After thinking about Madison Young’s breastfeeding photo controversy I went in search of other glamorous images of breastfeeding. Here is what I found. I really quite like these images, the women look strong and interesting, and not that there is anything wrong with the ‘adoring head tilt down towards baby’ breastfeeding pose, it’s what I do a lot of myself, but these are kind of compelling, no?
Maybe some of you will find that a lot of these images are only adding more weight to the pressure on mothers to be endlessly sexually available as women, and I’d agree that there was a case for that here, too.
First up, Jerry Hall.
Image credit – a whole bunch of these photos in this post are from an English campaign to re-make the image of breastfeeding into something more appealing to young women. The photos are of real young mothers and their babies and they’re gorgeous and I had a hard time narrowing my choices down.
I was tempted to skip the photo below because one of the things I was interested in finding was images where the mother is not looking at her baby, but there’s no denying the overt glamour of this one with fishnets and heels.
This woman is faking it with a doll, but I’m counting it anyway.
I almost didn’t include this one because the mother is doing the classic ‘loving gaze into baby’s eyes’ thing but, you know, wedding dresses are nothing if not glamorous.
And then this one.. lactation as an edgy fashion magazine concept.
And finally, for powerful breastfeeding images you can’t go past this one below.. talking to the leader of your country while breastfeeding. Rockin’.
P.S. There have been some criticisms of the post in the thread below, in terms of classism and sexual objectification.. please note that I have already responded to these comments before making your own comment read what I have to say and then take the conversation from there if you have thoughts to add.
With regards to the idea that these photos might be “too sexy”, I quote myself from the comment thread below..
I take your point but I think you have to be careful saying these images are all sexualising breastfeeding. Not all the subjects and photographers would agree with that description – and equating being dressed up or looking someone in the eye or possessing cleavage with being sexual boxes women in and risks shaming them. I used the term glamorous with intent, and I tried to be as inclusive as possible, though I acknowledge that the description glamorous still makes some women feel excluded and that it is still very much prone to narrow definitions of beauty and to also making women feel objectified.
I was aware of the narrow mainstream view of glamour so I tried to find mothers who were also dressed up and fashionable but who were not just wearing dresses and frocks and heels and such, who weren’t always conservatively dressed. And I think I found some good examples of that to include – loved the sneakers and leather pants and the torn jeans and the pink hair examples. However, with all its faults I still think glamour is an important element for many women of their self-image and it represents a certain prioritising of self that I kind of liked to see depicted in breastfeeding shots – which can otherwise be so generic: selfless, sex-less, mother etc.