Breasts on a Plane


For Every Step Forward: So far this month, we’ve seen Deaf artist Matt Daigle’s wonderfully designed breastfeeding logo win a national contest (that’s the logo in blue and white). We’ve learned of new research touting the mental health benefits of breastfeeding for children. But then, for all the progress and enlightenment we’ve supposedly achieved in our so-called advanced society of 2006, we have this: A mother, nursing her child on a plane while awaiting departure, was ordered by a flight attendant to cover up her child’s head with a blanket – or get off the plane, which she and her family eventually did.

The Good and the Bad Breast: What kind of society are we living in, where flight attendants find breastfeeding offensive and a BabyTalk magazine cover gets flak for showing a baby nursing at the breast? As Marilyn Yalom, author of the fascinating read, A History of the Breast, notes, contradictions surround female breasts. They are benevolent symbols of life, nature, and nurture; they are X-rated symbols of sexuality and lust. Breasts can be displayed in skin-tight shirts or barely-there bikini tops; but a nipple should never be displayed when a woman is breastfeeding. Breasts are entertaining in MTV videos and Renaissance-era statues and paintings; breasts should be covered up and harnessed in constricting bras.

Support for Nursing Mothers: It’s time for people to stop acting squeamish and silly when it comes to breastfeeding in public or catching a glimpse of a breast. There’s no need for anyone – mothers, children, or adult onlookers – to be embarrassed or ashamed about breasts or breastfeeding. There’s no need for nursing mothers to stress themselves out by trying to construct a tent-like shield around an exposed breast and nursing child. There’s no need for prudish parents to pass on to their children shameful messages about breasts and breastfeeding. For the de-planed mother, the law is on her side, as well as 30 parents who protested the airline’s actions at a nurse-in at the airport where the incident occurred. Let’s hope that Matt’s logo helps create a healthier and more supportive breastfeeding environment.

  1. Jimmy November 17, 2006

    I agree with the comments above as breastfeeding is natural and being critized while non bra breasts are not critized like i copt the quote- “Breasts can be displayed in skin-tight shirts or barely-there bikini tops; but a nipple should never be displayed when a woman is breastfeeding. Breasts are entertaining in MTV videos and Renaissance-era statues and paintings”

    There are too many confused and expectations in the society shows mixed and conflict messages – another great example about WalMart regards pregnant dolls(which is natural)few years ago were banned yet they encourage violence in videogames – the society issues never change.

    I’m glad to know that Deaf artist, Matt, show his logo about breastfeeding and hope the society understandf the difference between those good and bad breasts. I think breastfeeding is beautiful, part of nutrion for the baby and loving bond between
    the mother and the baby.

  2. Anne Marie November 17, 2006
  3. Jean Boutcher November 18, 2006

    That is a Victorian characteristic
    prevailing in big American cities,
    notably in the East. Daughters are
    influenced by their mothers who were
    influenced by their grandmothers who
    were influenced by their grandmothers,
    and so on. A great-grandmother would
    call her daughter who breastfed:
    “You look like a cow.” I saw in my
    grandmother’s scrapbook of her school
    days where all girls must wear a hat,
    a shirt with long sleeves, a long skirt
    over stockings. Nothing bare but the
    face and the hands. “You must wear
    stockings when you play tennis,” my
    grandmother would tell my anti-Victorian
    mother who wore socks. Europe and other
    countries than the United Kingdom,
    including Australia, do not practice
    Victorianism that emphasizes style,
    taste, and quality.

    Jean Boutcher

  4. thunderdew November 22, 2006

    This article was in today’s paper of Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, OH) regarding the “nurse-in” at the airport. When I read it this morning, I remembered reading the same topic on your blog…way to go for being one step ahead!

    To read the article, click here:


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