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Even though there was potential of it being a troll, a question was posed recently on a forum regarding how men should react when they encounter a breast feeding Mother.  He was honest in his post, that the possibility of seeing a bare breast enticed him.  The Mother’s are in public, are they fair game?

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Legally a Mother has the right to breast feed her baby in any place where she has a legal right to be.  Requesting a Mother remove herself, cover up or go to another location is illegal.  People often suggest that Mother should go to the washroom to nurse.  Do those people eat their meals in washrooms?  Public washrooms at that?  No?  Why not?  Then why on earth would they suggest that a baby eat their meal there?  Yes, it applies.  It’s disgusting and no Mother should be made to degrade themselves or their baby by doing so.

While it’s understanding that he finds breasts attractive, a breast feeding Mother is not on display.  She is not there to put on a show for his enjoyment.  She is simply feeding her baby.   Sexualizing what she is doing is inappropriate.  Even though she is in public, she does not forfeit her right to feed her baby without being ogled or sexualized.

He was attempting to sexualize a nonsexual situation. A breast feeding Mother is not displaying her breast for anyone, she’s nursing.  A man getting changed in a gym change room is not displaying his body to the other men in the room.  A patient allowing their body to be examined by a physician of the opposite sex is not displaying their body for the physicians sexual pleasure. In every situation, decorum, adult behaviours, protocols and a code of conduct is expected.

There are situations throughout life where the human body may be seen by others that is completely nonsexual.  It seems to be more of a North American phenomenon, the obsession with breasts as sexual objects.  While they can be, that is not their only purpose.  Mature adults know the difference.

Trust us, we get it. Men like boobies.  If you catch a look, so be it.  But to go back for seconds and thirds is inappropriate.

As an adult you are expected to conduct yourself like an adult. It’s not like you’re blinded by the breast and unable to recognize the fact that the Mother is breast feeding. You see the baby, you see the blankets, you see the diaper bag, you see the child being placed to the breast. You KNOW that she is breast feeding. You are fully aware of the context of the breast.  You can’t say that you’re so fixated on the possibility of seeing a breast that you get tunnel vision, unable to ascertain the situation and the context of the possible breast visual. There are protocols in every situation of what is and is not acceptable.  Even in a strip joint there are specific protocols of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. Again, as an adult, you’re expected to act accordingly.

So the protocol is this:
A Mother is breast feeding.
1) You turn your head and see the situation and accidentally catch a glimpse of a breast. You realize “Oh, she’s breast feeding.” in that same moment. You look away and go about your business.
2) You come across a breast feeding Mother who is completely covered. You realize “Oh, she’s breast feeding.” in that same moment. You look away and go about your business.

You don’t have to look away like a breast feeding Mother is a pariah. However like any other situation of adult human interaction, look at them in their eyes or go about your business.  A breast feeding Mother can carry on a conversation while nursing.  See the loving act of a Mother feeding a baby, talk to her if she’s open to conversation.  If she seems uncomfortable, move on.  Just as you would if she were drinking a cup of coffee and didn’t seem to want your company.

To peer and leer is wrong and has a definite ick-factor.  Don’t be surprised if a police officer taps you on the shoulder for your conduct.

Just because you can derive some sexual pleasure from a non-sexual situation doesn’t entitle you to do so, nor should you. You aren’t a 14 year old boy without impulse control. The expectation is for you to behave like the adult you are. This isn’t a chance to see a boob. This is an opportunity to be a man and respect your fellow human being.

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