I know I’m going to open a major can of worms with this one. But here goes: there is a fair amount of hoopla going on over a photo taken of two female service members breast feeding their children while in uniform. You can read the whole story and see the photos here. But like my friend Amy says, once you see them, you can’t un-see those images—so be warned.
I am all for breast feeding. I have had two children and breast fed both. I never felt the military was impeding on my ability to nourish my child. In fact, I met one of my dearest friends in the bathroom during an indoc course as we were both furiously pumping full breasts for our daughters who were born about the same time.
But this picture/story irks me for a couple reasons. I don’t like the “I’m an underdog just trying to feed my baby” theme going on here. It’s the old ‘boys against girls’ mentality and this picture is akin to posting a “no boys allowed” sign on the clubhouse door. A sentiment which does nothing for equality since basically we’re highlighting a difference and saying everyone has to support this because it’s about women and it’s politically correct. I’m not saying don’t breast feed, just don’t do it in front of everyone and then act surprised when they single you out or react strongly to it.
Number two, I adhere to the notion that when you are in uniform you are in uniform. Not half out of it, not exposing your breasts even if it is for a good cause like the nourishment of your young one. Now, perhaps these two women don’t sit outside on a park bench and nurse every day but the photo makes it seem that way and to me, they are out of uniform. Sorry, but disrobing in any degree warrants seeking out a place with a modicum of privacy.
And finally, I agree with the female Marine quoted in the comments section who said many women have worked hard over the last many years to get our male counterparts to see us as fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. “I do not want them to have the mental image of a babe at my breast. I want them to only see me as a Marine,” she said.
I think there are just some lines you don’t cross. Showing your breast partially and while feeding your child come down on the “too much” side for me but I know others may think differently.
Sound off readers. What do you think of the picture?