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Boobs against breasts

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 19 years ago, in 2005, on the World Wide Web.

New Brunswick’s alterna-weekly, [here], recently decided that they wanted to gain some Progressive street cred on the Woman Question. Thus a cover story on breast-feeding, focusing on some women’s efforts to destigmatize it, and the need for nosy busybodies and self-appointed decency police to get over their hang-ups about women breastfeeding in public:

We don’t have a lot of support for women, says Storr. She says there are a myriad of reasons why women don’t breastfeed, but the lack of support on a few fronts is the biggest reason.

Some people will say (to breastfeeding mothers), I formula fed you, and you’re fine. Beyond this, there is a public perception that breastfeeding is something that belongs behind closed doors, she says.

In Vancouver, people breastfeeding in malls and the public is common, she says. In NB, it’s not. Christina Taylor, a 31 year old mother of two who is currently nursing a five and a half month old, says she has a friend who found some trouble in an NB mall.

She was in a food court in a mall, she says.

She had a lady tell her she should feed her baby in the bathroom. She was feeding her baby in a place where everybody else was feeding. Taylor breastfed her now three year old son, but she says at times, she felt housebound.

Here, people frown on you when you nurse in public, she says.

— Brent MacDonald, [here] 2005-10-06: Breast Asssured

A point well taken. And what better way to reinforce it than for the alterna-publishers of the alterna-weekly to pull the issue off shelves and sack the editor, Miriam Christensen, for daring to put this perfectly lovely and tender photograph on the cover:

Original cover of the 6 October 2005 issue.

… because the sight of a woman breastfeeding an infant is, apparently, inappropriate for the public sphere, and we are all of us better off for their much more appropriate replacement cover, helping to demystify breastfeeding with a pastel cartoon of a mother not breastfeeding her child. Which was apparently lifted from a 1950s Kotex ad:

… with even the word Breast dropped out of the top headline — just to make sure, I guess — in favor of First Food, a euphemism apparently summoned from of the eighth circle of Whole Foods hell.

What else is there to do other than just to point to the damn thing — from Princess Aurora to the pastel roses floating in the air behind her? Congratulations are due to the Irving newspaper group: they have officially outpaced any possibility of satire.

Further reading

2 replies to Boobs against breasts Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. L.

    Wow, I’ll certainly sleep a little sounder knowing that the good people of New Brunswick have been spared the shame of seeing A BABY EATING on the cover of their alt-weekly. THE HORROR.

    Everybody knows that decent mothers preserve their modesty by wrapping their children in blankets and allowing them to absorb their mammary secretions through layers of organic cotton. Breasts have only one function in civilized society, and it damn sure isn’t feeding babies. Haven’t they ever heard of that powdery stuff?


  2. Jeanine Ring

    Thank you for another excellent piece, Msr. Johnson.

    As a transgender woman (with rather prominent made-in-Thailand cyberbreasts) I find our society’s attitude toeards breast display somewhere between silly and ridiculous.

    I recently found myself engaged in the profoundly subversive act of painting my bathroom. I’d opened the window for fresh air, and wasn’t wearing much because I hate getting a mess on clothes and stripping seemed the simplest solution.

    I suddenly realized that many people might find it objectionable that I was standing there painting bare-breasted in front of a (first-story) window.

    I then decided: to Hell with worrying about that! This is San Francisco- a Free Republic which is sometimes mistaken for part of benighted America-, after all. I had no intention of undergoing inconvenience or discomfort under the belief that I should feel shame about my body or to appease the sensibilities of morons.

    Besides, to my estimate I was providing a free service. The only problem I might see involved is the lighthouse problem of classical economic theory.

    But then lighthouses are supposed to be built on the seashore. (Pagan joke)

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