Today model Natalia Vodianova posted a photo to her Instagram account of her posing completely naked while nursing her one-month old son, Maxim. Frankly, I’m appalled by this image. Not because I’m anti-breastfeeding. But because I’m against sexualizing breastfeeding, which is exactly what this photo does.
No mom looks like this when she breastfeeds. Her hair and make-up isn’t usually done. She isn’t posing seductively. And she certainly isn’t breastfeeding in the nude.
I hate this image because it presents breastfeeding in an inaccurate fashion. I think this photo is much like the controversial TIME magazine cover which featured a mom breast-feeding her three-year-old son. No mom breastfeeds her child standing up. That photo was meant to be controversial instead of informative.
Publicizing such inaccurate portraits of breastfeeding is why breastfeeding in public is such a controversial issue. Photos like these make breastfeeding seem sexual. Which it isn’t! But when the only images you see of breastfeeding moms are when they look sexy and seductive, then of course people are going to be critical of mom’s nursing in public.
What we need more of in the world is accurate portrayals of moms breastfeeding. Recently, the Social host, Cynthia Loyst posted an Instagram photo of her nursing her son. She is sitting on the couch cradling her baby lovingly. That’s what breastfeeding is. It’s a moment of bonding between mother and child. It’s a mom providing her baby with sustenance. There’s nothing sexual about it. I find this photo to be informative of what breastfeeding is truly about!
Breastfeeding isn’t about nudity or being sexy. I think it’s high time all women, especially celebrities, do their part to change the narrative around breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is beautiful, not because it’s sexual, but because it’s about love.
Do you think Natalia’s photo sexualizes breastfeeding?
Photo courtesy of Georges Seguin/Wikimedia Commons