gotmilkso thanks to work i used to do on public nudity i still know folks in the nudy petudy business. and that has meant, strangely, that my new year has been filled with well…boobies. and lots of ’em. lemmie ‘splain.

a sage and mentor of the naturist movement whom i know, and once had a clothed interview audience with, is a defiant advocate for the right to breastfeed in public. in particular, his most recent cause is for facebook to stop removing breastfeeding photos arbitrarily that someone in the faceless realm of facebook censorship – is it you mark zuckerburg? – considers “vaguely pornographic.” apparently facebook has a problem with nipples. who knew? well. maybe some of you did. you dirty beasts.

anyhoo.

so this leads me to the question – which is not what you are thinking and sorry P. that i might not be going in the intended direction – but when is a child too old to breastfeed? or wait. is that the question? the boob fire has been lit under me and now it just needs to be discussed dammit. call it jacks’ war on nipples. or nipplepalooza. or nipplefest. just make sure there are nipples.

i just watched a “newsmagazine” about this topic and they took this issue to heart showing four-year-olds and eight-year-olds nursing. of course this causes uproar. disgust. outrage. but why? why can’t women catch a break? which brings us to the gendered nature of tits (doesn’t it?). my next research project. (just kidding. well. maybe). but really, the women interviewed make the helpful and important distinction – which is the direction i believe P. is going in – which is a legitimate, feminist point about the right of women to bare their breasts in the “service” of feeding their children the “natural” way. but as always, this fight turns into something else. the right for women to connect with their bodies and their children in “natural” ways. which essentializes. and we don’t like that, do we dear bloggy friends?

my frustration is focused on the dichotomy which is inevitably created between the “naturalness” of the naked human body, especially women’s bodies (we are closer to nature, dontcha know? all godless-like and such. borf) and the seemingly un-naturalness of sexuality. or the apparent division between the two. i mean i get it. i studied naturists for long enough to know that the only way you make yourself legitimate as a naked person in public is by saying that it’s “natural” and not “sexual,”  thus creating the bind that these women find themselves in. the argument goes something like this: i should be able to post my booby my pics on facebook because i am doing a natural motherly thing feeding them (the age thing is still the wildcard here) and its not sexual because i am naturally made to feed kids. so it’s not sexual to show pics of my breasts when it is in the service of feeding my kids. k, all good. ‘cept for the fact that this argument requires you not only to make the relevant distinction between boobs for milk and boobs for sex (see above pic), but also requires women to turn themselves effectively into the “natural” baby-milking machine called mother. it requires a reliance on stereotypes of nurturing women and their proper role as caregiver. maybe this is just the eggnog talking, but it is a double-edged sword. not the nursing per se. but the lengths women go to legitimate the naturalness of boob-showing as a function of motherhood.

now, i don’t want anyone to get me wrong. i am an absolute, no question, fervent advocate of breastfeeding. in public. in private. in those cute little rooms in the mall that are made for moms that i wish i could go into without seeming creepy. but we women have enough to deal with without being the goddesses of milk. let’s advocate showing our tits for tits sake. let’s nipple it up. and someone pass the bottle.

epilogue: while i introduced the notion of older-age breastfeeding, i didn’t really address it. peruse the official petition to facebook about breastfeeding not being obscene and P.’s site for the banned facebook photos. tell me what you think about boobs. and eight-year-olds. cause this is important to the earth’s planetary rotation.

swears.

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