I’m in favor of women breastfeeding in public. Wholeheartedly in favor of it. Women who breastfeed typically are young, so their breasts tend to be of a good shape and size, which makes them pleasant to look at and perfectly suitable for public display.
Practical justifications for breastfeeding (hungry babies, painful swelling) should be avoided in this debate. If we waive indecent exposure laws for one class of citizen based on claims of physical necessity (claims to which I’m sympathetic, by the way), we’ll have to do the same for others, particularly straight men, particularly in places where partial female nudity is rife, and that could be catastrophic. Aesthetically, I mean. For other straight men. And janitors.
Equally slippery is the argument that straight men who live in cultures where women’s breasts are kept mostly hidden might be expected to either avert their eyes or, if caught by a breast unawares, ignore it. The male libido has no kill switch, I’m afraid. At least none that I’m aware of.
No friends, we open that door at our peril, because if we do, there’s no telling what might come bounding through it. Henry Kissinger in drag, for instance. Making sweet, sweet love to Honey Boo-Boo’s mother. Which did show kill switch potential in early clinical trials, but eventually proved to be ineffective.
Far better, I say, to side-step considerations of decency, physical necessity, and self-restraint, and focus instead on artistic merit. Just as we do already for other modes of expression, review committees could be established to determine which artists’ works should be displayed most prominently, and these committees could be staffed by people of discernment. People known in the community for their experience with and devotion to the art form.
I, for example, would be happy to serve on such a committee without pay, as I’m sure would many others.
As a public service, don’cha know.