Breasts are for feeding babies.
For some reason, people sometimes need to be reminded of this; for example, a woman in Moorhead was asked to cover up when she began breastfeeding her 11-month-old baby at a public pool. It turned out okay, but it’s still a symptom of a weird cultural problem we have.
Breasts aren’t inherently sexual, and when you look at it, everyone already knows it. That’s why men are socially and legally allowed to be seen in public topless. Yes, those are also breasts, and no, it’s not size-dependent, either, because men with large breasts are allowed to go out topless and women with small ones are not. So it’s entirely dependent on gender, not size.
That’s creepy. Women’s bodies aren’t more sexual than men’s bodies.
And America is fairly odd in its sexualization of breasts. Historically they haven’t always been considered sexual; in many cultures women routinely go topless and topless/nude beaches can be found all over the place in the modern world. It’s a weird social quirk that Americans have that the rest of the world does not necessarily share; I remember being slightly surprised once when a woman changed her shirt in the public part of a Helsinki airport bathroom. No one else noticed or cared.
Breasts are for feeding babies. Nothing wrong with finding them sexy, of course; some people dig eyes, some people dig feet and probably there are people out there who dig noses.
But sexualizing breasts at all times and in all places isn’t good. One, it’s deeply creepy to sexualize women’s breasts, but not men’s, at all times and in all places. Two, it hurts breastfeeding moms. And three, it hurts their infants, too.
Incidents like these are why a breastfeeding mom I know had to cram herself into a restroom at Target with a baby, a baby-carrier and a diaper bag to try to feed the hungry baby amid nasty smells and constant flushing noises.
The science all points to breast milk being the best for babies. Plus, using formula will get you endless amounts of shame for being a bad mom from those Tina Fey called the “teat nazis.” And you can’t just hide in your home for a year or more and wait for your baby to be weaned, because babies need diapers and clothes and powder and lotion and shampoo and ointment and bottles and lots and lots of washcloths and all these things need to be bought and retrieved.
Would anyone seriously advocate putting moms under effective house arrest, anyway? They’re people, not cattle.
As Jurassic World showed, you don’t raise a dinosaur alone in captivity; do we want half-crazed isolated moms rampaging through town ripping down fences, attacking animals and picking fights with T-rexes?
All joking aside, half the population sees breasts any time they look in the mirror anyway. It shouldn’t be a big deal for them or the other half of the population to see a female breast in public occasionally, any more than it is to see a male breast.
And it should especially not be a big deal to see a breast used for its major purpose, which is feeding a baby.