Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 20 March 2014

Emily Slough: Breastfeeding and the Modern Goddess

Today, I’m going to talk about Emily Slough.

I’ve been meaning to talk about her for some time, now, ever since she was called a tramp in fact, and a photo of her was plastered all over FaceBook without her consent. 

Yesterday, my good friend Sarah Cawkwell wrote about Ms Slough, and that’s why I’m reminded to do it. I haven’t read Sarah’s blog yet, so I have no way to know how much our views differ. She got in there first, though, so I’m going to link to her post here. Go read it. She’s lovely. I’m going to go read it shortly. After I’ve written mine.

Read both; who knows, if our views are very different, we might even get a debate going.

Me and my breasts
Here’s a picture of me that I posted attached to a blog I wrote about corsets and why I bought one for myself to celebrate my fortieth birthday.

You can clearly see breasts.

I’m using this picture because this is pretty well how we think of breasts, isn’t it? This is how the modern world presents them to us. This is what society thinks of them. This is how most men and some women like to see them. Although I don’t necessarily wear a corset to demonstrate my sexuality, and I don’t wear one in public, most people would consider this picture to be overtly sexual.

Breasts, for most of us, most of the time, are secondary sexual characteristics.

Here’s what breasts are actually for though: breasts are for producing milk to nurture and sustain our children with. 

Babies have always fed from the breast, either their mother’s or another lactating woman’s.

The truth is that babies have also for hundreds, and possibly even thousands of years, been fed by other methods, generally not terribly successfully.

Fortunately, there has never been a better time to choose how we feed our children. Sterilising bottles and teats is simple and effective, and formula milk is improving all the time.

Here’s the thing, though: in most instances, the female body can provide everything a newborn needs, and it can keep doing it for a considerable time thereafter. Breast milk is free, it is nutritious, it is on-tap and it requires virtually zero in the way of equipment, maintenance or messing about.

Surely, in the twenty-first century every woman must have the right to choose what is best for her and her child when it comes to something as basic as nutrition. And that’s without considering more esoteric ideas like bonding, and even the health benefits to the mother of breast feeding, which are... well... beneficial.

Emily Slough was photographed breast feeding her eight month old child, sitting on a doorstep, eating a sandwich while out shopping. Her child needed to feed, and she probably needed to take a break. Caring for an eight month old is a wonderful job, but it can be tiring. Having a relaxed approach is a very good idea, as far as I’m concerned. I’m tempted to think that Ms Slough is doing a thoroughly good job.

The person who took the photograph posted it on FaceBook and called Ms Slough a tramp.

Women the World over are being sexually exploited day in and day out. They are being judged on their bodies, which, let’s face it, generally means being judged on the size and shape of their breasts. Heaven help us, women from movie stars to models to rock chicks show acres of cleavage and thigh, and spend hours in front of mirrors perfecting hair and make-up; they spend small fortunes on cosmetic procedures and stylists, on jewelry and shoes, and they’re admired as goddesses... by men and women alike.

However overtly sexually these women present themselves, for the most part, we don’t call them tramps. 

The point of being sexually attractive is to have sex, and the point of having sex is to procreate, and once you’ve procreated it’s a pretty good idea to find a way to feed that child. All that cleavage that attracted that mate belongs to the breast that’s going to nurture that baby!

(Yes, I know it’s simplistic, but you take my point).

A woman in day clothes sits on a step and breast feeds a child, and suddenly she’s the tramp?!

I’m not going to apologise for thinking there’s something very wrong with that.

I breast fed both of the dorts, and I stopped when they were ready to stop. I breast fed for a total of a little over two years, and I breast fed just about everywhere, when I needed to, or, more importantly, when they needed to. This was over twenty years ago, and I can’t believe that nothing has changed in two decades.

I never breast fed in a public loo. And it’s a bloody disgrace that anyone should suggest that it’s a good idea. When you’re prepared to take your lunch into a public loo and sit and eat it, then you can suggest that a newborn should do the same. Until then...

Anyway, this week, if I was going to pick a modern goddess and if I was choosing between, say, Scarlett Johansson and Emily Slough, I know which way I’d be casting my vote.

1 comment:

  1. The website that posted the woman’s photograph and called her a tramp, is what you might think of as a distorted and twisted version of neighbourhood watch, in that it is used to make fun of and bully people. Even had she not been breastfeeding they still would still have referred to her as a tramp just for being sat on a step. Judging by the mayhem and rants stirred up from all sides, it is sad to see that the troll on this occasion has been well and truly fed.