I have never been shamed for breastfeeding. But saying that I have never been shamed for breastfeeding is like saying that I have never been raped. It doesn’t really matter. I still live in fear of it. No, I don’t mean shuddering in fear and unable to live my life. I mean my behavior (and yours) is shaped by the experiences of other women. I don’t walk alone at night. I am always aware of my surroundings. I walk briskly through empty parking garages. I would never think of cutting down an alley at night. As a matter of fact, I won’t even do it during the day in my neighborhood. I have lived my whole life being shaped by a culture where women are brutally abused every single day, where the responsibility lies on me to not be victimized. [Read more…]
The most revolting thing about being a woman is how we are constantly picked apart. We are evaluated, ranked and classified based on what we wear, say, think, feel, do. Yet this is so deeply ingrained in our culture that we rarely notice when it is happening and even do it to ourselves and each other. [Read more…]
You will most likely not have a negative breastfeeding incident in your life. But that means nothing really. You live in a world where this happens and we all suffer the consequences of misogyny. Breastfeeding incidents occur often. Most of them are not reported. (Sound familiar?) Women are left humiliated, frightened and broken. Something is taken from women when this occurs; a sense of safety and innocence. These are not isolated incidents. They are part of a pattern of hatred of women, violence against women, abuse of women, shaming of women. Where porn is a billion dollar industry, where we pay a ton of money to see women take their clothes off, but women are told to cover up and go to the bathroom when breastfeeding their babies. There is a sickness in our society. One rooted in misogyny and double standards. One that hurts women and children everyday. One that must be cured. Cured by speaking up, speaking out, speaking often, making waves, not shutting up, not waiting for it to get better, breastfeeding whenever and wherever, shouting for each other and not giving up ever, ever, ever.
By Abby Theuring, MSW
The longer I work at breastfeeding advocacy and activism the harder it becomes to separate issues surrounding breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public from larger feminist issues. Intrigued by the connection I started reading feminist essays and picked up Rebecca Solnit’s book Men Explain Things to Me. I worked up an appetite to [Read more…]