Adding to this reader’s comments, a Colombian reader further contextualizes the debate surrounding the racy breastfeeding campaign in Mexico City:
Many of the protesters of the campaign were against it because it stigmatized those women who choose not to breastfeed for valid reasons. In Spanish, the expression used has multiple meanings that were intentional: Rebecca Cullers’ literal translation fails to capture the contrast meant. Giving your back is equal to be selfish or lazy, and giving your breast also means to be brave (dar el pecho = to face a problem).
Meanwhile, Mya Frazier suggests that bra manufacturers could hold the key to normalizing public breastfeeding:
Fantasy and lust, as embodied in its annual televised Fashion Show, define the Victoria’s Secret brand, but it is also an innovator in bra design, with new product launches a key part of its marketing efforts. Yet while Victoria’s Secret works on a bra with “improved nipple concealment,” other companies appear to be dominating innovation in the nursing bra category. There’s a patent application for a nursing bra that would hold a thin circular heating/cooling device to provide “relief from engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis and other general nursing pain.” There’s even a patent for a device to connect a breast bump to nursing bra for “hands-free” pumping.
In her book, Breastwork: Rethinking Breastfeeding, Alison Bartlett argues for the acceptance of breastfeeding as a potentially erotic experience, asking: “If it’s generally acceptable or even desirable in Western culture to have sexy breasts available for public viewing, what would be the effect on that set of values and meanings if we regarded lactating breasts as sexy?” Could a brand like Victoria’s Secret use its multi-million dollar advertising budget to disrupt the carefully constructed borders between the sexualized breast and the maternal breast? Millions of babies and their mothers might be better off for it.
To widen the thread further, here’s an excerpt from Chavie Lieber’s piece on “men who drink breast milk”:
Some men who drink breast milk, like Anthony, cite reasons of health or nutrition. Jason Nash, a 55-year-old father of four, started drinking breast milk after the birth of his first child. “It occurred to me that breast milk could be just as healthy and tasteful for adults as infants,” Nash said. “I believe it has kept me from getting sick all these years.” His wife isn’t thrilled, but doesn’t mind as long as the milk comes from a safe source.
For other men (not least those in adult-nursing relationships), breast milk is a kink. “All I’ll say is it’s a fetish for me,” wrote another man, whose post on Only the Breast identified him as a “nice, harmless man in New Jersey seeking breast milk from healthy, non-smoking mom.”