By now, I’ve found myself enjoying the presence and arguments of two… I don’t know, deeply conservative, devoutly religious sparring partners? Is that the right term? I don’t know, though it certainly fits. In this instance, the category is once again that of women’s rights and the desired interference of the religious right. The specifics of this concern breastfeeding, although my Christian sparring partner, David Tee, of Theology Archaeology, expands upon this notion via one of his latest Hub Pages articles.
To open the article, David says…
In today’s world the issues of rights have taken center stage in the most debates. Doesn’t matter which one they all seem to go to the same argument someone has the right to do the activity they want to do.
The standards of morality and immorality, good and evil and right and wrong, are no longer used to help define someone’s behavior. It is all about rights. Even the debate on public breastfeeding has been reduced to an issue of women’s rights.
I’m not at all sure why an issue that concerns a woman’s body, and a natural function that only women can perform, should be a point of discussion in any avenue other than women’s rights.
There was a woman interviewed about her trouble in breastfeeding in a public spot in a privately owned but open to the public department store. It has been awhile so the details of which newspaper, etc., have been lost to time.
But her key words have not been forgotten. She simply stated that she was upset because she was not able to breastfeed her child ‘where I wanted to’. That is the sad thing in this discussion.
It is all about selfishness and what the woman wants to do. No thought or caring is given to the store owner and his or her rights; no thought or caring is given to the other people in the store at the time and on it goes. It is all about what the woman wanted to do and that is pure selfishness.
Sadly, people have forgotten that others have rights to but those seem to disappear when a minority of people simply want to do what they want when they want. That attitude is not healthy for society and it is not healthy for family relations.
This has nothing to do with wanting to do whatever one wants, whenever they want. There is a very simple reason why the woman in this story would have been breastfeeding. The clue is in the word itself.
There are a lot of reasons why men are involved in this debate and those reasons have nothing to do with oppressing women or making them captive in the home. One reason is that the baby is not the product of a woman’s action on her own.
To reproduce she needs the help of a man and the father does have a say when and where his child is to be breastfed. Many women do not like that because they feel it is their body and they have the say.
Scriptures and God beg to differ. In 1 Cor. 7 a person will read that the woman’s body does not belong to her anymore. She has given it to her husband and lover. The father and husband have a legitimate say in where she breastfeeds.
Second, the Bible tells us that a woman is to be submissive to her husband. If the husband tells his wife that she cannot breastfeed in public, then she is disobeying God if she ignores his requests and does so anyways.
Men have a say in how their children will be raised and treated.
Without any irony, David starts out by saying involving men in a discussion about breastfeeding has nothing to do with oppressing women, then uses Biblical quotes to justify doing exactly that. Whilst it does indeed take two to make a baby, there’s absolutely nothing a man can do in regarding to breastfeeding, and therefore absolutely no say in when and where. There is, as before, a very simple and obvious reason for this, which has nothing to do with the will of the father, or for that matter, the will of the mother.
As for the Biblical commands about the woman’s body not belonging to her, that is simply misogyny dressed in organised religion.
The Bible talks about women dressing very modestly. As we all know, that command has been ignored since the mini-skirt and bikini made their debuts. Even Christian women have disobeyed this command on many occasions.
Bringing out a breast in public is not remaining modest even if it is a natural act. The Bible does talk about breastfeeding and confirms it is the natural act between a mother and child. Yet, there is no verse telling women they can do it in public and in front of a live audience.
God does not direct his people to disobey his word and because breastfeeding is not specifically mentioned as a public taboo does not mean that permission was granted to disobey husbands or remove one’s clothing in public.
This is not oppression but leading women to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
Once again, there is a very simple reason why a mother would need to breastfeed. It is not down the mother as to where and when, much less the father to dictate about. David moves on to talk about whether public breastfeeding is wrong.
It depends on where it is done. If it is done in full view of strangers, against the wishes of the husband and so on, then yes, it is wrong. If young mothers feel like they need to do this anywhere they want, then it is wrong too.
Selfishness has never been encouraged by God nor has disobedience. Women may complain that they must do this because of the duties they need to perform throughout the day.
This is a bad argument as God has given women intelligence, wisdom and so on. They have the capability to plan their days accordingly. Parents have had 9 months to plan for this moment.
Emphasis mine, and spoken like someone who is not a parent and has not even a remote clue as to what it’s like. Babies do not operate according to a set schedule, especially newborns. When they are hungry, they will let the entire world know it, regardless of whatever plans anyone has made. Nor is it sensible to ignore their hunger. It is, quite simply, cruel, and in the end, not good for the baby. If they want feeding they need feeding, it is instinctive. They will not care whether they are out in public or not, and guess what, their needs outweigh whatever prudish sentiments the father has over the use of a breast for their original intention. For all David’s talk about selfishness, it is selfish for the father to impose his judgement upon the mother and upon the baby, especially if he’s going to hide behind the Bible to justify it.
David goes on to ask if husbands are bullied…
Of course, they are. Many young men have been brainwashed, beaten and bullied into thinking that the woman only has the say in this issue. The reason for that is that the secular world has been influenced by evil and lead mothers and their supporters away from God’s ways
What God wants and has instructed is ignored in favor of doing what people want. The Bible does not give the issue of breastfeeding to only women. Men cannot tell a woman how to breastfeed, but they certainly can tell them where to do it.
What is also ignored by the secular world and a large part of the Christian one is that God has order. He has made the husband and the father as the head of the family. Plus, God has given men specific instructions on how to govern, love, direct their loved ones including their wives.
God did not say husbands you have rule over your wife and family except in the area of breastfeeding. But people tend to ignore that because they prefer to think of themselves only and not God’s order.
The Bible was written by men who wanted to instil a system of control over women, and they invoked God to give their words weight. In the process, in this particular issue, we have ignorance of what babies need – it is not right to deprive a baby, especially a newborn, of feeding out of prudish sentiment. A baby does not and cannot choose when and where they are hungry, they do not operate to a schedule or plan. Additionally, before David or anyone points out other means of feeding, breastfeeding is not only far better for a baby than bottle feeding (aside from rare circumstances), it is also a means of bonding with the baby. Furthermore, taking out bottle upon bottle is not practical, owing to temperature and quantity. It’s not impossible, but there’s possible and then there’s reasonable.
It is a great disservice that is being done to men and women of the world. The unbelievers continue to follow evil in all areas of life including breastfeeding. Bringing glory to God and being obedient applies to even this small area of life.
Women can bring glory to God by obeying their husbands and not the secular unbelieving world. God has given families the instructions they need to be the light unto a dark world and that light needs to shine in this area as well.
Yes, it’s so evil to feed a hungry child via the most natural means in the world, and so evil that the baby’s needs outweigh the husband’s wishes. How downright awful.