By now you’ve probably seen the clips of Alyssa Milano’s recent interview on The Wendy Williams show. You probably also have an opinion about what took place. I too have an opinion as a mother of three who has so far spent five years breastfeeding, but it might not be the opinion you expect.
Since the interview went viral on the magnificent internet via all of the various social media channels, I’ve read an incredible amount of nasty backlash. The story itself is being framed in such a way as Alyssa being “shamed” and ultimately laying a bare breasted smack down on Wendy. They’ve taken these women and pitted them against each other in a predictable tabloid UFC’esq fashion. Can anyone say cat fight!
Do you want to know my opinion? If you’ve made it this far I will assume you do and continue.
Every one needs to cut Wendy Williams some slack.
GASP! But, but, but she said she “doesn’t want to see that” in regards to a breastfeeding mother! How dare I! How dare she!
What I see when viewing this interview is two women having an absolutely fantastic and necessary conversation in a public forum about something that has been hotly debated in recent modern years. I view this conversation as highly productive and not to be taken so flippantly as to garner Williams all of the hate which is now being thrown her way.
Whether you like it or not, Wendy speaks her truth and opens herself up to a total shit storm of criticism when she says breast are “funbags” that are mainly sexual in nature. However the important part that is glossed over, in my opinion, is that she clearly states that she does not know why she feels this way. In our highly patriarchal, sexist, sensational society, she feels this way but does. not. know. why. This single statement is hugely important in understanding that she is not shaming or attacking Alyssa personally when she says she would feed her baby in the car and the reality is that a whole lot of people agree with her. Does that make it right? Absolutely not.
What Wendy has done in speaking her truth is she’s allowed Alyssa to so gracefully retort her every dispute. Alyssa does not call Wendy names or ask about her sex change operation, she eloquently responds with her own truth and that of millions of other nursing mothers. Positively, the segment itself appears balanced with the opinions of both women and is not editorially skewed to one or the other, which it very easily could have been given that this is indeed Ms. William’s show.
The comments I have seen on social media from every day people have attacked Wendy’s “plastic boobs,” have insinuated that she was born a man, and consist mainly of those who simply preferred to call her an “idiot.” Opinions do not have to be right to have them and no matter which side of the coin you fall on, the beauty is that the conversation took place publicly for us to present our own opinions on the topic, that fact, in my opinion should be celebrated.
At the same time Wendy has caused this uproar, Equinox released their latest marketing attempt at gaining new gym goers.
Now this image get’s my panties in an uproar.
Still with me? I will tell you why.
Let’s take a beautiful model who has never bore a child. Let’s put her in a gown, cover her in diamonds and attach twin babies to her perfect unmarked breasts. Place; Oh a busy fancy restaurant will do! Tagline; “Commit To Something.” Does that make you want to keep your New Year’s resolution of going to the gym more?
Oh how progressive to show breastfeeding in public… Nope, No way, I don’t think so!
This does NOT normalize breastfeeding and if you think this is what breastfeeding, public or otherwise looks like, than you are sadly mistaken and are unfortunately being set up to fail by the man who conceived this advertisement.
Do we not yet understand that the issue people have with the act of breastfeeding in public is the fact that some people like Wendy Williams feel that breasts are strictly sexual, and that they do not want to see a nursing baby because it assaults their personal views of what “funbags” are good for? When a baby nurses in public that erotic ideal we have fostered in this commercial culture cracks a little. Equinox understands that and has managed to find a way to sexualize and pervert the purely natural and beautiful act of breastfeeding. This is what an attack looks like, it’s cunning.
Yet the problem runs deeper. So, so, so, so, so, many women in our vain Western society want and try to breastfeed. For some like myself it just works. Others chose not to from the start. Yet many more start and stop prematurely. Does low supply, work demands, reoccurring mastitis, tongue tie, and/or prematurity sound like a failure to commit to you?
Some people want to view this ad as being supportive to breastfeeding when it is so clearly not. This image does not depict even the slightest speck of the reality of nursing one baby let alone two. If you want real then show bags under her eyes from being up all day and night with two newborn babies. Diamonds? no diamonds. No gown. Sweatpants and a milk stained tee shirt will do. Make-up, if any, lipgloss and mascara. Hair down or in a messy bun, possibly with knots. Breasts, stretched marked from growing six sizes in six months. But most importantly a look of pure, unadulterated love in the eyes and not this stone cold icy veneer so defiant and detached from the babies she is pretending to nourish.
If you want to be mad at something, be mad at this Equinox bullshit. It’s this kind of imagery that has saturated our marketplace, trying to convince us of it’s good intentions while shitting all over us. In turn leaving women like Wendy Williams with strong opinions that they themselves do not really understand. But then again these are after all just my opinions.