The true irony of feminism is when it actually manages to demean women. I understand how the roots of feminism began with the desire for equality and opportunity. But somehow the belief that women are equal to men in intelligence and ability has been replaced with the goal of being as truly “free” as men. So instead of being women we end up becoming men with breasts.
The comments of Kathryn Blundell are truly disturbing not because this woman chose to formula feed her children, but because of the reasons she gives. First of all, it reeks of insecurity. Someone who feels she has made the right decision to formula feeds her children simply does so, and doesn’t feel the need to constantly defend herself. But she describes breastfeeding as creepy. She can’t seem to separate the nutritional and sexual purposes of breasts. This is not a sign of a liberated enlightened woman, but that of an oversexed insecure woman who seems to value the ability to drink in excess over her desire to nurture and bond with her child.
I believe that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, and in many cases the easiest. But I also know that for some women it is not feasible. I think that many of the difficulties that cause women to quit breastfeeding could be solved by better education and support, but I understand that for some women it just isn’t possible whether for health reasons or job situations that make pumping during the day unworkable. But never would I consider this woman’s disturbing reasons for rejecting breastfeeding to be legitimate ones.
First of all, you can drink occasionally in moderation while breastfeeding, especially once your child is on some solid foods. But clearly this woman wants to drink regularly and to an excessive level not conducive to breastfeeding, though I would find such high levels of alcohol consumption as incompatible with caring for a child as I would with breastfeeding. Formula feeding your child will not protect him or her from the behavior of an intoxicated parent.
For some women, breastfeeding can put a damper on their sex lives. But this is partially related to the relationship between a woman and her husband. Barring an infection of some kind, breastfeeding doesn’t cause any pain that would hamper an intimate relationship, except perhaps during the early weeks, and let’s face it, most women aren’t much in the mood during the first two or three weeks after delivery anyway. Plus, there are those pesky doctors’ orders that recommend that intimate relations be suspended until at least six weeks postpartum. Yet this woman seems to think of breasts as sexual items first and nutritional items second, if at all.
By putting down breastfeeding, she is actually diminishing her own femininity, and setting herself up as a sexual object rather than a complete woman with multiple roles including those of mother and lover. By insisting that her breasts belong to only one of those roles she devalues the other. These are symptoms of a larger problem with what feminism has become. Instead of giving women choices, feminism now dictates how a woman must behave if she wants to be seen as liberated. But if we must give up all that makes us feminine to be liberated, then we have simply shackled ourselves to a different culture than that which enslaved women in past centuries.