Saturday, July 29, 2006

We Ain't Nothing But Mammals...

Every once in a while when I am reminded that I live in a Puritanical sex-repressed insensitive patriarchal country, I get angry enough that I want to do something about it.

What incensed me today was a topic on the Yahoo EP listserve - breastfeeding in public.

Evidently many people are disgusted by it. UPenn psychologist Paul Rozin proposes that anything that reminds us we are animals is disgusting. I agree with him and think that certainly applies to breastfeeding, the most mammalian of activities.

I personally am not disgusted by the idea we are animals, am not disgusted by breastfeeding in public, and look forward to the occasion when I can piss someone off because I am breastfeeding my child in public. I don't know if I would breastfeed my child until the age of 3-4 as some women in many parts of the word do, but I can certainly see the benefits. It provides fantastic nutrition and immunoenhancement for the child, acts as natural birth control because lactational hormones suppress ovulation, and eats up calories so quickly that a mom can either quickly lose "baby weight" or keep eating like mad. Aside from the discomfort of breastfeeding while a child has teeth, what else is wrong with nursing a 3-4 year old child?

And what is so upsetting about seeing a baby nursing from its mother's tit?

I wonder if the x% of people who are disgusted by public breastfeeding are the same people who believe that atheists like me are going to hell. I say bring the fire on baby, I am not at all worried.

I couldn't locate a link to the AP story I read so here's a link to one that carries:
click here for news story


An Idiot said...

I also believe that we live in a society where the only sex that is accepted is for procreation purposes, just like religion tells us. I got a good dose of that when watching the unrated version of Basic Instinct 2 this weekend. I don't know what the big deal was. It was quite tamer than many R-Rated movies I saw as a teenager. But that could be a sign of the times.

There was one advertising exec in the Showtime Series "Queer as Folk" who would use sex with most of his advertising. It points out an irony about our society, sex sells in advertising. Most commercials have sexy females or males to sell their product and sometimes sexual innuendo is used. There are limits, though. I remember a suggestive spot by Paris Hilton that was pulled for this reason.

I like to think that I'm not as sex-repressed as much of this country, but earlier this year I saw a woman breast-feed her child in public and I had to do a double take. I am a male, but I my expereince with this is that it was a private matter, much like using the restroom. Using the restroom is a function of being an animal, we just confine it to a room for decency and sanitary purpoes. It's just going to take time for society to feel comfortable with breast feeding in public, just like it took time for mastrubation to be accepted. In the 1800's and early 1900's masturbation was thought to have caused mental illness (Thanks, Samuel-Auguste Tissot), but it is more accepted.

I might have to check into Dr Rozin's articles, especially since Intelligent Design is coming back, at least in one State. Contradicting Evolution which is a animalistic notion.

Nutbuk Ug Bulpin said...

My mom used to say that breastfeeding is healthy $ economical for the baby & the family. Also, the bonding between mom & child is more intimate just like us-my siblings, mom & I. And I always think breastfeeding is generousity & noble 'cause it is 'life giving' whether privately or publicly done. It is the most wonderful thing a mother can do to her child/children. Though I am not oppose to a more discreet, modest way of breastfeeding in public. If I am not mistaken, the photo here was part of the "Breastfeeding Day in the Philippines" where mothers gladly participated to celebrate the joy of life. Nothing to be ashamed of!

slskenyon said...

It's unfortunate to see people so annoyed over something that really doesn't need to be exaggerated into an issue. I think that people aren't turned off by breast feeding because they are therefore reminded that they are animals--instead I think it has more to do with reminding us of our suppressed sexuality. You're right about living in a society where sex, even within marriage, is a hush-hush issue. Well, Jesus didn't say anything about enjoying sex, so if we do, we better keep a lid on it... Anyway, we are uncomfortable when something reminds us of our sexuality, and case in point is breastfeeding--where we see the taboo women's breasts exposed and the child, which was produced as a result of human sexuality, is immediately present.

Still, the concern is ridiculous. Leave it to conservative Christians to revolt against something natural.

I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

I think my blog and others I link to may have had the link you're referring to...

I agree with slskenyon to a point...I think there is the mistaken idea that BF is sexual.


Sebastian said...

I'm a staunch atheist AND am grossed out by breastfeeding.

Sure it's natural, but there are plenty of natural functions that are taboo. Both sexual and otherwise.

I don't find breastfeeding sexual, Speaking frankly, I find it to be a (frequently) unattractive woman with her shirt off and a slimey baby drinking bodily fluids from her nipple.

Sorry if I ruined the Christian theory; although I do hate animals, so maybe that Paul Rozin is on to something...