Here's What Happens When A Woman Posts A Breastfeeding Photo Online

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

Mom posts tandem breastfeeding photo and gets hundreds of harassing messages from men

Boobs are for feeding babies. It’s a factual statement. That is their function. They may never be used for their intended purpose, and that’s totally fine. But somewhere along the way, the female breast morphed into a thing that represents all things sexual. So much so, that people have a hard time separating the functionality of breasts with their own hang-ups regarding the female body, sexuality, and the public space.

This is where the backlash for public breastfeeding comes in. And this is why we need women working to normalize the act of feeding a child. Enter breastfeeding pics.

It’s amazing that in a society that documents everything and puts it online, there is still backlash for women who breastfeed and share the image. It’s always shocking to see the amount of pushback women receive from other women — but have you ever thought about what they may be subjected to from men?

This week, Rebecca Wanosik posted a photo of herself tandem breastfeeding: one child was hers, the other was a child of a friend who needed help. She was in the hospital, and her baby refused to take a bottle. She was desperate. Rebecca, who has six kids of her own and has nursed other people’s babies before, stepped up without a second thought. “I received a random text from one of my friends asking if I could feed a strangers baby,” she explained in a Facebook post alongside the image of her breastfeeding. “Was there ever a question? The baby’s mother was having surgery and the baby is exclusively breastfed and refused a bottle. When the baby arrived you could tell she was hungry and exhausted and just needed some milk. I did what I hope any person would do for my child in a time of despair. I fed a stranger’s baby.”

Image via Rebecca Wanosik

When we shared her story this week, the response was overwhelmingly positive. It was such a nice change from the usual mom-shaming that inevitably comes up in these posts. We wrote Rebecca a message thanking her for her interview, and she shared a couple screenshots of messages she’d been receiving since her story published.

Her inbox was full of messages from men. “This is what I get,” she said. “For feeding a baby. There are hundreds more just like it. It’s literally humiliating even reading them.”

There were 400 of these. FOUR HUNDRED. On Facebook. Where your name, picture, and profile are attached to every message you send. These men had no shame. They had no problem blatantly sexually harassing a woman, even though their very public profiles were attached to the words they were sending. “It’s no wonder that women are terrified to nourish their babies,” Rebecca told Scary Mommy.

Here’s the part where we’ll remind you the image was of her breastfeeding two children.

“I love your tits?” Seriously? Who the hell cares?

Women don’t breastfeed in public for all the men out there who don’t have the internet and can’t Google boobs. And they don’t post images online for any other reason than to normalize and celebrate a perfectly natural moment — for other women.

She’s received tons of supportive messages from women — which is very refreshing. All she did was share an experience. The deluge of harassment she’s gotten for it is absurd and absolutely not okay. Do the people in these mens’ lives know they spend their spare time harassing breastfeeding moms on Facebook?

“Had I known it would go viral and this would have happened, I probably wouldn’t have posted it.”

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