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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fully exposed breastfeeding in public. Are Americans too modest to handle it?

Last night, while my husband, son and I were shopping in a busy store, we saw a woman walking around, with another woman and her baby. The baby was latched onto her fully exposed breast as mommy was walking around. It was odd. At first, I hadn’t even noticed her. I thought she was cradling a sleeping baby while walking around, I didn’t notice the exposed breast. But I wasn’t exactly paying attention. Of course, my husband noticed. Lol – go figure. Exposed breast, a man’s definitely going to notice. He was very mature about it and turned to me and whispered “did you see that woman?” So I looked over and I must say I was a little flabbergasted at seeing her walking around with a fully exposed breast, in a crowded store as she fed her baby. She wasn’t sitting down, with a breast cover, like I had, she was walking around, baby latched on to a fully exposed breast.

Do I think it’s wrong? No. It’s her preference and the bottom line is if baby is hungry, baby has to eat. That doesn’t mean I would do it. In fact, I know I wouldn’t. I grew up in a modest household. My parents are not conservative Muslims and we grew up in a fun, loving household where we weren’t covered from head to toe in stereotypical Muslim attire, but our cleavage and other body parts weren’t exposed either. We exercised modesty and I still do. Something I will teach my children as was taught to me. So it was a little off putting to see this woman so exposed in such a crowded store, and it made complete sense that she got so many stares, snickers and confused looks.

Americans aren’t used to this. That’s the bottom line. In 1999, I traveled to Paris and London. I was in SHOCK when I went to a mall in London with my cousins (who live in the UK) that there were fully exposed models in canvases all over the mall. No one cared. It was a part of their culture. I imagine Brits to be conservative, so it’s kind of shocking to me that even a semi-conservative culture, that still bows and curtsies to a monarchy wouldn’t be off put by exposed posters of models with their breasts completely exposed. The UK newspapers have an entire section with porn, just like we have a Sports section. You can pull it out and throw it away or go ahead and read it, in public. It’s a daily occurrence and something the people don’t find odd.

This is not the case with Americans. Sex and exposure are faux pas. We live in such a “free” society, but we are not used to this kind of exposure. So for me, a foreign born American, I found it odd to see a woman with a fully exposed breast, breastfeeding her baby in public.

What are your thoughts?


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