A day late, and a dollar short….

         You know that feeling when something happens and you want to say something, but you don’t because you know you’re so mad, or irritated or have too many thoughts running through your head that you just know you won’t be able to sound anything like a coherent person? Well, when the breastfeeding Airmen pics took center stage that was how I felt. I was like, “no, I’m not going to run to my computer and start typing.”  What could I possibly have to say that would be new and interesting. Nothing probably.  I read the articles. I wondered, was there another underlying issue that was going on, at least for me.

          A lot of time I feel like there’s an issue that can’t be discussed because it gets pushed aside before you can even get there. Personally, if we’re going to honest, its our Politically Correct society that’s the problem. Honesty has become a unique venture. Sometimes you can’t tell the truth because you will be offending some group of people. For this particular incident, I feel like that particular “group” is breastfeeding moms. The truth of how some people feel about the pictures and whats going on in them is muddied up by the fact that they are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a hot topic right now. Breastfeeding in public is really the reason. Another reason is the whole movement of attachment parenting and that purposely antagonizing Time Magazine cover – manipulative Time Magazine! So when this hit the blog world, and social media it was no surprise to me that the reason it even became anything was because of the breastfeeding in public issue. It couldn’t be about women breastfeeding in the military because the military has some pretty amazing regs when it comes that. A breastfeeding mom can have a year non-deployable status and is allowed plenty of, and reasonable, time to pump at work. So this discussion couldn’t be that they aren’t able to breastfeed in the workplace.  If you look at all the pictures, taken in support of World Breastfeeding Day, they are beautiful. There are some other ones of the ladies in the uniform and they are great. I’ve heard many different arguments, so many, in fact, my head is still spinning.

        I’ve heard, they shouldn’t be breastfeeding in uniform at all….that’s stupid. I’ve heard people just get hung up on people’s uncomfortableness with public breastfeeding and spend an entire article going on and on about breastfeeding in public or breastfeeding at all. One of my favorites is people that talk about male members of the military acting crudely and provocatively in their uniforms, so what’s the difference between these women doing something wonderful and natural. Another argument that was presented by the Air Force Times, Here, discussed the misuse of the uniform to push an ideology and comparing it to wearing it at a political rally. We know that this has become quite a hot-button issue within the military, with recent incidents of members being kicked out because of this. I asked my husband about this and he said, “they’re right.” To me it seems like a stretch but I can appreciate it.  I mean, we all know the list of things we can’t do in uniform – things like PDA, holding hands and there’s also a rule that states they can’t smoke while walking in uniform! 

         Here’s my two cents. We’ve all seen the videos of deployed service members lip syncing, and making funny dance videos over-seas. One could argue, “is that really an appropriate use of the uniform.” I think that most people, including senior officials in the military have overlooked this type of behavior, especially when it becomes sexual or vulgar (either sexually or with the use of Profanity) because there is a general view of “gosh, let them do what they want, do you know what they are going through over there.” One of the articles that I read talked about this in fact, videos and pictures of service members displaying themselves in compromising and less than prim and proper situations. Most people don’t complain about this. I have to admit I’ve watched some of the videos, but I am NOT and the hubby is NOT a fan of ones that become disgraceful and disrespectful to the uniform. So I guess, since I say that I’m allowed to state my opinion about this issue. My issue really was with the one airmen and her decision to basically show a huge amount of her breasts in the pictures, while in her uniform. Hubbs even remarked that if our son was a little older he would have ripped off the cover and removed it from the house all together. That’s pretty profound for him to say that. I support these women, I thank them for serving our country. I admire them for being a part of a breastfeeding support group on base. Breastfeeding in public doesn’t bother me, I do it. I’m more of a prude, but I do it. I can see the military’s point, and really, are they in the business of splitting hairs? More importantly I feel like this wouldn’t be an issue if it was any other subject then breastfeeding. Showing your boobs (even in this case), despite the fact that according to some we have sexualized the human body so much that breasts are sexual instead of natural (I really don’t even want to argue this, I’m too tired), in uniform and using them to display in public is not okay with me. I stand here as a breastfeeding, baby wearing mother, who breastfeeds in public – I still cover up in front of my son – AND as a military spouse and I say that I’m sorry, but this was just the wrong choice. Well intentioned and I don’t believe these women were purposefully trying to be disrespectful in anyway. Its a tough call and I’m glad and I don’t have to make it.  Furthermore, I think trying to explain this opinion to someone that doesn’t wear or uniform, never has worn one, or isn’t involved in the military is just really hard. 

