Breastfeeding selfies just tasteless narcissism
IMAGINE THIS arty black and white shot: a ravishing Russian supermodel is naked and lying flat on her back. Her eyes meet the camera in a sensuous pose. One bare breast is covered casually with her arm, and the other breast has… a feeding baby attached to it.
It’s not just a fantasy gone awry, it’s a sign of what is wrong with motherhood today.
The supermodel is Natalia Vodianova and the photo is one she posted recently on Instagram.
It’s just one of a number of recent shots of celebrity women breastfeeding or posting pregnant selfies in seductive poses. To me it’s less about a celebration of love for the baby, and more to do with pure exhibitionism.
I shouldn’t be surprised at this oversharing: these days when people want to announce a pregnancy, they post the ultrasound pic on social media. Something that has previously been viewed as highly personal – like a photo taken inside a woman’s body – is splashed about for all to see.
What’s next? Setting up cameras to capture the moment of conception? Please, no.
There really is something particularly disturbing about the idea of women posing in suggestive ways while breastfeeding. For many years, many of us have been doing our best to demystify breastfeeding, and remind people that it’s not about flashing tits, but about the simple act of feeding a baby. This is why soft-porn breastfeeding pics take us back 20 years.
I have less of a problem with everyday women posting shots of themselves breastfeeding, but it does seem to be going a bit far.
There are even Facebook sites set up just for breastfeeding shots: some show tiny bubs sucking away. Others show pre-schoolers bending backwards over couches to grab a feed from mum.
There’s even a naked woman doing an upside down yoga pose with a toddler rushing in for a snack. I understand that it’s supposed to celebrate breastfeeding, but it’s almost getting to the point where it’s turning something private and wonderful into a sideshow.
In my mind, there is a definite gap between celebrating breastfeeding – which is something you can do in private – and putting pics out there of you with a baby attached to your naked breast for everyone to see. Now, I loved my breastfeeding body (I’ve never had such a great rack in my life) but I am certainly not rushing to pop pics of my bub suckling at my breasts on Facebook.
Pregnant women also seem to be joining this oversharing craze. From women posing with wildlife scenes painted on their naked tummies to professionally styled soft-focus studio shots, it seems 2014 is the year of the posed pregnant woman. Interestingly, the market in pregnancy selfies is spearheaded by good-looking skinny celebrity women.
It’s often little more than an exercise in vanity photography: showing off how hot they can look even when they’re pregnant. Otherwise, why would so many pregnant celebs like glamour model Jordan (aka Katie Price), wear lacy bras and suspenders for their pregnancy photoshoots?
Former Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch did a similar thing when she posed in her underwear, showing her toned body and pert little baby bump. Pregnancy certainly is a wonderful time, but why couldn’t she celebrate in private, not on Instagram?
Again, I should clarify that I have posed for photos while pregnant, but you’re hardly going to come across them on YouTube. Just before each of my kids were born, my husband took a quick snap of me lifting up my top and showing my preggy belly. In each one I look short and round, with fuzzy hair and daggy trackies. No one will ever see them but my family (and the guests at my kids’ 21st birthday parties).
This is all a sign of the way people these days think that unless something is celebrated on social media, it hasn’t actually happened. Events are measured by “likes” on Facebook and “retweets” on Twitter, rather than the genuine emotion of the time.
Some would say it’s actually about opening up and helping other women feel good about being pregnant and breastfeeding. I’d say it’s usually just one big narcissistic power trip. Blog with Susie at Susieobrien.com.au or follow her on Twitter @susieob