My (Small) Contribution to Figuring Out Why Society Has Such an Issue With Public Breastfeeding

This blog is an op-ed piece written by Rachael Heffernan, writer and researcher for The Drawing Board.

Many brilliant people have given their two cents on this, and I don’t want to rehash the same old debate. So I’m going to keep this short, and I’m going to keep this sweet, because I have a little tiny theory as to why there is such outrage concerning public breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding advocates have hit the nail on the head when they say that the problem stems from the fact that women are seen as sexual objects. But I think there’s a little more to story.

I think society has a problem with public breastfeeding because women are seen as sexual objects, AND people don’t want to see moms in a sexual way.

Horrible, no? But maybe a little bit true?

I mean, all the evidence is there. There are some pretty clear indicators that society thinks moms aren’t (or shouldn’t be) sexy. Take the term “mom jeans,” for example. While there’s all sorts of support for the dad bod, the mom bod trend fell flat. Where’s the rallying cry for the sexiness of mama boobs? Why isn’t there one?


Moms get piled so deep with stuff in this society, it’s surprising that we can still see their eyeballs. Moms aren’t fun. Moms have to make the family a priority. Moms have to stay home. Moms have to have everything under the sun in their purses. Moms have to feed their kids grass-fed gluten-free lactose-free fat-free sugar-free lunches in reusable containers.

We need to work on all of that. We need to work on the image that society has of mothers to better reflect the realities of modern moms – people with the freedom to work, to wrestle with their kids, to order pizza with hot wings for dinner, and who are incredibly sexy.


Now all of this may seem a bit confusing. I mean, yeah, moms are sexy, but aren’t we supposed to be destroying the idea that women are sexual objects? Well, my friend, don’t worry, because we can do both. It is possible to promote the sexualities of women without sacrificing the fact that ladies are complex, thinking, feeling, multi-dimensional human beings. Ultimately, moms should be appreciated for how sexy they are, AND people should be respectful of them.

So what can we do? In addition to promulgating the fact that women are people, you can show your support for mom bodies! If you love a mom, if you are a mom, or if you can, in any way, connect to the unrealistic beauty standards set for women: shout out. Take a picture, post a status – let’s celebrate how sexy the moms of the world are!

#sexymom and spread the word!

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