Well said, Stephanie!
I just have to share this lovely defense of What Breasts are For by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
(By way of introduction, Stephanie is perhaps better known as the Yarn Harlot, a “knitting rock star” whose blog of the same title was the top-ranked blog in Canada in 2008. It is probably safe to say that she is the only knitting humorist to have made the New York Times best seller list, with her most recent title, Free-Range Knitter. She has also been, in her pre-celebrity days, a lactation consultant and doula.)
Last week some of the Harlot’s readers took issue with her story of a less than successful sweater project, because she used the terms “nipple” and “breast” in her description of the problems involved in the sweater’s fit.
Her defense (from a five-item list on “Really Random Friday“):
5. I also can’t believe that I got mail about saying nipple and breasts in my blog post yesterday. I’ve emailed back and forth with the people who sent mail, and everything is cool. I’ll tell you what I told them. Nipple is not a dirty word. They are present on (just about) every person on earth, and in mammals (and we are mammals) they serve a pretty good function. (Let me take that back by 50%. I’m not sure of the purpose they serve on men. I think nature can’t figure out how to get them off.) Nipple is no different a word than elbow. It cannot corrupt youth, get them pregnant or make them think about sex so much that they consider doing it. (Hint: Youth is already thinking about sex that much, even if you don’t say nipple.) Furthermore (and you can tell I really mean it when I start whipping out the furthermores) nipples, at least on women, are there for the purposes of nursing our young, and frankly, I think that maybe if we didn’t have them all caught up in the crazy sex thing to the point that we can’t even talk about them at all without feeling dirty or worried, then maybe women wouldn’t be so totally screwed about what to do with them when a baby comes along. From the perspective of someone who counseled breastfeeding women for years and years, I can tell you I really, really, really think it would have helped if the word nipple wasn’t coming up for the first time when we were trying to attach 7 pounds of starving humanity to it.
Nipple Nipple Nipple Breast.
(And yeah, I know what sort of spam that’s going to get me. I’ll live with it.)
I have a feeling she has reached more people with that message than we will with this one.
Kimberly Lee is a neonatologist and member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
Posts on this blog reflect the opinions of individual ABM members, not the organization as a whole..