In a world where controversial ‘Hot Topics’ are abuzz, Brian Gawlak finds the teachable lessons in trending issues.
I have been a fan of Alyssa Milano since “Who’s The Boss?” premiered in 1984. I followed her career as she went from child actress, to ‘B-movie’ actress, to adult television actress.
I once had the great fortune of being two feet from Alyssa Milano when I lived in Los Angeles and we happened to be in the same restaurant. We made eye contact and she smiled that “Charmed” smile at me. I melted. It may be cliché to say that she was more beautiful in person, but I have to say: she was more beautiful in person!
So how can I say that anything about Alyssa Milano is not sexy?
Alyssa Milano has been making headlines lately, more for the controversy surrounding her breastfeeding photos and confiscated breastmilk at an airport, and less about the potential “Who’s The Boss?” reboot that needs to (and apparently may) happen. After posting a throwback picture of herself breastfeeding to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday on her social media accounts, many were outraged and horrified at the public display of what these naysayers feel should be private.
In an interview on the Today show, Ms. Milano addressed the controversy stating that she is glad that people are talking about the subject of public breastfeeding. She is not sorry, nor should she be (Click here for link to interview).
After our first daughter was born, I took a picture of my wife breastfeeding for the first time. The photo was flawlessly beautiful and it took my breath away, much like watching my wife feed our daughter did. I blew the picture up and made it into an 8×10 that hung in the upstairs hallway that led to our bedroom. My preteen nephew and his sometimes preteen-acting father both snickered when they saw the photo. The snickers turned to full on belly laughs, and ultimately led to my nephew asking me to take it down. I refused, saying I saw it as art and it was tasteful, and was hanging inconspicuously in my own home. My wife ultimately could not breastfeed long term, and the picture became a reminder of something sad and I had to take it down.
I first encountered “public breastfeeding” when my sister-in-law nursed my nephew at a family gathering. She was in my daughter’s bedroom, and when I walked in I am not sure who was more startled, or who was more embarrassed – she as a new mom, or me who had never seen anyone other than my wife breastfeed.
I admit to being uncomfortable, and to having a discussion with my wife about the appropriateness of breastfeeding in front of other people. The look on my wife’s face said it all, and I quickly realized that I was completely in the wrong. There was not only nothing wrong with my sister-in-law breastfeeding, but I realized she should not have been made to feel that she needed to leave the gathering to do so.
The person who should have been made to feel any shame or embarrassment was me for my immature response and reaction to what nature intended: breasts used to feed offspring.
As time went on, she would become much more comfortable with breastfeeding, and it became so second nature that neither she, nor I would bat an eyelash – until one day when one of us commented on not batting an eyelash and we both cracked up.
Our daughters are being raised in an environment where breastfeeding is seen as a beautiful and natural thing. We’ve explained to our oldest when we’ve seen women breastfeeding in restaurants that there is no reason why she should have to be relegated to a germ infested bathroom to feed her baby (our daughter asked). Nature intended for mothers to feed their offspring, and anyone uncomfortable with that should not breastfeed their babies in public. I hope we’ve set the stage so our daughters, like Alyssa Milano, will be proud of breastfeeding and not bat an eyelash at anyone else’s concern.
Alyssa Milano, you breastfeeding in public is not sexy – it is a necessary, natural, and beautiful thing. Anyone who feels there is anything sexual or feels uncomfortable with women breastfeeding has their own issues, and women should not be made to feel in any way embarrassed, ashamed, or wrong. Breasts can be used to sell any product under the sun, but to feed a baby like they were intended? Shame on the shamers!
Now about that “Who’s the Boss?” reboot…
Photo: Flickr/alien_artifact (adapted)