Breast­feed­ing self­ies just taste­less nar­cis­sism

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP FRONT -

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

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