The idea that a woman's breasts are sexual in nature is as old as time, itself. Or, at least as old as civilization - which changed the dress code on us back in the day. Certainly, our ancient foremothers... and forefathers, didn't look at women's breasts as much more than a part of the woman's body. The part that feeds the baby.
Without going into a long rant about the cultural view of a woman's breasts - let's fast forward to the issues on Facebook, and what it all means. Of course, this is just an opinion - I have no inside information on this subject, despite the fact that, as a woman, I have breasts - and yes, I breast fed my children.
It seems to me that this subject is not going to go away, nor is it going to be resolved any time soon. Women older than I fought for the right to bare their breasts in public, in the 20th century...and in New York State, they won. Ask any woman in NY WHAT was won, and I don't think any of them will have a good answer. The choice to walk about shirtless, with your breasts in the wind, as men are allowed to do, might be perceived as "equal rights" - but somewhere, someone (male or female) has to ask, "To what end?" Baring her breasts does no more to make a woman equal to a man than wearing pants, which, in its time, was shocking.
Therefore, the skittishness we feel in our society when glimpsing a woman's breast, whether that's the gentle lines of a perfect globe, with a hint of the nipple exposed, or just a glimpst of cleavage, is what I believe the issue at Facebook is all about. The folks who are uncomfortable with these young Moms breastfeeding, and sharing themselves online, are also the folks who are looking at these breasts as sexual in nature.
Facebook says some of the pictures violate their terms and conditions. The words "obscene and indecent" have been used to describe those pictures. The ones that show "too much," I guess. That hint at the fact that the baby is actually suckling. Oh my!
I am not prepared to take up this cause (I long ago passed the age of wishing I could run around shirtless) though, in my youth, I was not shy - give me the teeniest bikini made, please. I was after that perfect tan, and it profoundly annoyed me that I was forced to keep that tiny bit of nipple covered, lest someone figure out it was there. Apparently, nudity is okay in the museum, and in the pages of National Geographic...but not on the sands of U.S. beaches or in my own backyard.
When I married and had children, I breast fed carefully - always with a cover over the possibly exposed breast. When friends and family members breast fed their children, and did not cover up, I was a bit surprised...and then, proud. None of these mothers was purposely exposing herself to show the world what marvelous mammary glands she had - the goal was always to feed the child. Family members continued conversations, unaffected for the most part, and the baby and Mother were given their space, as it should be. (a few men, the jokers of the group, made their little jokes...but they were said good-naturedly and accepted good-naturedly; no one was ever asked to leave the room when breast-feeding and no staring ever lasted more than a second or two).
There are times when a woman's breasts are sexual in nature - and there are places to view them as such. On Facebook, in a family group or setting, with a child being nurtured, is not one of them. I'm surprised we still view breast-feeding with this judgmental eye - as if women are in the habit of using infants to "expose" themselves! We, as a culture, need to embrace the beauty of a child nursing - and take time to see the halo surrounding the child and mother.
Women did not invent breast-feeding. Women did not specifically petition God to be the parent who feeds the child. Women are not embarrassed or shocked by the sight of a Mother doing "what comes naturally."
Why is everyone else? When will we give women that unalienable right to be a Mom - even in public?