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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  6:05pm

Lis, good points! Carol, your last post is sadly horrifying. And ITA with you about using the 'b' word in this article's title. This is degrading to women.

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Carol Johnson

September 14, 2013  11:33am

Continuing my previous observations, the last paragraph reminds me of a recent incident reported in our paper: a local family with lots of modern openness about sex, bodies, etc., were horrified to discover their 9-year-old son had been sexually abusing his younger siblings--for several years. Since this is not an isolated event in today's culture, I can't help but wonder if society has gone too far--provided information before children have a context for understanding sex beyond emerging physical impulses. I'd like to see some research/discussion/debate from both experts and parents on this larger topic.

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Carol Johnson

September 14, 2013  11:25am

A couple of thoughts: Is it so untenable that women breastfeeding in public toss some kind of covering over their shoulder? I wouldn't want to make others feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, neither would I want to "make a statement" on this particular new cultural "freedom," baby in tow. Is anybody else bothered by "boob" in the headline, even considering the attempt at a clever pun? I find it to be denigrating to a woman's body. Next, I have issues with this statement: "But considering the other body messages are kids are getting on TV—on morning TV—I think we'd all do wise to celebrate [breastfeeding in public with no attempt at covering]. I rather doubt young children can make much distinction between exposed breasts as sexual innuendo and breastfeeding. And if parents are going to make it a teaching moment, it makes a "big deal" of some "birds and bees" issues that the children might not be ready for. Which brings me to my last comment (which I'll put in a new comment).

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Lis Simpson

September 13, 2013  3:31pm

I totally understand the excitement of breastfeeding but all i thought when i saw it was this women is almost naked on tv. Now we all know this is innocent however im sure her husband wouldnt b thrilled at her being nearly naked at mcdonalds. I dunno ? Hungry babies warrant covers, or as a myself a female, dare i say (i may take heat for this), consider staying home more when this age and its not even an issue. #cue the protest comments to follow.

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audrey ruth

September 10, 2013  10:16pm

According to the Bible, the only time Christ Jesus was ever naked (except at birth, after which He was wrapped in swaddling clothes) was on the Cross - public nakedness was a very humiliating thing in that culture, was part of the humiliation of the Cross which He suffered on our behalf. But that is not the topic of this article - public revealing of women's breasts is. Our culture has become, and is still becoming, so progressively unGodly in so many ways, many people (even Christians) make excuses for immodesty and even twist Scripture in an attempt to support it. I am a mom who breastfed my children, and I was never immodest while doing so. This has also been true of all my friends who've breastfed their children. I am not opposed to public breastfeeding at all, as long as moms do it discreetly. I've seen women breastfeed immodestly for shock value (and even heard them brag about it), and I cannot see any virtue in that.

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audrey ruth

September 10, 2013  10:14pm

Kathi, I've agreed with most of your posts. But I cannot see that "gal" is a denigration of women, any more than "guy" is a denigration of men. I've heard the phrase "guys and gals" all my life, so to me they are synonymous.

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Kathi Vande Guchte

September 08, 2013  6:48pm

Scott, the commercial was not produced by Christianity Today and runs on regular television. I looked at the photo of the Duck Dynasty ladies and there is nothing wrong with any of their outfits (although, I'm not a fan of camo of any color). All these ladies are covered sufficiently and no clevage is showing on any of them, nor is too much leg. As a grown woman who is around the age group of the ladies on Duck Dynasty, I hate the world "gal". It's like referring to a grown man as a "boy" or "bubb". I'm sure if you ask most any female, "gal" is not a like we appreciate being called.

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Scott F

September 08, 2013  3:19pm

I can not believe you guys would print such an article. I recently received a free short term subscription to Christianity Today, and based on this article and your support of showing breast feeding mother's exposed breasts on TV commercials, I will not be renewing my subscription. Then, the photo of the duck dynasty wives is also too revealing as well. The gal on the right side of the photo needs some more clothes on for me to encourage them to be any type of role model for my 11 year old daughter. Honestly, I feel more comfortable with my 10 year kids picking up other secular magazine over yours. Now, that's a real shame that a Christian magazine would not have more discretion. Honestly, I was shocked to see it. Hopefully you will receive enough comments like these from others to seriously consider how articles and pictures like these project a questionable image of the magazine.

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Jim Ricker

September 07, 2013  10:44pm

One reason for the more intense reaction to the Cirus and breast-feeding articles is because the articles are relevant to most CT readers as most readers are US citizens. As US citizens, we can work to change the nation we live in far more than we can influence India or China. Another reason is the entertainment factor (of course) but since our opinion matters nothing to the Indians or the Chinese, our natural inclination is to not concentrate on those problems. Right or wrong, that is a big factor.

