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Opinion: On Parents’ Breastfeeding Video Controversy

Julie Christie

I am just about to finish a full year of breastfeeding my second kid. I did it with my first kid and, honestly, it was maybe the most difficult thing I have ever done. Not that completing a Masters Degree or learning to stick back-handsprings on the balance beam weren’t challenging, it’s just that the logistics of producing and administering breast milk successfully for a year is, well, it’s even more difficult.  Here is how I did it: I will whip out the boob anywhere.

The fact is that baby and the world simply will not bend to meet any sort of privacy requirements. And, especially now with two kids, there’s too much going on at all times to fuss with blankets and cover-ups. If, as is likely to happen during the heat of summer, I forget to pack a blanket or to adhere to my double shirt strategy (top shirt goes up, tank top goes down, voila, fancy nursing top!), I will not be deterred. I am singularly focused on nursing a delicate supply of best-option nutrients. I am so Jobs-like determined to be there for her in this way, because I know I will fail her in so many others.

Plus: When Men Bash Public Breastfeeding

Sure, a month after weaning my first I couldn’t even imagine being so cavalier about baring my breast in public, but in the middle of it all, I’ve rarely given a second thought as to whoever might be watching, until I saw this headline: New Mother Horrified After Breastfeeding Video Spliced Into Porn and Distributed Online

Somewhere in the worst-case-scenario corner of my mommy brain, I knew it was only a matter of time until a story like this came out.  In case you haven’t read about it already, Meredith Corporation, who publishes our competitor Parents, is under fire because they shot a breastfeeding video that ended up being spliced into a porn film. The woman, whose name was used in the XXX film, is suing. Meredith contends that she signed a release which holds Meredith harmless from any third party use of the video, but has gone to great lengths to try to get the video removed.

Apparently, some poor misguided amateur filmmaker thinks there’s something sexual about breastfeeding. I can say pretty confidently that, with rare exceptions (and apologies, husbands!), a mother’s feeling is that those beautifully engorged lactating breasts are for nobody but baby. But this moron had no regard for that and tried to sully one of the most earnest acts on earth, to say nothing of the boundless wrongness of associating a baby with porn. That’s like wearing neon to a funeral or hiking in high heels. Or…putting Muhammad in a comic strip. 

Plus: Extended Breastfeeding Meets Reality TV

The truth is, in today’s modern world, the second you make something sacred, there’s someone out there to exploit it, a reality multiplied exponentially by the Internet. But the true beauty of it isn’t that liberated society allows for exploitation, but that it allows for a multitude of platforms for countering, broadcasting, answering. That along with there being the means for this idiot to use MaryAnn Sahoury‘s image to make and distribute a porn, similar means exist to promote other views and voices.  Views and voices like our competitor Parents, who made the original video in support of breastfeeding moms, and voices like ours, at Parenting, and the multitude of moms and dads in our joint communities who actively support and encourage each other to brave the adventure of raising children with knowledge and strength and love.

So, I say yay to Parents for making the video and for doing their best to clean up the mess. And yay for the mom who appeared in the video in the first place, and yay for me and all the other parents making their kids’ welfare a priority. Sometimes it’s not so easy to trust ourselves in the noise, but we have to stick together and not let the bad apples win. #breastfeedingisstillcool