You Know This Would All be Different if Men Could Breastfeed

Tue, November 27, 2007


First Facebook banned photos of breastfeeding mothers. Now YouTube has jumped on the bandwagon.

YouTube claims these photos of mothers who are rather discretely feeding their children violate the Terms of Use of their sites because such photos are inappropriate and sexually explicit.

But stripping videos are OK with them. And of course a Victoria’s Secret “pajama” commercial is fine. One called “Sexy Heidi Klum Almost Nude” apparently is not a problem either for those Terms of Use.

If these videos of supermodels prancing around in next to nothing and home movies of girlfriends shaking their boo-TAYS are permissible and not sexually explicit in the eyes of these social networks, then why are breastfeeding photos? In both cases, the same amount of breast flesh is exposed. And breastfeeding a baby is not meant to arouse the men-folk while, I dare say, the other examples are.

And that’s really the issue here, isn’t it? It’s not really about inappropriateness, but about how women are viewed by men. Otherwise, as I might have argued before a judge in my previous life, don’t we have a distinction without a difference here?

This is just one of the more obvious ways that illustrates our society’s inherent lack of respect for women.

One type of video is meant for men’s amusement and pleasure and the other isn’t. When I was researching a story for Breast Cancer Awareness month, I asked one person I interviewed why so many companies are interested in jumping on the breast cancer awareness bandwagon and not other diseases that impact women as much, if not more?

Her answer? Sadly, that breast cancer has more sex appeal than heart disease.

This battle with Facebook and YouTube is really just a symptom of the larger lack of respect problem — the absence of real workplace policies that support women after they’ve had babies, the willingness of our schools to expect working mothers to take their time to work on projects for the kids but not working fathers, the presence of only one woman justice on the Supreme Court, and the rulings written by male justices that show that we really have not come very far in ridding ourselves of paternalistic views toward women.

While it’s impossible to tackle all the issues women and working mothers face at any given moment, there is something we can do now to promote the cause today as it relates to policies that protect breastfeeding mothers.

The League of Maternal Justice has provided a series of tips about what we can do right now to start to make change. Take a trip over there to check them out. Our voices are loud and strong when we’re getting the kids to do their chores, so why not use them to take this first step toward gaining the respect we deserve?

I won’t put up with disrespect from a second-grader. I’m certainly not to going stand for it from a bunch of men who’d have contests and awards for themselves if they were the ones in charge of the breastfeeding.

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6 Responses to “You Know This Would All be Different if Men Could Breastfeed”

  1. Florinda Says:

    “It’s not really about inappropriateness, but about how women are viewed by men.”

    That’s exactly what I think is going on here. Men aren’t interested in seeing a “working” breast, if you will. They like their toys, but not when the kids are using them.

    I think you’ve done a great job of relating this to the bigger picture of society’s lack of respect for women – a constant reminder of how far we still have to go.

  2. Julie Pippert Says:


    I completely agree with your small and large points.

    I think it is disgusting and a sad statement on YouTube that they consider feeding a child from the breast sexually explicit…how perverted are they?!

    Also? While searching for songs about cats on YouTube for the kids?

    We ran across a young lady petting her cat. And I say that VERY euphemistically.

    And that’s not sexually explicit?

    Using My Words

  3. Mauigirl Says:

    Well said. It amazes me that they would forbid something as innocent as breastfeeding while allowing these other much more sexually-oriented videos. You hit the nail on the head about the reasons.

    It’s interesting, the cousin of a friend of mine has ovarian cancer and she said one of her pet peeves is how much more attention breast cancer gets than ovarian cancer. It crossed my mind that it was because men care more about breasts. But then I thought I was being ridiculous. But the more I think about it the more I think that may be part of it, as you said – breast cancer is ‘sexier.’

  4. Amy [Taste Like Crazy] Says:

    “distinction without a difference”

    I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head with that.

  5. Lawyer Mama Says:

    Sing it, sister! I couldn’t agree more. Breasts = toys for boys. How sad.

  6. radical mama Says:

    Youtube also has the naked Angelina Jolie scene in Beowulf. I mean, of course, they do. We all know who the audience is for that clip, right? Grrr.

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