Any regular follower of mine knows that I am the world’s biggest fan girl for Salma Hayek. She is beautiful, she’s a self-described feminist, she fights to make a place for women of color in general and Latinas specifically in the world of entertainment, AND she’s an advocate of breast feeding!
So what’s the problem here? Apparently, 1) it’s eeew, grooooss that Salma is breastfeeding her own child, who is now about 14 months old! and 2) it’s even eeeew, grooooosser that Salma breastfed a child that wasn’t her own. Yuckiness.
Except, as a Latina mother who breastfed her own children until they were 2 and 3 respectively, and saw several mothers from her own community pop a shirt open to feed a child that wasn’t their own AND as a woman who comes from a long line of women and community members who fed other women’s children rather than their own (wet nurses anybody?), I have to wonder–what the hell is the big deal?
And do the people who are so upset and grossed out by this realize what the rest of the world is looking at THEM and thinking? How immature, how childish, how blatantly wrong it is to feel grossed out by a child drinking milk–and how disgusting it is that so many think a cow can feed a human child better than it’s own mother can?
What kind of world have we come to when it seems more natural to advocate for desperately *impoverished* women to *buy* canned milk rather than feed her child for free? And what kind of world have we come to when a woman can be attacked for breaking the boundaries of traditional ‘advocate’–stand and look amazed/sympathetic/kind/helpful, shake a hand and move on?
Any woman who has breastfed knows when watching that video–that child was *hungry*. Why do we find it so disgusting and gross that a woman of means and wealth gives him something to eat?
I am not a big fan of the breastfeeding wars. In my own life, I found breast to be best–but I also know plenty of women had to return to work within days or weeks of having their child, and breastfeeding simply wasn’t an option. I don’t sit judgment on those women and I think it’s a false dichotomy to say we have to choose either one or the other as being ‘better.’
What I *do* think is entirely obnoxious is the hard line attitude that the U.S. in particular seems to hold for breastfeeding women. As if what we do with our own bodies is somehow wrong or disgusting–unless we do it to satisfy social ideas of what a woman’s body is supposed to be and do (i.e. get naked for money).
Breastfeeding children that aren’t a woman’s own is something that has been happening since humans existed. Maybe instead of considering other women of the world ‘gross’ for doing what has been done for eons, we should consider what has become of *our* society that we are so disconnected from our bodies and from our children that performing a natural function is enough to create such an outrageous response?