Breastfeeding in Public
I was breastfeeding my son in 2015 when I read about a mother who was shopping in a Marshall’s and was told that she was not allowed to breastfeed in the store. She was directed to the bathroom where she took a picture of herself feeding her daughter while sitting on the toilet. The next day a group of mothers organized a “nurse-in” at that same Marshall’s. My son and I attended and it was the first time I learned about the controversy surrounding women breastfeeding in public.
The law says mothers may breastfeed legally in any public place. But many people don’t want to see this. A woman’s breasts and nipples remain so censored that even other women feel strongly that they stay covered up and out of sight even when it comes to feeding a baby.
I was honestly shocked (and remain to be today) that this is an issue worthy of debate. I believe it comes from the over sexualization of the female body and that as a culture we are so used to seeing breasts as sex symbols that they cannot be accepted for any other purpose, no matter how natural.
As an artist my response to this controversy is to create as many images as possible showing women breastfeeding in public spaces. This is a collection of those images which I have shared extensively on Instagram with hashtags like #normalizebreastfeeding, #normalizemotherhood, #normalizewomensbodies, #takebackpostpartum, #freethenipple, #stopcensoringmotherhood #feminism and more.
If you have a story to share about this topic please reach out. It’s a project that is ongoing and that I feel particularly passionate about.