I've said it before, and apparently, I have to say it again: "Nothing inspires controversy faster than a leaky boob."
Generally I like being right. It suits my Type-A personality. But when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding, I simply wish the milky tide would turn once and for all and prove my above statement wrong.
But don't worry - I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen. I like conciousness too much...
It seems that breastfeeding, in all it's engorged splendor, is once again front and center - literally.
BabyTalk Magazine, a free parenting rag - you know the kind that hover in between the automatic doors of your local grocery stores and on the tables of your pediatrician - chose a picture of a nursing baby to grace its latest cover.
As you can see, the boob is equal in size to the head doing the suckling, no nipple is present, no identities revealed.
Yet the vocal backlash from both readers and nonreaders alike has been so swift, you would think the cover showed Suri Cruise, sporting a milk moustache, wedged between the leaky naked breasts of Katie Holmes, with the GOT MILK caption printed across the top.
One mother, Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, didn't like the cover, explaining she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it. "I shredded it. A breast is a breast - it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."
Um, Gayle. I daresay your 13 year old son knows what a boob looks like, and in his wet dreams, none of them have babies attached to them.
Oddly, Ash nursed all three of her children. "I'm totally supportive of it - I just don't like the flashing," she says. "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."
Oh the boobmanity! They might accidentally see a baby being fed?!?! Horrors!
Another mother, Kellie Wheatley, of Amarilla, Texas, echoed Ash's sentiment, "Men are very visual. When they see a woman's breast, they see a breast - regardless of what it's being used for."
Listen, I'm the last one on this planet to give men much credit for anything, but even I grant them this much: there's a world of psychological difference and turn-on factor, even in the shallowest testosterone bearers of this world, between a Playboy pic and a mom feeding her baby.
Maybe if it were a Playboy pic of Pamela Anderson breastfeeding Kid Rock, but even then, I'm not so sure. When males are thinking turn-on, they envision breasts that have purely recreational status, not Borden Dairy qualities.
Personally, I nursed all three of my children. And no, I did not run and hide every time I was in public and they needed to eat. I was, as are 99% of nursing mothers, discreet, opting for a blanket and a quiet spot to sit. I certainly didn't seek out the main stage in the food court of the mall, but I also did not hide in a fitting room or clothing rack.
I endured more impolite stares, disapproving glances and puritanical grunts from passers-by than I care to recount. And quite frankly, my one thought was always that they could all suck my leaky boobs. It was none of their business, and I was completely covered up, however, you would have thought I was buck naked doing performance art with a goat, three chickens and a strap-on.
The bottom line is this: Breastfeeding is normal, it is natural. It is how Mother Nature set up the human body. Woman gets pregnant (due to boobs' recreational status), woman has baby, woman's breasts fill up with milk so she may feed her infant, if that is how she so chooses.
It's not dirty, and it's certainly not sexual. Seriously, anyone who has ever actually seen a leaky, engorged breast up close knows there is nothing even remotely Penthouse about it.
So, do I see anything wrong with the BabyTalk cover? No, I do not. It is sweet, it is nurturing, it is a Baby magazine for God's sake.
As for Gayle and her shredder? If BabyTalk Magazine is the best thing your 13 year old son and husband can find to wack off to, I feel really sorry for them both.
And I think your marriage problems go a bit deeper than a boob on a magazine cover.