Breastfeeding and the Sexualization of Breast

There are a lot of controversial viewpoints about the topic of “breastfeeding”, as indicated by a recently released news article featuring a picture of breastfeeding soldiers, which has since gone viral. Some regard it as repulsive and unnecessary (you can look through the comments of these articles), but what people don’t realize is that breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to feed a child, as well as the cheapest option for a lot parents. The main issue is how sexualized the breasts have become – so much so that people find it unacceptable for a woman to feed her child in public.

Breastfeeding: The sexualization of the breast

Breastfeeding in public is not considered a form of public nudity or a violation of the law; in fact, it is done in other regions of the world without any problems.

The sexualization of the breasts, however, is something that is quite new to the world, and it can be categorized as a fetish – or a form of sexual desired linked to a particular object or part of the body (usually to an abnormal degree). This hasn’t always been the case, but today, this sexualization means that women wanting to breastfeed their children must do so in private. Women are relegated to feeding their child in a bathroom stall, or somewhere equally cramped, in order to make sure that other people do not feel uneasy or uncomfortable.

How women are responding

Presently, there are military policies that tell women soldiers to cover up or go into another room. In response to the growing negative attitudes towards breastfeeding, women are fighting back. As previously noted, many images depicting breastfeeding soldiers are now going viral. This is significant as one way to normalize the practice in public is to continuously create exposure to it in order to make people understand that it is a vital way to provide children nutrients during the first year or so after giving birth.