There’s a Place in France Where the Naked Ladies are Discouraged from Breastfeeding

Every now and then you have that paradoxical experience wherein you realize just how much you don’t know about a particular topic. An article on France in the Guardian drove that home in a big way. Consider just this paragraph:

Breastfeeding – particularly after two or three months – is regarded in France as something akin to drinking your own urine. Strange foreigners may do it, but that is no reason a nation brought up to idolise Liberté in the form of Marianne’s perfect breasts should. As a gynaecologist reminded a friend of mine the day she confirmed her pregnancy: “Your breasts are for your husband, not your baby.”

Apologies to those for whom this is old news, but I was incredulous that a First World, 21st-century nation would hold such ideas — so incredulous that the story’s April 1 pub date had me suspecting that I had been punked. (Those Brits and their, um, dry sense of humor.) I would be relieved if that were the case. Do French anthropologists believe that women evolved breasts as a tool to lure potential males, and that their ability to lactate is just a happy biological accident? For whom are, say, a cow’s udders intended, if not her calf? What if you’re a Frenchman who happens to be an ass man? Is your wife’s bottom likewise assumed to be for your pleasure, rather than an evolutionary adaptation to help her walk upright?

Anyway, I have nothing insightful to say about this. Just read the article and be lightly astonished.