breast feedingWeek 3 photo 4

There is an on-going debate/battle over whether or not breast feeding in public is acceptable; furthermore, there is also a ban placed on people putting photographs of breast feeding on Facebook, because it is forbidden to show “depiction[s] of sexual assault or rape” and “bestiality, necrophilia and pedophilia” and “breastfeeding photos showing other nudity, or nipple clearly exposed”.[1] In no way would I myself, perceive that breast feeding, and perhaps showing a nipple, is anywhere near as vulgar or illegal as sexual assault, rape, having sex with animals or children or dead people. But nevertheless, people find the act of feeding a child in the most natural way possible, something akin to these horrific illegal acts. How is this possible? Moreover, we take photographs of horrific events such as 9/11 or war photo’s where people are laying dead, or on the opposite hand we take photographs of beautiful landscapes and nature at its most bare and intimate stages such as a lion devouring its prey, yet a portion of people still refuse or find looking at a child breast feeding bordering on repulsive and unnecessary.

So this to me seems even more ridiculous when compared with the second photo shown here. I chose the second photo, which I “sourced” (I say sourced with sarcasm, because I don’t have to particularly go searching for these types of images) from Instagram, searching for the username ‘Vixen’, who is a men’s magazine regular. The image for me has a clear authorial intent, she is posing to gain some form of appraisal for her breasts. This picture received over 2,000 likes, and over 60 comments, attracting a much more positive reaction than that of a picture which is forcible removed from Facebook, showing a child breast feeding. Of course you could read into the image of ‘Vixen’, and suggest some sort of feminist interpretation, where the issue of the woman here feeling obliged or pressured by society to engage in taking vulgar photos of herself, because the media has projected and unrealistic image of the female body, blah blah blah.

The point I want to raise, is very simply, where do we draw the line of intimacy? Both these images were meant to be viewed; the first image is one that was sent in from a reader of the Guardian, the other was posted on the media outlet of Instagram. Both are photos are posed for, and there is no necessarily untoward message behind either image, unless you want to go too theoretical with either. It brings up the issue raised with the Nan Goldin image of the man masturbating and the Sally Mann images of exposing naked children. Where do you draw the line between inappropriate/artistic/socially or culturally acceptable?

For a further look at the breast feeding image visit:


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