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Dan from Georgia

September 07, 2013  11:09am

CHRISTY HEMPHILL, agreed. I do agree that there is more of an "entertainment" factor in some blog posts versus others. And I will admit it that I too have gravitated toward some of the more titilating and culturally controversial posts that some of the other posts about abuses taking place around the world. A few hours ago I read the rape culture post, and frankly I don't know what to say/post there at this time, seeing that I can't believe such things take place. Honestly, I didn't even read this post on breastfeeding or the one on Miley Cyrus, but I can honestly tell you that the rape culture post had me thinking for quite some time.

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CHRISTY HEMPHILL

September 07, 2013  10:43am

Dan, the rape culture article was just posted. but point taken. I would not be surprised if some people found the nursing woman in the photo more enraging than gender-based hate crimes around the world. But honestly, it is more entertaining to argue about boobs than to read about gang rape and sex selective abortions and female circumcision and other such topics, so maybe we should not draw all these negative conclusions about Christians and social justice from a comment count.

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Nunya Biznez

September 07, 2013  9:00am

This is result of the modesty culture so ingrained in our churches. At this point, most people believe nakedness is automatically associated with sexuality. It certainly wasn't in the time of Christ. There are at least 4 times when he would have been in a relatively public area naked as an adult (baptism, Foot washing, crucifixion, and resurrection). I would be hesitant to say any of those times were illicitly sexual (or sexual at all). Furthermore, when we encourage women to cover up while breastfeeding we lose, at least in part, the understanding of El Shaddai (God - the breastfeeding) and the idea of God as almighty provider.

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Dan from Georgia

September 06, 2013  12:43pm

22 comments on boobs, yet 1 comment on the rape culture. 58 comments on Miley Cyrus, and 1 comment on the rape culture. Huh.

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Jim Ricker

September 05, 2013  8:13pm

If a guy has a lust issue with a mother feeding her child then the issue is not one of modesty but of perversion of that guy (not man). Of course most people don't want to see a nursing child anymore than if my kids nursed from my chest (if that was the order of things). It is common decency to cover up but that doesn't mean hide either. Why is this concept foreign to people and why does there seem to be a driving need to take asinine and indefensible pole positions? Is it just the sinful self that drives some women to WANT to whip out their breasts to shock someone else knowingly? Is it just the sinful self to demand a mother and child go hide somewhere and use the 'lust issue' as a foil or, are people so messed up that they actually think that a nursing mother is something to naturally lust after?

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Kathi Vande Guchte

September 05, 2013  6:30am

Amy, no one is suggesting a mother go nurse her baby in the bathroom stall. When a baby needs to eat, by all means, nurse your baby, but cover your breast when you do so. No one wants to see your breast and no one wants a baby to be hungry. Show some grace yourself and cover your breast when nursing in public. Why is this difficult to understand?

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Amy Bost Henegar

September 05, 2013  5:33am

Great article as usual Caryn. The thing that is lacking from the breast-feeding in public debate is a little pragmatic understanding of how breastfeeding a baby works. I'm not talking about breastfeeding a toddler - it is a different dynamic when you're dealing with a child who has some language skills. But when a baby needs to eat, he is going to scream his head off until he gets fed. So imagine this woman sitting in the restaurant. Her baby is hungry and either she is going to nurse the baby and order her food with a little peace and quiet, or she is going to take her baby and her purse and her diaperbag and her other child and go sit on a toilet seat and nurse the baby and then order her lunch. Is she obligated to do that? It's all well and good to say that she "should" cover up, but some babies hate having things over their faces and will just throw off the blanket or stop nursing and start crying until their face is clear. Can we just give each other a little grace?

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Kathi Vande Guchte

September 04, 2013  8:28pm

Kristy, again you are comparing apples and oranges: cultures and environments that are very different. Why not begin with breastfeeding in public, which is perfectly acceptable, but with something covering the breast? No one is ordering any nursing mom to the bathroom stall, and no one is yelling "shame!" either, but nursing with a light cover is very acceptable. When you live in the world with other people everyone needs to compromise a little. I'm a well-endowed woman - I developed very young, so I most certainly know what it is for men and even women to stare at my chest. Some things I cannot do anything about, but other things I can. As a woman I dress in a professional and modest manner - for myself, but also for others around me. Being a Christian in the Body means considering other's struggles first over our own preferences/comfort. For some it is wine, others food, and others it may be nursing mothers. Cover up the girls, ladies.

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audrey ruth

September 04, 2013  8:17pm

ITA with Billy Ford and admire his courage. I am totally, completely, forever in favor of breastfeeding: God created breast milk for our babies; they are not little calves! I breastfed my babies and was thrilled to be able to provide them that nutrition that is just right for them. I am not opposed to public breastfeeding at all, as long as moms do it discreetly. I've seen women breastfeed immodestly for shock value (and even heard them brag about it), and I cannot see any virture in that.

