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The other day I was on Facebook and saw a picture of a woman breastfeeding in public. Some of the comments were all about how disturbing and inappropriate this behavior was. One of the things that I noticed about those negative comments was that every one of them came from a man. This isn’t surprising to me, especially since men have always tried to control women and subjugate them in some form or fashion throughout history. Me being myself, I can’t help but to express my own thoughts on this subject.
A lot of people, when presented with the idea of breastfeeding in public, believe that this is very indecent behavior. I fail to see what the issue is with a woman showing her breast in public, especially when she is breastfeeding her child. Breastfeeding is perhaps one of the most natural acts, and has been practiced ever since mammals gave birth to their offspring. How can anyone claim that something as natural and innocent as feeding a child is indecent?
On the other hand, you have men that are able to freely walk around shirtless, exposing the world to their breasts and nipples. This is one of the many double standards that exist in our society. What, really, is the difference between a man’s nipple and a woman’s nipple? There really is no difference other than the fact that women’s nipples can be used to give sustenance to a child.
Some might try to claim that a woman’s breasts are a “sexual” part of her body and therefore should be covered in public. There are two reasons that I can see that cause a woman’s breasts to be seen as sexual. The first being that it is a sensitive area during sex that can be stimulated with the mouth. The issue with using this as a reason to keep them covered though is that the same can be said for men. Men can, and do, have sensitive nipples as well that can be stimulated during sex, which makes this argument invalid.
The other reason, and perhaps the biggest reason, that women’s breasts are seen as “sexual” is because they must keep them covered in public. Making it taboo for women to be seen topless in public is of course going to have the natural effect of sexualizing it. Women’s breasts are now seen as an anomaly that should be viewed only in private, increasing the sexual appeal that they have. If we began allowing women to be topless in public then it would become just as normal as it is for men. Eventually, nobody would even think twice about a woman showing her nipples in public as she is walking down the street topless.
One of the comments that I saw someone keep repeating over and over on this picture during the discussion was that men wouldn’t be able to control themselves. This is the same thing as men telling women that they are at fault for men’s actions. The same thing as telling the rape victim: “Well if you weren’t wearing what you were then this wouldn’t have happened.” Men’s lack of self-control has nothing to do with what a woman is or isn’t wearing. If a man wants to rape a woman, it isn’t going to matter if she is covering every inch of her body, or if she is walking around in the nude! A rapist is plainly and simply a rapist. The woman didn’t ask to be raped by walking around topless.
This is probably one of the most infuriating defenses that I’ve heard about why women shouldn’t be allowed to breastfeed, or go topless, in public. It continues to put the burden of men’s action on the women around them. This is just another form of subjugation that women should not have to put up with! It is time that men start putting blame for their actions, and the actions of other men, where it belongs! To blame women for what happens to them only fosters and environment where sexual assault will continue to thrive.
We should all take a step back and actually think about the decisions we make and the reasoning behind them. We may be able to fool ourselves as to why we do something, but you can’t really fool everyone. What does it matter to you if a woman is equal to you? Why do you feel the need to subjugate women and make them abide by rules that you would refuse to abide yourself? It is time that we catch up with the times, and some of our European counterparts that have already seen the truth here. There is no difference between one nipple and another, and if men’s nipples can be shown then so should women’s!