It’s 2016, and women are still working to normalize breastfeeding in our society, in spite of the fact that for thousands of years, women have been keeping their children alive and healthy through the natural bodily function.
Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel recently shared a photo of her breastfeeding her baby, commenting on the stigma against the, again, natural practice. “Many women today are shamed for breastfeeding in public, or even kicked out of public places for feeding their children. I have been made to feel the need to cover up and somewhat shy to feed my baby in public places but strangely feel nothing for the topless editorials I’ve done in the name of art..?” she wrote.
Jaime King is another celebrity who has used social media as a way to show that breastfeeding is nothing to be ashamed about. She captioned an Instagram photo of herself and her then-8-month-old child “breastfeeding should not be taboo” before adding that “bottle feeding should not be judged – it’s ALL fun for the whole family:)” A few years ago, Gisele Bündchen famously shared a glamorous shot of her getting her hair and makeup done while feeding her baby, showing that even when you don’t live a normal life, you can still do normal things like use your body to nourish your child.
As long as there are babies being born, women are going to breastfeed, defend their right to do so, and remind us all that the functional use of a woman’s breasts should not be looked on as something dirty or shameful. Photo editing app PicsArt is working to help show the beauty of breastfeeding with its #TreeofLife edits, which transform “brelfies” — pictures of women nursing their children — into straight-up gorgeous pieces of art.
“In a campaign to #normalizebreastfeeding, mamas all over the world are sharing #brelfies, and supporting each other through social media. What we love even more is how these women are editing photos not just for themselves, but as gifts for each other,” PicsArt wrote in a blog on its website.
Model Natalia Vodianova also got in on the trending hashtag, adding an edit of a brelfie she took in June 2014.
That same year, Facebook updated its community guidelines to allow mothers to post pictures of breastfeeding. In April 2015, Instagram finally caved in after much criticism and clarified its own standards of propriety, giving breastfeeding mothers and women showing their postmastectomy scars the OK to do so on the social media platform.
There is still a ways to go when it comes to normalizing breastfeeding, but hopefully social media campaigns like this can tip the balance so women aren’t afraid to let their bodies do what Mother Nature intended.