Sunday, August 22, 2010

Salma Hayek, Kim Kardashian and "Creepy" Breastfeeding

Salma Hayek, Kim Kardashian and "Creepy" Breastfeeding

I mean seriously: What gets people so worked up about breastfeeding? The baby is hungry, nature put milk in your boob to satisfy that hunger—pop a boob in the baby’s mouth and everybody’s satisfied. It’s free. It’s (relatively) easy. And it comes with some health benefits for the kid and some quick weight loss for you.

Everybody wins.

Why, then, all the vitriol? I swear, when I made the conscious decision to breastfeed both of my daughters for at least a year, everyone from the nurses where I gave birth to some of my closest family members and friends tried to shove Similac into my refrigerator—as I recount in THIS BLOG POST. I always felt like at the base of it, folks were so busy sexualizing my boobs that they couldn’t accept that I wanted to put them to use for purposes other than turning on men.

This was on my mind recently when I read the June issue of In Style, when Salma Hayek expressed shock over a legion of racist hate mail from people who took pen to paper to express outrage after the Mexican starlet breastfed a hungry, crying African child while on a humanitarian trip in the motherland:

This baby was hungry and I was still nursing [my daughter] Valentina, so I fed the child. What was shocking were the hate letters I received. What offended some in particular was that I breastfed a black child. It was not even in my universe, such a thought. For me, it was a baby who was just born and was hungry. He was healthy but malnourished at this hospital – it was really just a clinic in the countryside – and I was able to help.

My girl Erica Kennedy of The Feminista Files had me sending up hallelujahs when she broke down why someone would waste printer ink, paper, a stamp and the spit it took to make it stick to an envelope hollering at a woman whose sole purpose was to feed a baby:

I think this has to do with the messed up, puritanical ideas we have in America about sexuality and our own bodies. A rich Latina woman married to a white French billionaire whose gigantic tatas are always on delicious display on red carpets letting a poor black child s uckle on her golden bosom on camera for ABC News? That could keep a whole army of shrinks writing books for decades.


Which had me thinking that maybe the deputy editor at a top UK-based parenting magazine, should ask HR if her health benefits cover a couple of couch sessions to discuss her hatred of breastfeeding. Just this past week, after Kim Kardashian tweeted her disgust of a woman who was breastfeeding in public, Kathryn Blundell of Mother and Baby magazine WEIGHED IN WITH AN ESSAY in which she proclaimed her “fun bags” were strictly for lovers, and the idea of putting them in the mouth of a “bawling baby” is “creepy.” She added that she formula fed her child to give her boobs “at least a chance to stay on my chest rather than dangling around my stomach.”

Now, I get why Kim Kardashian’s ignorant ass would tweet some anti-breastfeeding sentiments. I mean, I find it ironic that a chick whose claim to fame is making uninspired, butt-naked sex tapes with Ray J, is bothered by a mother feeding her baby in public. But nobody ever accused Kardashian of being the brightest porch light on the block anyway, so her dimwittedness makes sense. But the editor of a parenting magazine going hard against breastfeeding? Really?

Of course, after all hell broke loose, Blundell explained herself, but stood surprisingly firm, even in the face of a firestorm of criticism:

My motivation behind writing this feature was to give a voice to those many women who simply do not want to breastfeed, and as a result of this choice have felt guilty, alienated and distressed. 
I also wrote with humour as I wanted to take a more relaxed approach to the topic, in a climate where unfortunately the type of milk a woman feeds her baby seems so open to serious judgment and criticism.

Exactly. Emphasis on judgment and criticism. How, exactly, does one try to stop mothers from judging and criticizing other mothers for their baby feeding choices by judging and criticizing women who breastfeed? I'm confused.

Here’s an idea Ms. Blundell: How about we accept the fact that God put milk in our breasts to feed our babies, and that all over the world except here in the backwards ass United States and apparently the UK, it’s actually considered a GOOD, HEALTHY way to keep your kid alive.

It’s not creepy.

Or nasty.

Or abnormal.

And I don’t know about anyone else, but I got two-baby boobies—and they sit up right nice, thank you very much.

If you choose to feed your baby with formula—cool, do you. Your choice. Just like breastfeeding was mine. Let’s leave each other alone about it already.

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