,
But when it comes to dressing and breastfeeding,
Appropriateness should be decided by the mother.
If you don’t like it
Then please, discreetly avert your eyes.