Usually my posting to this website has a hiatus of a week or two between posts, but something caught my eye. It’s a topic that is so cringe-inducing that it makes my blood boil. You must be thinking, ‘fuck man, what is it? War in Syria? Another ISIS video? The return of autocracy in the 21st century??’ Nope. It’s about breast-feeding on social media.
Sure, this day and age we are more inclined to share our lives on Facebook and Twitter. It’s the norm, everyone does it since it’s become such a focal point in our lives. But where do we cross the line? When do we realise that some things aren’t meant to be shared online with others? Years ago it used to be our personal information (if you remember the constant ‘awareness’ advertisements to tell kids the fears of social media), but now it’s crossed the line further. No longer are we worried about sharing intimate information online or blocking others from seeing those personal details of your life. We now have proud mothers posting pictures of themselves breast-feeding their children. Emmy Waller is one of those mothers, and her story recently came up in the news.
What’s the story? A mother from Yorkshire, England decided to stand up bravely and fight against the body-shaming of post-baby figures. Heroic is a word that comes to mind. How this woman has hidden away this sheer bravery for so long is beyond words. How did she do it, you ask? By creating an official organisation to help those with this problem? No… that’s not it. By demonstrating with others against this sort of thing, at least? Thankfully no, not that either. Nope. Her heroic act was actually in the form of a Facebook picture post. …Jesus Christ…
The Facebook photos, as you can see below, show the naked mother breast-feeding her child in the bath. This was apparently to ‘encourage people’ to not feel ashamed.
This is something I am strongly against. Why? Well, I’m going to go a little more formal in this rant since it’s something I’ve had to endure in the news for years now.
1. Have some respect for your personal life.
This first point should not be that hard. There’s a big difference between your online life and your personal life. Even though they share the same details, they are not the same. This has slowly taken over people’s realisation of what is ‘too far’ and has altered what ‘personal’ really encompasses.
This mother has gone to Facebook and posted these personal photos online in the hopes of encouraging others. However, it only proves my point further. You should not mix your personal life with your online life. There are things that mother’s should experience and enjoy as a parent without having to share it with the rest of the world. Breast-feeding your child is an intimate moment between you and your child, sharing that bond of mother and child… it’s a really great thing that any mother should be proud of. But that’s where it should stay. Breast-feeding is a personal thing you have with your child, and it honestly should be kept between you and your child. Nobody else is included in that bond, and nobody needs to see it either.
Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if a bunch of your friends commented on those pictures saying how proud they are of it or how nice it is. But I have no worry in guessing that a clear majority of those seeing those pictures are not having those same reactions. It’s something a lot of people do not want to witness, and that’s why there is an outcry from many people. They simply do not want to witness something that you have a difference in opinion to. It may be personal and loving for you, but something that intimate should stay in the bond between you and your child.
2. Keep in mind that people MAY NOT want to see this.
The reason people feel the need to post their breast-feeding photos is to ‘stand up’, which begs the question as to what exactly caused this pandemic. What do they need to step up against? Why are they fighting against anti-breastfeeding? There is a reason, and that’s public decency.
It’s as simple as this – people do not want to see those pictures. Just because it is happy and healthy does not mean that people want to indulge in that moment with your child. Your family and close friends? Sure, why not! Send them a message of it and let them compliment you on that. But as a simple human being, I am not using social media to see your breast-feeding photos or seep into your personal life. Nobody is saying they hate your body or are against you being happy at all. People simply do not want to see those photos online, and wish for you to keep those personal moments to yourself.
3. Breast-feeding and posting intimate photos are NOT a symbol of female empowerment.
The reasoning as to why Emmy Waller shared this photo is explained here:
‘Emmy bravely shared the powerful picture in a bid to inspire other women to celebrate their bodies regardless how they look.’ – Mirror news article, 3rd May 2017.
I am not opposed to women celebrating their bodies. Everyone should. As a guy who has had problems with his appearance for the majority of my life, I am all for people being happy with how they look. But then there’s people that take it that step too far. Those people who do things like publicly demonstrating their body appreciation by taking their clothes off, or posting pictures online of their naked bodies. This is one of those cases, and as appreciative as people are it’s a picture that violates common decency. You can be body-positive in many ways, but you must take into account the maturity of your cause.
Showing your body to the world does not make females empowered. Your body is not strong, it is not a symbol of beauty. Yes, it’s great that you feel comfortable in your own body. But it is so easy for people to play the ‘oppression’ card when they face criticism when others have a different viewpoint.
I’m sorry to break it down, but posting breast-feeding pictures and naked photos of yourself is NOT a sign of female empowerment. It’s a sign of indecency and a disrespect to human appropriation by only thinking of YOURSELVES. It’s so easy for people to take something as simple as a naked photo and express it as a strong symbolic message of feminism instead of following in the footsteps of actual oppressed symbols. How about Clara Campoamor, a Spanish activist who fought for the right for women to vote in Spain by fighting against other politicians? Or Eliza Calvert Hall, who used her talents as a writer to become an advocate for women’s rights? Or the inspiring Suffrage Hikes, done by many women across the US through harsh weather in support of women’s rights?
No, today we are shown rallies of people fighting for ridiculous causes. Instead of standing up for women’s rights, people now protest and cause commotion over anything they don’t like or enjoy. Instead of fighting for a better world, they now fight for an altered world.
Additional word from the biased support group, ‘La Leche League GB’:
One breast-feeding support group known as La Leche League GB actually commented on the situation saying:
‘Breastfeeding a baby is a biological norm and it’s important that women feel able to breastfeed without encountering negative comments. … Many mothers do lack confidence in breastfeeding and worry that others will judge them. Seeing breastfeeding as something natural can help society accept it as normal.’
Nobody is saying that breast-feeding is abnormal or wrong. It is the most natural way of feeding a child, hence why women produce milk in the first place. But the only reason women are ‘encountering negative comments’ is because it is not something others want to endure. There is no decency among those who demand respect for breast-feeding or else they wouldn’t encounter this problem. Shoving it in people’s faces is NOT going to solve that problem. Yes, it is normal and natural, but so is other human functions, and the majority of people have the decency not to make others witness it.
‘While some mothers prefer their breastfeeding experience to remain personal to them, others are comfortable in sharing a wide range of images of themselves nursing their babies as a means of marking their experience and of normalising breastfeeding.’ – La Leche League GB.
This is the problem. Whilst some mothers do feel happy to share that moment with others, that does not mean that they should. Just because you are proud of something does not mean you have the right to shove that in other people’s faces. Your parenthood does not come before common decency. Even if you are comfortable in sharing it to the world, that still doesn’t mean everyone will have the same viewpoint as you. People are not against breast-feeding, they are against having to be a part of that moment themselves when they just don’t want to be.
This is a problem that fits well with every single ’empowered’ group out there. They get negative feedback on something and feel the need to burst out and complain that they are being mistreated. Instead of ignoring that criticism and continuing to do what they do, they voice their displeasure and demand to be respected which does the exact opposite. The thing is, not everyone wants to indulge in that moment with you. Not everyone wants to share that personal moment with you. And when you realise that, instead of dealing with it like a normal human being, you bitch and moan that you are being treated unfairly. No, it’s all common decency. You aren’t better than other people just because you can breast-feed.