Victorian Breastfeeding Photos

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Registered: 07-05-2005
Victorian Breastfeeding Photos
Mon, 06-17-2013 - 5:00pm

Last year Lynne Grumet set the internet a-flutter when she appeared on the cover of TIMEmagazine breastfeeding her toddler. Reactions were largely negative, often reflecting unease at the open display of a sexualized body part being used to feed a child older than the age we generally find acceptable. Others objected to what they saw as the sensationalism of the photo. Grumet later posed on the cover of another magazine in a pose that focused on bonding and intimacy, commonly cited as benefits by breastfeeding advocates. The entire episode tapped into larger cultural anxieties about appropriate mothering.

And as Jill Lepore explains in The Mansion of Happiness, it’s just the latest round in the changing discourse about breastfeeding; in the mid-1800s, images of breastfeeding mothers became a fad in the U.S. The use of wet nurses had never been as common in the U.S. as in Europe, and it became even less popular by the early 1800s; breastfeeding your own child became a central measure of your worth as a mother.  Cultural constructions of femininity became highly centered on motherhood and the special bond between a mother and her children in the Victorian era.

Read more and see the photos here- http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/06/10/shifting-discourses-of-motherhood-the-victorian-breastfeeding-photo-fad/

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