I recently read a blog post where the author was begging mothers to stop posting photos of them breastfeeding their children. In her post she described these photos as graphic and borderline pornographic, that they are immodest, and can have negative repercussions with the child in the photo when they get older. She also mentioned that she is embarrassed for her husband to not only see breastfeeding photos but women out in public. That breasts are meant for the sacredness of marriage and she doesn't want her man to see another women's breasts, so I guess they go out in public wearing blinders.
The accusations that she made in her ignorantly narrow minded article irritated me to no end. I have to address the deeper underlying issue. That even though we are in a modern society we are still struggling with objectifying women.
"We need to teach them that Women are valid,
Women are significant, Women are equals."
The rights between men and women has been so lopsided for centuries. And up until very recently this has been because women were regarded as property. I can go into a history lesson about dowries, Kings beheading their Queens for "treason" when they themselves can have as many mistresses as they like, and even at the altar when the couple is pronounced Man and Wife, but I won't bore you with the details. Women have worked so hard for their rights: the right to vote, the right to custody of their children, the right to own property, the right to their inheritance, the right to divorce their cheating husband, the right to choose what's best for their bodies, and the right for equal pay.
This hits home for me because I've always had this point of view, for as long as I can remember and my memory goes back to 7th grade. I guess that's the time when you start discovering yourself and become more aware of the world around you. The specific memory in question was myself getting sent to the office during the last class of the day for the length of my dress, to which I had basketball shorts on underneath mind you. It was in that moment that I learned the travesty that is our "modern" society. Of course that was some years ago but what that male teacher taught me and imprinted on me was so much more than he could have ever imagined.
"Modesty has become an organized religion agenda
that focuses on the female body being a sexual object
that causes men to sin."
The thing that gets me is that women are shaming women for breastfeeding and nourishing their children. Their reasoning is they believe it to be immodest and are fearful of their husbands wandering eye. Rather than looking inside and finding the root of their insecurities they are choosing to dictate to women that they are the ones who need to make the change. Because once again we cannot hold a man responsible for his actions, we cannot expect him to just look away. Why? I'm not even sure I can answer that. I guess it's because we've been giving men a hall pass.
There are a great amount of opposing views regarding modesty and here is where I stand. Modesty has become an organized religion agenda that focuses on the female body being a sexual object that causes men to sin. It puts all the blame on the woman and holds no man responsible for his actions. Shaming public breastfeeding continues to support that a woman's body is just a sexual object and that even in this modern time of society we are still not allowed to have control over our bodies.
"We need to stop viewing women as
an object, prize or property"
By allowing the mentality that women are sexual objects leads to men thinking it's okay to abuse, use, rape, and degrade women. Often times they will be able to "excuse" their behavior with a simple statement: "did you see what she was wearing/how she was walking/standing/the way she was looking at me? She was asking for it". The fact that men can even feel that they can say that and it justifies their actions means that we really haven't come that far. They are not taking responsibility for their actions nor did someone hold them accountable as they were growing up. This is a fundamental change we need to make in our society.
We need to change this. We need to stop viewing women as an object, prize or property. We need to stop giving men hall passes for their behaviors. We need to teach our husbands, brothers, sons, and even fathers that they are responsible for themselves and how they conduct themselves, it is on them alone. We need to teach them that they are accountable for their actions. We need to stop saying "boys will be boys" when they act a fool, get into a scuffle, or are disrespectful to a girl. We need to teach them that women are not objects or property. We need to teach them that women are valid, women are significant, women are equals.
"We need to raise them by teaching them that the female body is beautiful and capable of so much...they will not be embarrassed or feel shame."
We need to raise our children to respect a woman, her body, and her rights. We need to raise them by teaching them that the female body is beautiful and capable of so much. By normalizing the body and showing our children that breastfeeding is a natural and normal occurrence then we can begin the conversations and in turn begin the change that our society so desperately needs. So that when our children see a photo of themselves nursing on their mother they will acknowledge the true beauty and the reality of the photo. They will not be embarrassed or feel shame. They will not be considered "odd" because they accept the photo for what it is. The only people who would be embarrassed by these photos are the people who are raised to believe the female body is a sexual object and that it is sinful to look at, that it causes men to sin, and should remain covered at all times. Furthermore, if a child becomes embarrassed of his/her mothers photos then it is probably because they have been indoctrinated into believing that any and all forms of sexuality and sensuality is sinful unless it is in the private confines of ones marital home, in the bedroom, preferably missionary style. And that my friends would be a tragedy.
I feel like there is still so much left that is untouched on this issue, but it is my hope that we can start making a difference for ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. We deserve better, they deserve better. It won't get better until we get our voices heard. Thankfully I know that I am not alone in this effort and there are other women that feel the same way.