Shield your eyes! It's (gasp) a public display of breastfeeding

In her post-BlogHer conference recap, Susie Bright wrote: "The hand that blogs the cradle informs the world -- this, the blog-her generation, is the crux of women's liberation that I thought had passed its due date."

Elizabeth of Table for Five used this quote to illustrate the power of the blogger backlash against the recent controversy surrounding this month's Babytalk magazine cover. The cover--shown here--features a breast and a baby eating.

The horror!

The worst part? Many of the people who do not support the public display of breastfeeding shown on the cover are women, are mothers. According to CNN:

"...In a poll of more than 4,000 readers, a quarter of responses to the cover were negative, calling the photo -- a baby and part of a woman's breast, in profile -- inappropriate."

Mommy off the Record wants somebody to enlighten her about why the Babytalk magazine cover is getting so much attention, yet covers of magazines like Maxim feature scantily-covered breasts regularly and rarely are viewed as controversial.

And she also wants to know why other mothers find breastfeeding in public innapropriate. In the comments section of her post, she writes:

"I really don't get that there are some MOTHERS that find public breastfeeding offensive. That one really floors me. WTF? (I am not speaking of anyone who commented here. In fact, I have a feeling the poll results would have come out differently had they polled us mommybloggers!)"

The polled moms had different reasons for wanting to keep breastfeeding discreet. Many expressed concern that they didn't want their husbands or sons to see a bare breast in public. We love Queen of Spain, right? Her response to this reasoning is only one example why:

"If your 13-year-old wants to jerk off to a BabyTalk magazine cover, maybe you need to hide the National Geographic as well. And to those of you who find it “Gross� and “shocking" -- maybe you need to get out of your “don’t make eye contact in elevators, shop at major mega stores, avoid the news� world a little more. Because I’ll be out there. Feeding my kids. With my tit.

And if you don’t like it, you can suck it."

What about other mommybloggers? How do they feel about public displays of breastfeeding?

Kateri of Wet Feet is collecting links to blog posts that show the world that many mommybloggers definitely are in support of public displays of blatant breastfeeding and aren't afraid to display the pictures to prove it.

Liliam of Mam(e) in Translation explains That's What Breasts Are For!!

Jaelithe of The State of Discontent informs us that Offending the Unwashed Masses is One of (her) Favorite Pastimes.

Jenijen of Not Calm (dot com) explains very simply: More breasts!

Feminist Moms reminds us that Breastfeeding in public is a Mother's Right.

Chris Jordan of Notes from the Trenches warns us: Don't Leave This Open On Your Coffee Table and writes:

It amazed me then, and amazes me still, that my body could grow a kid. Nine months of gestating and then however many months of solely nursing. It makes me wish I could be kinder to myself and let the body hatred go, but well, that will probably never happen. I do hope, however, that my daughter will see photographs like these and appreciate her body, not buy into the images that we are all force fed by the media. And so that is why I share my photograph.

For my daughter. For all the other daughters. So I never again have to hear another woman say nursing breasts are disgusting, shameful, and something to be hidden."

Lots more links to fabulous posts like these can be found on Kateri's post Boobie Talk.

And it's not just the mommybloggers who think the outrage is ridiculous (oh, and frightening, too.) Suebob of Red Stapler reminds us Why We Love Mr. Stapler:

Suebob: It's ok for other magazine covers to show women with their skirts up to their heez and their plastic boobs covered with 2-inch wide fabric strips..."

Mr. S: "Yeah. And this...It is someone EATING. It is a baby. It is the most natural human thing on earth. If people can't get that, if they can't get past that it is a breast, God help us all. I mean seriously. If they can't get past that, we have no hope. No hope."

Daisy of Compost Happens takes an objective look at the numbers thrown out in the AFP article and reminds those offended:

"There are a few details to remember before hauling off and bashing mothers or magazine publishers.

* This magazine is not on newsstands; no one will accidentally be "forced" to see the cover. It is distributed free through OB/GYN offices.
* Breastfeeding itself is not sexual, and neither is the photo.
* The goal of this photo was to illustrate an article, not to excite or titillate (sorry, couldn't resist).

So don't get your undies in a bundle or your bottle in a battle. Moms have enough on their shoulders (and other parts). Let the babies eat. And let the magazines show it happening."

In the article on CNN, Melinda Johnson, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for ADA notes: "With the government really getting behind breast-feeding, it's been a jumping-off point for mothers to be politically active. Mommies are organizing. It's a new trend to be a mommy activist."

Mommybloggers are rallying behind this issue and proving that we are--as Susie Bright writes--the hands blogging the cradle.

And rocking the world.
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Mary Tsao also blogs at Mom Writes.

Image credit: CNN

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