There was outrage when Facebook banned pictures of breastfeeding moms, porn-star and activist Madison Young was criticized for breastfeeding as performance art, and the cover of Time magazine last month ignited heated debate over “attachment parenting” when it showed a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her three-year-old, who she intends to keep breastfeeding until five.
Now it’s military moms in the firing line – after pictures were released of two Air Force mothers breastfeeding their children while in uniform.
Taken by breastfeeding advocate Crystal Scott, herself a mother of three and married to a serviceman, the pictures were meant to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding – but have received heated criticism instead.
On Crystal’s Facebook page, Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group, one woman even posted: “Those two [women] disgust me to no end. They desecrate our uniform by doing this in public. I hope they were punished for this. It's just as bad as that woman who posed for playboy in her uniform. They do not respect what we stand for and they are completely unprofessional to do this.”
But are they? Although there are strict rules about what military personal can and can’t do in uniform, there are currently no regulations about breastfeeding – and there have only ever been two cases of military personnel being disciplined for posing nude in or out of uniform.
And is that even a fair comparison? Most people would argue that posing nude for a men’s magazine is very different from breastfeeding a baby.
But one of the problems many breastfeeding moms face is that America seems to “sexualize” women’s bodies to such an extent that even a natural, beautiful and healthy activity like breastfeeding is somehow seen as “wrong.” Like America’s continuing obsession with justifying infant circumcision, puritanical Victorian attitudes continue to be pervasive.
What do you think? Should these military moms be disciplined for feeding their babies in uniform? Or should they be applauded for it? Tell us in the comments section below.