By ELIZABETH GELBAUGH
On Sept. 22, Cindy Boren’s article in The Washington Post labeled a woman as an inspiration for pumping breast milk while running a half marathon.
Anna Young completed the Revel Big Cottonwood half marathon in Salt Lake City on Sept. 9, her first race since giving birth to her daughter five months prior.
“I thought it would be something the breastfeeding community would appreciate, but I had no idea I would get such a strong reaction. It’s been mostly positive and I’m grateful for that,” Young said in her e-mail to The Washington Post.
Breastfeeding, whether publicly or privately, has recently caused a social media frenzy, with the hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding popping up on Instagram and Twitter. Women have shared empowering photos of breastfeeding and created a supportive community for breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
However, not everyone is expressing overwhelming support for this movement.
Six days later, Kristine Guerra wrote an article for The Washington Post about a man who punched his wife in the mouth after a male doctor witnessed her breastfeeding her newborn in the hospital.
According to a police report, Rafael Orozco became jealous and enraged when his wife exposed herself to feed her child, causing him to punch her and grab her neck. He even slapped the infant on the head before he was confronted by hospital staff.
The Washington Post has done an excellent job presenting both viewpoints of this issue while still remaining neutral in its reporting. However, when does neutrality for the sake of journalism wind up preventing change?
American women have many freedoms and privileges that women in other societies around the world couldn’t dream to have themselves, yet we are still encouraged to be embarrassed of our bodies and their life-giving functions.
With the outward support of respected mainstream news media, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, society can rid itself of this idea of openly and confidently breastfeeding as taboo. News media are meant to be the voices of the people and progress is unlikely without their involvement.