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Whatever Suits

Aug
4
2006

We went to the beach the other day, and I was reminded of one of the first differences Americans can’t help but notice between U.S. and European beaches: naked breasts.
Spanish beaches don’t segregate out topless sunbathers. Nude sunning and swimming usually is on a different beach, but going halfway is simply the bather’s choice on any regular beach.
So yes, you will see women’s naked breasts on Spanish or many other European beaches. Let’s just accept it and move on. Europeans’ more relaxed attitude to nudity is nothing new (except maybe to one of you youths who landed here mistakenly on a “naked breasts” search).
But it does mean that one thing you won’t get over here is the brouhaha there was in the U.S. over a parents’ magazine cover showing a baby breastfeeding from a naked breast. A good portion of the magazine’s readers were appalled. My favorite bit from this article about it is the woman who shredded the cover so her 13-year-old son wouldn’t see it. (Hang in there kid, study hard, and I’ve got three words of advice for you: junior year abroad.)
Now, Europeans being more accepting of nudity doesn’t necessarily translate into higher breastfeeding rates. (In some European countries of course – think Nordic among the likely suspects – mothers do breastfeed at much higher rates than in the U.S.) There’s a lot more affecting breastfeeding than whether you’re comfortable seeing breasts, especially because there’s nothing to see with breastfeeding. But lots of naked boobs around still might mean they’re considered too sexual to be utilitarian. Work situations especially and other attitudes towards nursing are among further factors affecting breastfeeding.
Anyway, this talk of breasts is of course partly provoked by the current World Breastfeeding Week. Or, as I’d like to rename it: “buy that (current or former) nursing mom a smoothie” week. Cheers.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 1:12 AM | Permalink

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