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Bullying due to breastfeeding in public places has become more rampant and requires to be properly addressed as most of those bullying believe that it is indecent exposure of the mother’s sexual organs in public. A woman exposing her cleavage while breastfeeding, the same magnitude as one in a skimpy outfit, will be termed as indecent and disgusting as will be established, while in fact she is offering nutrition to her younger one. Proper nutrition and better health starts with correct breastfeeding for an infant from as early as four hours old to at least six months old (Victoria, et.al 2016: pp64). Breastfeeding is more of a second to nature activity that has benefits on both the child and the mother.
For the infant it reduces risks of contracting diseases that can be harmful to the respiratory and digestive system like asthma and diarrhea. In the long run only breastfeeding for the first six months allows for proper cognitive development and a strong immune system when the child becomes an adult (Victoria, et.al 2016: pp67). For the mother, it decreases post-delivery bleeding as the blood flows towards the mammary glands, decreases postpartum depression s it allows for mother-child bonding, increases chances of lactational amenorrhea which is a natural birth control method that reduces fertility in women allowing for the proper child to child spacing (Victoria, et.al 2016: pp69). In the long run it reduces chances of getting breast cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular diseases for the women.
In the video, Jessie Maher a mom to a 4 weeks old baby girl Zinnia finally leaves the house with her baby and makes it to Target to do some shopping. At this age baby’s feed after every 2-3 hours and can easily get irritable if not fed when they want to be. Baby Zinnia starts crying and Jessie looks for a place to sit and starts breastfeeding her baby. Immediately, a man seated opposite her table turns to her and rudely asks her if she can find another place to do whatever it is that she is doing.
Jessie defends her action by saying that she is feeding her baby but the man gets up and starts calling her bad names and tells her that she’s disgusting and whatever she is doing is disgusting. At this point some of the customers and staff at Target defend Jessie who still insists that she is feeding her baby. The man angrily demands for a refund because he has been made to feel uncomfortable and shouts at the staff. While all this is happening, Jessie is worried, scared and is trembling as she does not know what to do. The man leaves even though he is still hurling insults at Jessie.
According to Goldenberg & Roberts, (2012, pp76) there is an increase in sexual objectification of women since the year 2000 than before. Women are viewed to be simply objects of sexual pleasure for men. This makes the society to view breasts as specifically for sexual activity and not their main role of feeding the babies. In the narrated encounter by Jessie, the reason why the bullying man tells her that she is disgusting is because he believes that she is revealing activities that are sexual in nature to the public. The sad reality is that what he should instead see is nurturing of the next generation, ensuring health for the baby and the mother. Public display of affection, where a man touches a woman breast is more acceptable to the society than when a woman breastfeeds her child.
Objectification of women by the society has led to self-objectification by the women themselves. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since 2000 there has been a decrease from 25% to 13% of babies worldwide fed only on breast milk for the first six months of their lives. There has also been a decline in the percentage of children that are breastfed at all from 80-70% which has resulted to death of 820,000 babies globally annually. Self-objectification by women makes them believe that their body is meant for pleasure and any activity that could deter that is highly discouraged. Breastfeeding is believed to make breasts to sag and consequently make a woman to be less attractive. This myth has made more women to use infant milk and fail to breastfeed children completely.
There is need to create awareness on the aforementioned benefits of breastfeeding by teaching about it in schools and allowing the children to appreciate their physical and cognitive health to breastfeeding. There is need to use the social media platforms to communicate the same and challenge the various misleading myths on beauty and breastfeeding. Consequently, the myth on sagging breasts due to breastfeeding, the truth is that pregnancy hormones make the breasts to sag with or without breastfeeding (Victoria, et.al 2016: pp78).
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