Thursday, October 3, 2013

National Breastfeeding Week: Thoughts on the Stigma

My little man nursing at just a few days old.
This week is National Breastfeeding Week. It's a subject near and dear to my heart as regular readers will know.  I'm a bit of a strange one, because I'm one of the few who biologically cannot exclusively breastfeed... but did anyways!  I thought I'd write a bit about my feelings on the stigma of breastfeeding in Ireland and the prevailing view on breasts as a sexual object versus a functional biological one.

I love that we have a week highlighting this beautiful act of motherhood, but it's a lifelong battle in Ireland which never ceases to baffle me.

Just looking at some of the reactions of people on twitter says a lot about Irish culture and the way women are really viewed.  If boobs are seen purely as a sexual thing, what does it say for us? For a culture who is rapidly rejecting religion and all the backwards theories that comes with it and finally backing science and natural selection, it's amazing to me that we can be so close minded about this.  I wonder where people think the human race evolved from if it wasn't for boobs. Formula wasn't even an option 200 years ago, yet somehow we managed to survive.

I would urge every woman to examine her feelings on this issue and wonder why and where those feelings evolved. If boobs are only for our partners to play with, what does that say about us? What does that say about our view of the role of women? Where did such views come from? Whether you choose to breastfeed or not, you really need to think about this. Why should women be made feel uncomfortable or in extreme cases shunned for doing something their bodies were made to do? Why is it ok for women to flaunt their assets in the media or out on a Friday night but not to use them how they were actually meant to be used?  Why is it that educated women feel this way? Why is it that 50 Shades of shite is so popular among women? Why is it that we are our own worst enemies?  Yes, Christianity has a lot to answer for shaming women and their bodies, but even in some of the most oppressive countries towards women today breastfeeding is a non-issue. Nursing burqas are big business I tell you! :)

All of this bears thinking about and pondering... above are just some of my thoughts and there are many more where that came from but I will spare you!  Check back tomorrow for my new favourite cake recipe... Grapefruit! Yes, it's worth it!

Check out Mama.ie for the rest of the posts on this special week.

Oh and now... a competition for the week that's in it!



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4 comments:

  1. Good woman, great post! I love the idea of nursing burqas!

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  2. Go girl. Boobs are for Babies Too! Shame some people don't get that-mentioning no names faceehembook!

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  3. As you may know I didn't breastfeed, but I'm totally pro-breastfeeding, and I thought everyone was now? I didn't realise that there was still a stigma attached. It's certainly not in evidence on-line :)

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    1. You must be on a different interwebs than me so! Even have a look at IPB and Yaz's twitter. Glad you feel it's not there and you're not exposed to it, but it is extremely prevalent especially among younger women. :(

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