Breastfeeding is a completely normal, healthy part of motherhood and should not be decided by the public where it is permitted. However, some individuals believe the natural process of a mother feeding her child is disgusting and should be hidden from society’s sight.
The main argument against women breastfeeding in public is based around the idea that breastfeeding is "disgusting" or that it is "scandalous" for a mother to reveal her breasts in order to feed her child. However, it’s highly unlikely that the same people who complain about this issue would have similar complaints about the dozens of retailers that sell low-cut tops and push-up bras to young women so that they might achieve the same goal of revealing skin, but without a baby in tow.
In fact, many such comparisons of the two lines of thinking have been showcased in online videos, and as predicted, the public’s responses were drastically different.
One of the most popular videos from this line of social experiments came from Joey Salads in January 2016. It was entitled "Sexy vs. Breastfeeding in Public" and featured a model dressed to reveal the same amount of breast that would show if she were breastfeeding.
Even when placed side by side, passersby referred to the mother photo as "disgusting" and "gross" but the model as "sexy" and "hot." Even when the producer of the video mentioned to the individuals that the model showed the same amount of skin, the participants in the experiment could only come up with "that’s sexy" while pointing to the model, and saying "that’s just gross" about the breastfeeding mother.
This reflects a much larger problem in society. Too often, the general public is so uneducated about what is natural that they readily accept what has been oversexualized and condemn what they do not understand. As demonstrated by the video, the average person will consider a poster of a scantily-clad underwear model more socially acceptable than a mother barely showing the topmost portion of a breast in order to nurse an infant.
It is apparently such a large problem that business owners, passersby and other individuals act as if they have a right to tell a woman she cannot nurse publicly; however, they are wrong.
The National Conference for State Legislature published a report on its website of laws surrounding breastfeeding in the workplace and in public in December 2015. Forty-nine states, as well as Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands, have laws that specifically entitle women the right to nurse in public places.
Twenty-nine of these states have exemptions for nursing mothers from public indecency or nudity laws, and 27 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico have laws permitting mothers time to nurse throughout the workday, and require a location which is not a bathroom to be allocated for nursing in the workplace. In other words, the public does not have the authority to tell a nursing mother she cannot breastfeed her child.
Despite legislature that protects public nursing, people often believe they are still entitled to shame women for feeding their children. The excuse is usually, "It disturbs me," or "You can do that elsewhere."
However, breastfeeding is a natural aspect of becoming a mother. It is healthy not only for the baby but also for the nursing mother. On average, a nursing mother reveals no more, or even less, of her bosom than many women do wearing today’s fashionable designer tops.
Forcing women to nurse infants in private places like bathrooms is unsanitary and discriminates against mothers for fulfilling a necessary aspect of their child’s needs. If this country has sexualized breasts so much that it finds women using them for their intended purpose to be wrong, then it’s obvious America has a much larger societal issue on its hands.