I almost feel there’s no need for a lengthy analysis on this topic as SNL summed it up in two sentences. Now, I don’t know where feminists stand on this topic. I just Googled it and there’s actually, “Scholarly articles for feminists on breastfeeding” and “It’s time for Feminist to stop arguing about breastfeeding.” SMH. Breastfeeding is not a Feminist concern. Breastfeeding takes us back [into the dark ages said every feminist ever]. This is where it gets milky. If one believes in the sanctity of breastfeeding than one cannot truly be a feminist. Breastfeeding, like pregnancy and child birth is of the Highest gifts and talents given to Woman by God. This is where we differ from Man and cannot ever be the same as a man. If your main cry is for Equality, then how can we be equal to man in this capacity? The only way for us to be “equal” to a man is for us to reject this purpose of our bodies and act as if we have no breasts or womb. OR, for a man to somehow become equipped to provide milk from his chest and have equal opportunity to breastfeed and pump milk to be stored for later use (remember Meet the Fockers?) Equality does not mean Sameness. Right now, I’m giving you the same look as Cecily Strong has in that meme.
Pregnancy was stolen by the medical field in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1900, almost all births were home births (less than 5% were in hospitals). Doctors became more educated and viewed midwives as uneducated, indecent and “old world.” The medical field also began to emphasize personal hygiene and cleanliness. The shift from homebirth to hospital began. Another shift in *progress* was the introduction of drugs like morphine and scopolamine. They were given as a cocktail injection (Twilight Sleep) to mothers during labor. Woman struggled with consciousness (duh) and often thrashed around violently often leading to restraints! Despite it’s terrifying side effects, it was all the rage amongst women of the time, feminists and anti- feminists. They agreed on one thing: Painless childbirth was Liberation.
“One of the few American doctors to embrace Twilight Sleep, [Bertha]Van Hoosen became its most prominent medical advocate. She espoused that less awareness meant less birth injury – that scopolamine relaxed the uterus, leading to fewer forceps deliveries. Interestingly, Van Hoosen and other painless childbirth advocates incorporated a very anti-sex mentality with their pro-Twilight Sleep beliefs: “Painless childbirth will eradicate prostitution, abortion, divorce, childlessness, venereal disease, sexual excess in marriage.” Van Hoosen was a firm advocate of using anesthesia to break the link between the brain and the sexual organs. She began used it in her practice. Some women slept through labor; others became hysterical. Van Hoosen developed a canvas crib-like bed, to cage them in.” -supportbirth.com
A notable doctor of the time Dr. Joseph DeLee described childbirth as a “pathological process,” and that childbirth was not normal. By 1939, 50% of all births were conducted in hospitals. By the 1950s, 80% of all births were conducted in hospitals.-midwiferytoday.com
After World War II, the sale of formula was on the rise and becoming a lucrative business. Breastfeeding appeared to be on its way out. In 1956, La Leche League was formed because breastfeeding rates had plummeted. Seven mothers that attended the same church began talking one day. They realized they had more in common than not. Their concerns about motherhood and the care of their babies and young children became an organized group. They began to offer support to one another and other mothers. I watched this video via Youtube and heard words like, “Natural” “Loving” and “Confidence.” They even wrote a book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. In 1971, they were honored by Princess Grace at an event. She commended them on their work and mission. I couldn’t have written a better story myself. The following is part of their purpose:
“LLL believes that breastfeeding, with its many important physical and psychological advantages, is best for baby and mother and is the ideal way to initiate good parent-child relationships. The loving help and support of the father enables the mother to focus on mothering so that together the parents develop close relationships which strengthen the family and thus the whole fabric of society.
LLL further believes that mothering through breastfeeding deepens a mother’s understanding and acceptance of the responsibilities and rewards of her special role in the family. As a woman grows in mothering she grows as a human being, and every other role she may fill in her lifetime is enriched by the insights and humanity she brings to it from her experiences as a mother.”
I love their purpose because it includes the significant role of the father in the child rearing. It emphasizes that the family unit is the ‘fabric of society.” It acknowledges that a woman has ‘special role in the family.’ They believe that “as a woman grows in mothering she grows as a human being” and that her life is enhanced by the experience of motherhood. Their message is beautifully expressed.
Recently women and celebrities on social media have experienced backlash from viewers often irritated by the images of them breastfeeding their babies. People have complained to store owners and restaurant managers when women have breastfed in public. People have rationalized themselves crazy saying that breastfeeding in public is indecent and inappropriate. Some say its “gross” no matter the time or place. We have become so backwards and upside down as a *civilized* society that we view the most Natural feeding methods as gross and inappropriate. Yet, I eat my Frosted Mini-Wheats with breast-milk from a 1,500 pound 4 legged herbivore that says MOO. Like, I cant even right now. EW.