This was posted on a Catholic mothers' group I belong to recently, and I received permission to post it here.
Views of the female body.... applied to NIP (nursing in public)
My 19 yr old son is a US Marine and stationed in the Deep South. He is at a mixed base of Army and Marines, the two do not mix well. As he was walking through the base today he happened upon an Army Lance Corporal breast feeding her baby. Her 'buddies' were giving her quite a difficult time, making comments about being next and such. My son, in his Marine uniform which put him at considerable risk, sat down next to this woman he had never met and began a conversation about the base. He looked her straight in the face, addressed her as a person and every time one of her 'buddies' tried to intrude he just spoke right over them. This woman was quite confused until her baby unlatched and he politely asked if she wanted him to switch sides when her baby did. After a moment, the woman said yes and everyone switched. Her 'buddies' were completely confounded by this and left. My son sat with her until her baby was done nursing. She ask him why he was so calm about her NIP and he told her that his mother is a LLLL and nursed him and his sibs until they were 4. I guess they had quite a conversation about NIP and then he called me.
My oh my, I don't think I've ever heard him quite so MAD. He wanted to know why men thought it was ok to ogle breasts whenever they wanted to. How could guys watch a woman NIP and make a sexual relationship out of feeding baby? Then he and I talked about how if it was ok to sexually harass a woman who was NIP that our society should go the way of the Romans. Like I said he was REALLY MAD. (This is the edited version; to say that he scorched my eardrums with his tirade would not even begin to explain.)
Then there was this long silence on his end and he said "Mom as long as men think that women are second class citizens and there for their enjoyment, not their companionship, babies will always be seen that way too." I asked him why he thought this. He said that babies are seen as an extension of their mothers until they are able to fully communicate with society. So if women are second class citizens that makes babies even lower and therefore not worth the effort of giving time, resources, money or the sacrifice of a parent's consideration above their own existence. If a woman was fair game to sexually harass, then a nursing mother was doubly at risk because she was challenging the status quo by making her baby a priority. That NIP or breastfeeding in general would never be seen as ok until women were seen as people instead of sexual toys and babies were seen as individual people instead of as extensions of their mothers.
I thought his thoughts might be apropos.
Just a moment. I have to say it and I know it's bragging but I have a pretty darn cool kid!
Maggie Payne, LLLL
I've got to say, Maggie, I agree with you there!