Members of the Faster clan (sibling Tidy and niece Ro-Tel) subverting the status quo in 2003
Ripped from the headlines: Actual local TV news â€˜updateâ€™:
â€œIs breast-feeding in public beautiful or tab-oo? Tonight at ten find out what Austin thinks about this divisive issue!â€
Holy Frito-pie on a Guardian Select aluminum crutch.
So how did infant sustenance come to signify, in the moron world of boobsick TV news copy writers, and ultimately to the debasement of anyone with breasts, either an insipid clichÃ© suitable for framing or a depraved obscenity?*
Hint: it starts with a â€˜Pâ€™.
[Iâ€™ll also accept â€˜pornâ€™ as correct.]
Note that a neutral response to breast-feeding is not permitted. In essence, of course, feeding a baby in public is not objectively distinct from taking a chum out for a taco. Chums eating tacos, however, rarely elicit hysterical outbursts from the local news, whereas breast-feeding has morphed into a spectacle. And not just any old spectacle, but one dipped in a vat of thick political intrigue. When observing this spectacle one apparently either (a) chokes back a torrent of liquid polyester teddy-bear tears or (b) is moved to form a citizen militia to stamp out this lurid profligacy and send the offending female back to the mud hut where she belongs.
Recall that the public sphere has, until quite recently in the US, traditionally been the exclusive purview of men and designated sexbots—the hookers, dancers, and sluts required by Dude Nation to provide a ready source of subservient titillation. Even now, in 21st century America, the idea of non-sexually-available women in the public square is tolerated only grudgingly. We are unceasingly bombarded with messages communicating the dominant cultureâ€™s discomfiture with our physical liberty, ranging from subtle pressure to conform to the hooker aesthetic (â€œI feel naked without my makeupâ€) to paternalistic chidings (â€œDonâ€™t marry one of those unsatisfied autonomous â€˜career girlsâ€™!â€) to dire warnings (â€™unescortedâ€™ women will get carjacked, assaulted, kidnapped, raped, and murdered).
Because the only form a public woman is allowed to take is that of the subservient femme, breast-feeding at Starbuckâ€™s is transgressive and confusing. Itâ€™s public, and it involves tits, yet it isnâ€™t feminine, and it isnâ€™t getting anybody off. What the hell is this thing? bleats the TV reporter. Kill it!
In fact itâ€™s an authentically female—as opposed to an artificially feminine—behavior.
Whenever women so much as touch a toe outside the bounds mandated by our parochial Boobâ€™nâ€™Womb Monitors, itâ€™s extraordinary enough to make the 10 oâ€™clock news.
Addendum [gracias, csue13]: Here’s what one moron godbag has to say about nursing women:
Their sex life had died completely, and one of the main causes was the mother’s obsession with breast-feeding well into the child’s eleventh month. The baby was attached to his mother like a limb, and he even slept with her every night, consigning her husband to a different bedroom.
I told the mother that in being so devoted to her son, she had committed the cardinal sin of marriage, which is to put someone else before her spouse, even if that someone is your child. Furthermore, I said, her obsession had turned one of her most attractive body parts into a feeding station, an attractive cafeteria rather than a scintillating piece of flesh.
* Iâ€™m not saying that controversy, of a sort, doesnâ€™t occasionally spring up at feeding time. Last night at a restaurant Stingray and I got into it over an order of corn-dog shrimp. My position has always been that the dish is a flawless embistroization of deep-fried nostalgia, whereas Stingray pronounces it â€˜too jokeyâ€™ to take seriously. Sheâ€™s clearly insane.
Neither do I suggest that there arenâ€™t a thousand and one real depraved obscenities one might encounter while dining (like our controversial hungry infant) out. Few of these apply to babies, though, as they derive strictly from mediocre chefs, painful maroon polyester napkins, and servers who allude to the soup of the day as â€œvishy-swah.â€