Before my miscarriage I had thoughts about how I would feed my child, deliver my child, raise my child. These thoughts haven’t really passed and I find myself perusing articles about child rearing and associated controversies. Mentioning a topic with a friend last night and seeing his skeptical look caused me to wonder why it is even an issue. The topic—breastfeeding. Now sure most of society is okay if breastfeeding is behind a locked door. Infants aren’t always cooperative about feeding when it is convenient. You can put your kid on a feeding schedule, but why? I’m all for a sleep schedule, I want my naps when I have kids. A feeding schedule though? I like to snack, why should I forbid a ravished infant from doing so?
Anyways, the article I read discussed a recent debate among military personnel. Now I am an Army wife and not in uniform myself so while it doesn’t really apply to me, I still feel it to be a personal cause I needed to discuss. The debate was whether or not breastfeeding in uniform would be considered degrading to the uniform. Some equate breastfeeding in public, in uniform, to defecating in public, in uniform. I don’t see how these two parallel in the least. One is used to expel waste and stinks. The other is used to provide nourishment. Yes, boobs can be used for sexual pleasure, but when did society forget their intended purpose? If watching a woman breastfeed turns you on, I’d say you need to pray and assess other deeper issues in your life. If you are truly bothered, look the other way. Now do I really want to see a woman whip out her boob in front of me? Not particularly. I do think women, when ABLE (i.e. they do have a sling readily available or the kid isn’t screaming at ungodly decibels) should cover themselves while breastfeeding in public. However I do not think there should be a ban on women in the military being able to publicly provide food to their babes.
Women shouldn’t have to do covert ops in order to feed their kids. It is a boob for goodness sake. It is meant for food. If you are disgusted, look the other way, a baby has to eat and sorry if biology makes you uncomfortable. Also, not all infants enjoy bottles. Some won’t take them. We can try and have military women cut their hair, tape themselves, and exercise like men but we are stripping them of their femininity. Feminism, at least how I understand it, isn’t about wanting to make women into men, it is about equality among the genders, the ability to be free to live out our fullest potential and not have gender be a discriminating factor. Women should be respected based on their credentials and not looked at differently because she has boobs and a vagina. If a man can’t take a woman seriously in uniform if she breastfeeds he should ask himself if he’s ever really respected her regardless of her gender or if he only respected her because he tried to envision she was masculine.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t even really be an issue. Boobs are really meant for food, we can’t camouflage that no matter how much we decorate them in lace or make erotic movies. Breastfeeding empowers a child to grow strong. It is no where near equivalent to degrading a uniform like defecating in public (although sometimes when you got to go you have to go…that’s probably for another thread).
The stipulations on what is respectful to the uniform and what isn’t makes me gawk at times. The military touts itself as being family oriented but when we have articles like this and spouses can’t touch each other if one is in uniform, I begin to question how truly family oriented the authorities of our forces really are. I wonder if they camouflage death, war, and bankruptcy through a veil of touted and unfounded (no evidence truly supporting the claims) tales of being family oriented.
Note: I respect our Armed Services. I am proud to call myself an Army wife. Like all things though, I question its history and reasons for particular principles. I do not mean this to be disrespectful to my strong, courageous husband in the least. Honey I hope you did not perceive it this way.