Monday, June 29, 2015

Let's All Be Careful

      I have a really good friend, and when I was at a particularly trying and confusing point in my life, he gave me some really good advice.

     "Be really fucking careful."

     Good advice, and I try to remember it from time to time. And now, I'm sharing it with you. Because I've noticed a trend. I'm a part of a lot of mothering groups and boards and follow a lot of pages. I know that breastfeeding out there in the world can suck. Moms are told to leave or cover up or that what they are doing is gross or indecent. And it gets old. It gets *so old* trying to explain why feeding a baby is not a sex act or in some way offensive. I get it. I totally do. 

    But what I have noticed is a sort of war of comparisons. Breastfeeding moms and pictures of celebrities in low cut or see through dresses. Nudity. Cleavage. All of these things. Irate (and justifiably so) mothers share pictures they find on the internet of breasts- all kinds of exposed breasts- and bemoan the fact that breastfeeding is so looked down upon while these breasts are accepted.

   And your right. It sucks. It sucks that sexualized breasts or breasts pleasing to the male gaze are accepted while functional and biological breasts are frowned upon. And it's because of the over arching patriarchy and the way women are valued and the way motherhood is valued and our relationship to our own bodies. It's multifaceted and multilayered and complicated. And it sucks. 

   But here is my advice to you- be really fucking careful. Be careful because when we start to judge who gets to use their bodies in what ways, we are doing the exact same thing as those who dictate when and how breastfeeding is acceptable. You sitting around and deciding which bathing suits or red carpet dresses are acceptable is no different than someone sitting around and deciding whether or not breastfeeding moms should be covered. 

   When we start to dictate who should use their bodies and how and under what circumstances, we are playing the same game. You know what the real solution is? Let's lift each other up. Let's decide once and for all that each person's body is their own. Their own to use however they see fit.

   Instead of saying, "Oh my god, why is the dress okay and my nursing  photo isn't?", let's say "Oh my god, she looks amazing! Her body is beautiful and I honor her. Let's all honor each other with the same appreciation and reverence."

   This isn't about us versus them. The minute we believe that is minute we believe some other person is allowed to dictate our own selves. We when try to steal the power from another woman, we are giving up our own. 

   So let's all be really fucking careful that we aren't creating our own powerlessness. That we aren't disempowering our fellow human beings. And that we are confident enough in ourselves to hold not only our own, but the space next to us as well. 

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