I was appalled when I read an article about how the online comedy website Funny or Die pulled down posts and suspended the account of comedien Ahna Tessler--because she was shown breastfeeding. Facebook's been doing the same thing.

There are many things you can say about breastfeeding in public. They range from, "aww, gross, mom"--words known to have come from my small sons' mouths shortly after they grew out of the stage of wanting a breast in their mouths at any and all times.

Other reactions might be: "Privacy, please." Or, "How wonderful, what a treat to witness such a basic, intimate human bond...usually kept so private..."

But obscene? I looked up the word, just for a reality check. Abhorrent to morality or virtue? Designed to incite lust or depravity?


The non-feeders among us--in this case, the authorities on various websites taking down these pictures-- should come to terms with their own lust, if that is indeed what breastfeeding incited in their....breasts. But it is hard to argue that breastfeeding is at all obscene, much less an affront to a viewer's sense of propriety, when the web--including Facebook--is littered with photographs that are in fact pornographic. Are these authorities taking down pictures of barely clothed bodies in suggestive poses....in their advertisements? Or does paying the bill change the terms of engagement?

I can remember a time when "Awww, gross, mom" was a boy's response to scenes of (what we used to call, do we still?) French kissing, heavy tonguing, in a movie. Web authorities seem to have matured past that particular stage of development. But breastfeeding in public remains a weird taboo.

Sometimes kids need fast food. (Wonderful image above from Amadori.) You don't have to breastfeed in public if you don't want to. You don't have to watch it being done, either.

But let's not get carried away. Breastfeeding babies is not now and never has been an obscene act. Any obscene association (if there is one) is in the mind of the viewer. And we can leave sexual fantasies where they belong. In the imagination, or the privacy, of one's home.

Moms have plenty more important things to worry about.

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