And to sum up, here is an article about breastfeeding in public that my husband Kevin wrote that I of course think is brilliant:
Written by Kevin C. Neece:
It is really a sexist view that proclaims that women are intelligent and responsible and can make choices about how they respond to stimuli and that men are just drooling animals, uncontrollably dominated by their passions because they are basically too dull-witted to do otherwise. Saying that men “can’t help it” or “are wired that way” may seem like compassion and consideration for men, but in reality it is a degrading gender bias. The truth is that we should expect all adults to behave like adults regardless of their gender.
As a man, I am personally tired of hearing such views bandied about so easily as though they are not at all bigoted. It may be culturally acceptable, but it is wrong to expect men to be the lowest common denominator of our species. Adult men are expected to be and are often portrayed as no more than college frat boys with families. But college frat boys are just junior high boys with newfound freedom and legal permission. And junior high boys are just elementary school boys with sex drives. So essentially, we are telling men that their progress as a gender is so stunted that they can never truly be expected to grow out of boyhood. This is now excused because we tell them that they are genetically wired to be too stupid to grow up. When you place no expectations of civility and maturity on any human being, they will more often than not respond to those expectations by remaining in the realm of their baser instincts. If, however, people are treated as beings capable of civilized, respectful behavior, they develop as such.
Moreover, the story of human progress tell us that the basic project of being human consists of learning, changing, growing, and trying to become more than what we are. By insisting that men are incapable of advancing themselves in a conscious, focused manner, we are depriving them of their basic dignity as human beings by ignoring their potential to grow in positive, civil and mature directions.
As a man married to a breastfeeding mother, to whom I am very sexually attracted, I can say that simply having developed the mindset of the natural, feeding function of the female breasts has allowed me to consistently view my wife’s breasts as sources of food when seen in a functional context, and as sources of arousal when seen in a sexual context. There has never been any confusion between the two. I did not have to be trained or desensitized. All I had to do was learn about the purpose and beauty of breastfeeding. Were the activity of public breastfeeding more common and accepted in our culture in general, and were our expectations of men inclusive of more than unthinking Neanderthal-like sex drives, there would not be an issue regarding the response of intelligent, civilized men to public breastfeeding. A mother must be asked to do no less than put the needs of her child before other considerations. A man’s response to what he may or may not see for a brief moment is his own to deal with.
The breastfeeding conversation among Christians today tends to focus on nipples, nudity, and naughtiness. Instead, Christians should be about the business of helping to develop a view of breastfeeding as normal, natural, and necessary. Part of that process includes the promotion of breastfeeding as an acceptable, everyday experience. This may create some difficulties along the way for Christians who are now grown men, but it will also help prevent future complications for the Christian men of tomorrow. If our boys are raised in a culture that values and openly accepts the fullest, truest nature of the female breast, we can come one step closer to a world that no longer reduces breasts, and indeed women, to mere sex objects.
Familiarizing the younger generation with a broader understanding of the feeding function of breasts will help to prevent unnecessary and unwarranted sexual temptation in the future rather than creating such temptation by presuming a universally sexualized view of the breast. This is not about a few instances of men being bothered by seeing a little skin. It is about a process of cultural education and development toward a more enlightened future where sex is a natural part of life and not something that dominates our lives in a negative fashion. In this future, breastfeeding is placed in its proper context as a normal and necessary function of motherhood, no longer overshadowed by over-sexualization, nor oppressed by the tyranny of titillation. Therefore, normalizing public views of breastfeeding mothers is a move toward moral responsibility and away from the domination of sexual temptation. As such, it is important that it be carried out, not flippantly or defiantly, but with a focus on awareness, education, and acceptance.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The Breastfeeding Article of the Month Award goes to...
Melissa Neece!! Or rather, her husband, Kevin. Actually, they can share it, since she wrote the rest of the article. I got her permission to re-publish this excerpt, which is from her husband's