Kim Kardashian tweeted her disgust about messy public mommying, and the flames have been reaching far and wide. I know very little about Kim Kardashian due to self-protective instinct and an undiagnosed sequin allergy. But I know enough to know she’s the kind of woman from whom a comment like this is fairly unsurprising.
Women whose breasts are their bread and butter don’t really want to see someone else’s breasts being someone else’s milk. I’m not saying there aren’t breastfeeding-positive porn stars or strippers or hobby hotties. But it makes sense that someone whose boobs are a primary source of attention might, on some level, be predisposed against breast exposure of a non-sexual sort.
The case against public breastfeeding is that it offends our modesty. But maybe it’s also about the preservation of perversion. Here’s how:
If we get used to seeing breasts as food sources, maybe they’ll lose a little of their hypersexualized value. Kim Kardashian is not consciously thinking about this- she’s just thinking seeing someone breastfeeding at lunch is nasty. Everyone’s talking about the obvious absurdity of a woman who exposes 48% of her breasts at all times complaining about having to look at someone else’s breasts. I’m wondering whether this juxtaposition might actually be part of why she cares to complain about it.
I also think it’s kind of interesting that the breastfeeding is tied to a public diaper change, because people who can’t deal with public nursing often lump it in with other bodily functions. I can’t defend a diaper change on the table in a restaurant. I keep wondering how old the baby was, what the mom’s deal was. I had one thought that might be a clue to her motives:
I took my son to Italy when he was five weeks old. We were eating in restaurants for every meal and I was all kinds of stressed out about how to handle his feeding and changing needs. I would approach waitpeople and restaurant owners sheepishly looking for somewhere to take care of my baby’s business. More than once, I was directed to change him right on the table.
Kalumba 2009/flickr (Kim Kardashian)
Raphael Goetter/flickr (breastfeeding mom)