This is a guest blog post by my husband. It was previously included on my blog post entitled "Nursing in Public - my belief system." I've always liked this post, so I thought I would reprint it here on its own page.
A Man's View on Public Breastfeeding
By Kevin C. Neece
It is really a sexist view that proclaims that women are intelligent and
responsible and can make choices about how they respond to stimuli and that men
are just drooling animals, uncontrollably dominated by their passions because
they are basically too dull-witted to do otherwise. Saying that men “can’t help
it” or “are wired that way” may seem like compassion and consideration for men,
but in reality it is a degrading gender bias. The truth is that we should expect
all adults to behave like adults regardless of their gender.
As a man, I
am personally tired of hearing such views bandied about so easily as though they
are not at all bigoted. It may be culturally acceptable, but it is wrong to
expect men to be the lowest common denominator of our species. Adult men are
expected to be and are often portrayed as no more than college frat boys with
families. But college frat boys are just junior high boys with newfound freedom
and legal permission. And junior high boys are just elementary school boys with
sex drives. So essentially, we are telling men that their progress as a gender
is so stunted that they can never truly be expected to grow out of boyhood. This
is now excused because we tell them that they are genetically wired to be too
stupid to grow up. When you place no expectations of civility and maturity on
any human being, they will more often than not respond to those expectations by
remaining in the realm of their baser instincts. If, however, people are treated
as beings capable of civilized, respectful behavior, they develop as
Moreover, the story of human progress tell us that the basic
project of being human consists of learning, changing, growing, and trying to
become more than what we are. By insisting that men are incapable of advancing
themselves in a conscious, focused manner, we are depriving them of their basic
dignity as human beings by ignoring their potential to grow in positive, civil
and mature directions.
As a man married to a breastfeeding mother,
to whom I am very sexually attracted, I can say that simply having developed the
mindset of the natural, feeding function of the female breasts has allowed me to
consistently view my wife’s breasts as sources of food when seen in a functional
context, and as sources of arousal when seen in a sexual context. There has
never been any confusion between the two. I did not have to be trained or
desensitized. All I had to do was learn about the purpose and beauty of
breastfeeding. Were the activity of public breastfeeding more common and
accepted in our culture in general, and were our expectations of men inclusive
of more than unthinking Neanderthal-like sex drives, there would not be an issue
regarding the response of intelligent, civilized men to public breastfeeding. A
mother must be asked to do no less than put the needs of her child before other
considerations. A man’s response to what he may or may not see for a brief
moment is his own to deal with.
The breastfeeding conversation among
Christians today tends to focus on nipples, nudity, and naughtiness. Instead,
Christians should be about the business of helping to develop a view of
breastfeeding as normal, natural, and necessary. Part of that process includes
the promotion of breastfeeding as an acceptable, everyday experience. This may
create some difficulties along the way for Christians who are now grown men, but
it will also help prevent future complications for the Christian men of
tomorrow. If our boys are raised in a culture that values and openly accepts the
fullest, truest nature of the female breast, we can come one step closer to a
world that no longer reduces breasts, and indeed women, to mere sex objects.
Familiarizing the younger generation with a broader understanding of the
feeding function of breasts will help to prevent unnecessary and unwarranted
sexual temptation in the future rather than creating such temptation by
presuming a universally sexualized view of the breast. This is not about a few
instances of men being bothered by seeing a little skin. It is about a process
of cultural education and development toward a more enlightened future where sex
is a natural part of life and not something that dominates our lives in a
negative fashion. In this future, breastfeeding is placed in its proper context
as a normal and necessary function of motherhood, no longer overshadowed by
over-sexualization, nor oppressed by the tyranny of titillation. Therefore,
normalizing public views of breastfeeding mothers is a move toward moral
responsibility and away from the domination of sexual temptation. As such, it is
important that it be carried out, not flippantly or defiantly, but with a focus
on awareness, education, and acceptance.
Kevin C. Neece is a writer and speaker in Fort Worth, Texas.
He is a media and pop culture columnist for New Identity
Magazine and blogger for Art House Dallas whose work has appeared in
Rethinking Everything Magazine,
Next Wave Magazine, Worldview Church
Report and Baptist Life, among others.
He is also a contributing editor for Imaginatio et Ratio: A Journal of Theology and the
Arts. His work on Star Trek is featured in the book Light Shining in a Dark Place: Discovering Theology Through
Kevin holds a BAS in Communication and
Philosophy and an MLA in Fine Arts.
He has taught university courses on fine arts, critical thinking and cultural
engagement and has lectured frequently on media, the arts and pop culture from a
Christian worldview perspective.
Kevin's current work includes The Undiscovered
Country Project--an ongoing journey through Star
Trek from a Christian worldview perspective--and Jesus Films 101, an
exploration of Christ in cinema that draws on his 20 years of research in the
The Undiscovered Country Project - http://undiscoveredcountryproject.com/
For more information, including booking inquiries, please contact Kevin.