(Cross-posted at Avast! Femininst Conspiracy!)
I don't know if you are seeing this billboard in your city, but it is all over mine.
And it pisses me right off.
At first, I thought it just pissed me off because it was ass-backwards, and that if it said something like, "Breasts were made for feeding babies," I'd be OK with it. After all, of all the things a person is "born" to do, is being breastfed really at the top of the list? It just seemed...trite.
But thinking more about it, the other way would piss me off just as much, if not more. Because yes, breasts are used to feed babies. I understand the biology there. But as a feminist, I take issue with what I choose to do with my body taking back seat to the biology of what my body can do (or what I assume it can, I mean, I don't know that I could breastfeed, and some women who would like to can't, so that's another problem). Men, this city, this state, this country...they already own my body to a degree that I am uncomfortable with--the last thing I need is billboards to dictate to me what my body parts are for. The capacity to bear and nourish a child is not and should be conflated with the decision to do so.
Given the anti-breastfeeding factions in this country, as well as the massive miseducation about breastfeeding, I understand the need for pro-breastfeeding campaigns, and campaigns that focus on how breastfeeding is a natural, healthy thing and not something that should cause women shame. I support public breastfeeding for women who choose to do so. I'm all for it. But that does not change my dislike for being told what to do with my own body, whether it is by some dude or the media or the La Leche League. At the end of the day, my breasts, just like my uterus and every other part of me, are for whatever I say they are for. We may be mammals, but we are not beasts. We can and have in many arenas moved beyond our biology and made decisions based on other criteria, and there is no reason childbearing and nourishment should not be one of those arenas. Just because my body (again, assumedly) can bear a child does not mean I have a responsibility to do so, and just because my breasts have the capacity to nourish does not mean that I am under any obligation to choose to use them that way. My biology is not my destiny.