A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Is Breastfeeding a Feminist Issue?

“Abby, why are you steady blowing up my newsfeed with feminist posts? This is a breastfeeding page, I don’t need to hear about all this. Stop trying to make breastfeeding a feminist issue!”

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I’m happy to explain! I am not making breastfeeding a feminist issue. It IS a feminist issue. And the word “feminism” is nott uncool or lame or outdated. It’s a beautiful, powerful word that basically means we want to be recognized as the human beings that we are.

I used to think to myself, “I have never been raped, I have never been hit by a man, so I am not qualified to speak on these issues.” But then I realized that it really doesn’t matter what my exact experiences have been. I am a woman and I live in a world where women are harassed, raped, abused, beaten and killed simply for being women. My behavior and experience of my world is affected by the experiences of other women. We all live in a misogynistic culture and are all affected by it.

I am confident in saying that every single woman on this planet has experienced some sort of harassment. I started to think about my life and was shocked to realize just how much harassment I have experienced. I had never thought about it before. I found myself feeling much closer to all women, the ones I know and the ones I haven’t met yet. The ones with similar experiences as mine and the ones with very different ones.

Dirty looks while breastfeeding, sexual harassment at work, cat calls on the street, rape and domestic violence are all reminders that this world is not ours, that our bodies do not belong to us. It is VITAL that we stop seeing these things as separate and isolated incidents. This is an absolute and clear pattern of violence against women. This is a global pandemic that we can no longer ignore.

These issues extend directly to birth and breastfeeding. Our bodies are legislated, we are told our bodies do not work, we are told that we are not capable of birthing, breastfeeding or parenting. We given the message everyday that we are valued for the sexual pleasure that we provide men and that everything else is lesser. We are told that our experiences, perspective and personal truths are unreliable.

I came to understand myself as a woman through breastfeeding and this will always be our main focus here, I love to have a good laugh and there are some spectacularly awesome moments in motherhood that will always shine through. BUT I cannot ignore the bigger picture of our experiences as women as a group living inside the patriarchy. I refuse to turn my back to it.

So that is why you see feminist posts on this page.

Comments

  1. Jeremy Z says:

    Being a man and 100% encouraging and backing my wife to breastfeed our 2 children as long as she was comfortable doing, I have to agree with the majority of your post. I believe the world is sexist in general, favoring men. I’m teaching both my children the values of equality. I’m making sure they both don’t fall to the norms of what society things is OK. If you have an idea of how to change the mindset of humanity, let me know, as I’ve been thinking about this since I had kids and that’s when the issue hit me.

    • Wow, Jeremy Z. Thank you so much for commenting. It’s quite a thrill to have a man commenting here and willing to engage and listen to this conversation. I would say about changing the mindset of humanity that you are already doing so. You are teaching your kids about equality. They are the future right? So you are doing it. You are changing the world. Model for them what it is to stand up for someone, especially women and to confront sexist ideals as they play out in our daily life. Teaching about sexual consent it a big one too. You sound like you have this all under control. 🙂

  2. Hi – I am a PhD student, investigating your site and your Facebook feeds (specifically the visual rhetorical aspects, artifacts, icons and memes – because what is the real issue at hand if not primarily visual) in my research project to show exactly how breastfeeding (in public or in private) is a feminist issue. I am also a mother who has nursed both of my children anywhere and everywhere for the past 6+ years. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this issue and would be happy to share my work with you when it is completed in a couple of months.

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