Breastfeeding is a natural way of feeding a baby. It is the way it has been done since the beginning of time. It is not uncommon in Zambia for several people eating together to urge a nursing mother to breastfeed her baby when it starts crying. The reasoning is that it is wrong for others to be eating while the baby is not -it should also have its meal along with others.
You can imagine my surprise when I moved to the west and learnt that breastfeeding is considered “gross”, “private”, etc when done in the company of others. Why? My naive conclusion is that people automatically connect that part of a woman with one’s sexuality. Am I correct?
Another thing that shocked me was how some Americans seem to view nudity. In Zambia, and as I have come to learn, in Europe as well, one is free to be naked among people of the same sex but my American friends would not as much as change even their blouses in others’ presence. I found this interesting as Americans seem to be ‘liberal’, but apparently not in this area.
A funny story – a colleague used to live in the US and his Austrian friend visited him. They went for a sauna in the apartment’s basement but my colleague left earlier as the Austrian wanted to be in the sauna longer. A young boy came into the sauna, looked at the Austrian and ran straight out. A short while later some policemen came in and wanted to arrest him on indecent exposure charges. The Austrian tried explaining that one can not be in a sauna while dressed but the policemen handcuffed him. Fortunately, my colleague happened to be outside so he was shocked to see his friend in handcuffs. He also explained to the policemen that being naked in the sauna was a normal thing in Austria. The friend was let off with a serious warning. The Austrian never stepped foot in that sauna again, with or without clothes.