This video echos all the rallying cries of the Normalize Breastfeeding movement:
“Some people have breastfeeding fetishes, or whatever. But I GUARANTEE YOU, those people are not walking around in public looking for breastfeeding women to jack off to.
…I’m just feeding my child…
…Shame on you! Shame on your for even thinking there’s a correlation [with sex].”
Unfortunately, just yelling “There’s no correlation!” doesn’t make it so.
In fact, I’m afraid demanding the right to feature our bare breasts in videos and photos is making it easier for sickos to revel in their pleasures online.
Thanks to bumper-sticker simplifications like “Normalize Breastfeeding” and “Boobs for Bernie,” most breastfeeding mothers are gaining confidence that there’s nothing weird–let alone dangerous–about letting strangers catch glimpses of their breasts.
As long as there’s a hungry baby nearby, it’s cool, right?
But, if it’s true that women shouldn’t worry about staying covered when breastfeeding–how do we stop it when someone goes too far and OBVIOUSLY exploits a nursing child?
(Reference: the BreastFeeding channel on YouTube, the Asian Breastfeeding Mom channel, and way, way too many others.)
The videos usually are produced by non-English speakers and have click-bait written all over them–with titles designed to lure in the lewd. (“Breastfeeding Husband/Breastfeeding Adult” or “Big Girl and a Nice Nurse,” for example.) Usually the mothers are wearing red lipstick and talking in sultry whispers, while smiling coyly at the camera…and then smiling down at the child, who is also on camera.
In most other circumstances, YouTube removes videos containing bare breasts….
Just as Facebook doesn’t allow “nudity” in their photos.
But, breastfeeding activists have spent many years insisting on exceptions when the breasts are exposed near the mouth of a child. If Mom says she’s doing it for her kid, then no one can question.
So how far is too far? (Oops. I questioned.)
All the major social media sites are afraid of being sued by mothers who want the unrestricted and absolute right to go topless. (You know. For the babies.) No one wants to hear another angry Mama Bear lecture about how naaaaatural and beeeeeeautiful their boobs are.
So most websites have policies that go something like, “If a mother has a baby on her lap, none of our rules apply.”
But, when someone DOES cross a line, who’s to say?
As this article explains, porn slips through the YouTube vetting systemwhen users fail to report inappropriate things.
“The site’s censorship…relies almost entirely on users to flag offensive or sexually explicit content. If a video get’s taken down, another will likely soon replace it, on another person’s channel and with another set of views.”
When people see children being exploited in videos or photos, they are responsible for reporting to have them removed.
That’s great, in theory. Except society has been shamed over and over and over by breastfeeding mothers–to the point we are second-guessing our instincts. We have been called “milk haters” and we’ve been told to “lighten up.” We’ve been told it’s “not our business” and that we “just need to be educated.”
And if anyone dares to notice that sometimes innocent children REALLY ARE being used by their attention-seeking mothers, for everything from making a political statement to purposefully enticing creeps to click on their videos, it’s the reporters who are told to stop “sexualizing breasts.”
Because, come on, you prude. Miss Whisper-For-The-Camera is just feeding her child!
“She doesn’t want people to watch.”
“She’s not trying to prove anything.”
“Shame on you for even thinking there’s a correlation!”
Look, I’m ready for the accusations of Mommy Wars and Milk Hatred.
But while trying to come up with a really good name to call me, just consider this: once part of your body is available on the internet, it’s out there. Forever.
Anyone can use those photos of YOU AND YOUR CHILD, as this poor woman discovered when her legitimately innocent video was taken without consent and turned into a viral porno. (It’s still the top result, when you search her name, MaryAnn Sahoury.)
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we can’t trust everyone… And, though we wish we could leave our front doors unlocked, we can’t. So why keep trying?
It’s simply unwise to leave valuables out on the lawn, no matter how much we should be able let our guard down, in a good situation.
As mothers, we can’t afford to be naive. Let’s step yelling “Shame, shame!”when people warn that we never know who’s watching in public. (They’re actually correct.)
Let’s remember that our moms and sisters and best friends aren’t the only ones who can see what we’re posting.
And–mostly–let’s stop being angry at those who report our photos when they honestly believe a line has been crossed. (Ask yourself, “If everyone on my friends’ list suddenly walked in while I was posing for this picture, would I be startled and embarrassed?” If yes, maybe don’t share the moment in digital form.)
Anyway, the people who report are the least of our worries. Just think of the creep who isn’t reporting you…because he really wants to see more.