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On Breastfeeding & White Feminism



On Breastfeeding & White Feminism

illustration // Khadijat Yussuff


White women breastfeeding publicly is not radical.

In the feminist sphere, women are fighting for the right to breastfeed in public without fear of citizen (usually male) retaliation. However, it is important to realize that in this discussion and in this fight, we cannot extricate the Black breast from the White one. The #taboo of public breastfeeding is one instituted by White women themselves during the period of #slavery in America. Did we not watch The Help in the last decade? Do we not remember a history of Black mammies relegated to the shadows of the house, suckling the White madam's newborn? Having a Black woman feed a White child, and then not have enough for her own, was a standard that can still be observed today. It is a standard that helps kill 50% of babies born to Black mothers in America. It is a standard that celebrates White women doing by choice in the 21st century what they forced Black women to do for them and prevented them from doing for themselves since the 1400's.
This, coupled with the cohort of inequalities based on both sex and race, ensures that regardless of what rights women in America gain collectively, they will never be invoked equally, and White women will always come out on top.

Breastfeeding, publicly or otherwise, is every breasted parent's right. Black and PoC mothers must have the same medical and educational opportunities White women tend to have in this nation, but White women, in fighting for themselves and their children, must ACTIVELY work to remediate this particular disparity as fervently as their ancestors, in Europe and the Americas, worked to instill and maintain it. It is a harsh and uncomfortable truth that White women must take on the responsibility laden upon Black women for millenia. P.S. AUGUST IS BLACK BREASTFEEDING MONTH!!  🙌🏿