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  1. Let me first start by saying that I breastfed my daughter, and I did so while I was active duty.

    That said, I think these women acted foolishly.

    I remember being told time and again from boot camp on that we are *not* allowed to promote anything while in uniform. Doing so gives the appearance that we speak on behalf of the military and the government, and we do not have the right. I specifically remember this because at first I thought they meant we couldn't protest or anything while we were active duty, but after realizing that they didn't care so long as I wasn't in uniform I was satisfied.

    These women knew that what they were doing was going to not only stir the boiling post of breastfeeding controversy, but also break the UCMJ.

    Showing pictures of active duty women breastfeeding is also extremely unrealistic. As a former AD sailor I can tell you that I have NEVER witnessed this. When we were at work we were at work. The kids were in daycare or with family, but there were most certainly not close enough for us to grab them and feed them. We were given specific areas where we could pump (as per law) but at no time was it even a possibility that myself or any of the other women I worked with would have the time/ability to breastfeed our child at work.

    I could see if they stopped by the daycare during lunch to breastfeed, in which case the daycare I am sure would have somewhere for them to go. They wouldn't be sitting outside on a bench in public doing it.

    Yes, I was a sailor. I remember being told not to walk and talk on my cell phone. I remember being told PDAs were not allowed. Hell, I was told to get used to carrying everything in my left hand because my right hand had to be ready to salute at all times.

    I don't see anyone pitching a fit over those things, but because (like you said) breastfeeding is such a hot button topic right now, they're throwing a fit over this.

    What they did was unnecessary, disrespectful and an obvious attempt to continue the controversy.

    I'm a mom, but I was a sailor too. When we sign those contracts we agree to live by a higher standard.

    Also, those videos you mention… You would be amazed to find out how many of the people that make those are no longer in the service. The really bad ones, the ones that reflect badly on the military are usually found and punished. They took a CO's command from him last year for participating in videos the Navy found to be lewd. They might not get everyone, but trust me they try.

  2. I am honestly so sick of breastfeeding in public even being an issue. Rathern then coming down on these women the armed services should promote that this is a huge step for these women and for doing the right thing.

    Only here in the Land of THe Free is breastfeeding in public a issue. If this was a more normal part of our society I am sure that we would have a migh higher rate of women breastfeeding in our country and our disease rate and obesity rate would be a lot lower.

    I do not hear anyone complaining about boobs in bathingsuits that usually show more then most breastfeeding moms.

    I think that if you can smoke in uniform then you should be able to do something that is healthy in a uniform. Breastfeeding is not doing anything disrespectful. These women should be commended for doing what is best for their babies.

  3. The issue the military had was never breast feeding in public and not about that. Other people in social media and media in general were making it about that. So I just wanted to make it clear that that was the case. It really sucks that the other issues in the forefront can get in and muddy up things and cause issue where there is none, or a different one all together.

  4. Thank you do much for replying!! You said so much of what I was feeling but so much more eloquently and with more authority. I find myself having a hard time explaining the military and the rules and what the uniform means to those that aren't in or aren't married to someone that is. I know you know what I'm tryin to say; and that was THE issue. Everyone wanted to make it about the breast feeding when that wasnt the main issue. I also appreciate your insight into the minds of the airmen. I was more inclined to believe they weren't purposefully being disrespectful, but you are correct – especially the girl with a majority of her boons showing. She had to know that bringing that picture out in public might cause issues. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment

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