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CHRISTY HEMPHILL

September 04, 2013  7:37pm

Don't you men who are worried about publicly breastfeeding women being a stumbling block realize that more public breastfeeding is the answer for inoculating the next generation of boys against such weakness. Boys who grow up seeing women breastfeed do not think of breastfeeding breasts as lust-worthy. I live in semi-rural Mexico. Women are not discreet at all about breastfeeding, even in the most fundie circles. To the men here, the idea that an exposed breast nursing a baby is a turn-on is laughable. If we really are concerned with helping young men not lust over breasts, we should celebrate and promote their de-objectivication, as this article does.

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Billy Ford

September 04, 2013  12:19pm

Okay, here's a Christian man's perspective. I don't mind public breastfeeding, but I do think it should be done discreetly. Yes, there is a potential lust issue (and to say that it's just a problem for men and adolescent boys to deal with would not be acting in Christian love). But there is another issue here as well. We could certainly go in the direction as a society of making exposed breasts commonplace. Over time, the lust issue would be diminished. However, I think that God made female breasts to be more than just udders. They are part of the form of a woman that men find beautiful. That makes them special and valuable in an additional way to supplying milk. The Bible teaches that they are meant to be enjoyed within marriage (Proverbs 5:18-20). Covering them up does not imply that they are somehow "dirty", but rather extremely precious and valuable, not meant for just anyone in the streets to gawk at.

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B J

September 04, 2013  11:23am

You see a lot more than that advertisement shows of that woman's breast in the flood of advertising that parades across the screen every day. And, just about every day I see women in low cut tops, augmented breasts emphasized or hanging out, but I have yet to see a woman in public nursing her child who is not discreet. Maybe you have, but I would suggest that most women who nurse can do it without it being offensive. To me, there is nothing more beautiful and brave than a nursing mom in these times. I also think that those who yell and scream about it, especially women who do so, are just MAD that some women nurse at all. Feminism declares that such an act that only women can do (naturally at least) be taken indoors, hid behind curtains or done of all places in the restroom. Bravo to the writer of this article.

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William Halverson

September 04, 2013  6:10am

First, interesting title for this article, and second, one has to wonder how many times the little boy in the commercial got to see the woman's breast. The outtakes for this commercial would be interesting to see. John 16:13 However,when He,the Spirit of truth,has come,He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority,but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Psalm 51:11 Do not put me away from before you, or take your holy spirit from me. 2Ch 16:9 For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro in all the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.

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elise r

September 03, 2013  10:22pm

THANK YOU! You just wrote absolutely everything I have thought and felt during this incredible, exhausting, exhilarating journey of breastfeeding my daughter. And to the incredibly insensitive individuals who compare breastfeeding to other bodily functions like urinating or picking one's nose...don't you think that's a bit harsh and extreme? I get that not everyone wants to see it (nor do I necessarily want it to be seen!), but come on. At the end of the day, it's a sweet, innocent baby or toddler eating the healthiest, most nutritious meal he or she could possibly eat. In churches, Sunday schools, and Bible studies, where we should be *welcoming* mothers and babies, we end up making them feel ostracized because we are so offended at the method by which they feed their children. I've never felt more like a pariah than as a nursing mom around other Christians. Anyway, thank you, Caryn. Here endeth my rant. :)

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Sarah Fenton

September 03, 2013  9:14pm

Kathi Vande Guchte: I never said that breast were not sexual, rather I said that breasts are not solely sexual. They have more than one purpose. The act of breastfeeding a child is not sexual. Breasts are secondary sex characteristics, like mouths or hands. They have been hyper-sexualized by our society. One very simple thing we can do to begin to turn the tide and free women from the objectification of their bodies is to embrace the fact that breasts are more than just fun bags for men, they are the means by which we feed our young. Breastfeeding is noble and beautiful, and instead of attempting to shame mothers into hiding in bathrooms, society should encourage them to feed whenever, wherever their babies need to eat. That is why I am delighted to see the Luvs commercial, it is evidence that the tide is beginning to turn.

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Kathi Vande Guchte

September 03, 2013  7:46pm

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Marie Gregg

September 03, 2013  3:42pm

I'm so tired of all the talk about breastfeeding. Is it natural? Yes. Should women be discreet about it? Yes. Boobs feed babies. Boobs ARE part of a woman's sexual make-up. So feed your kid but do so with dignity. Can we please move on now?

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Samantha Blythe

September 03, 2013  2:14pm

All you have to do is search for historic photos of breastfeeding and look at the history of art (including the art of "Christendom") to see that as society has gotten more sexually explicit, it has gotten more offended by breastfeeding. There are photos of women in full-on 1850s garb with their entire breast exposed in professional photographs. There are photos in the famous dust bowl series of migrant women breastfeeding. There are numerous paintings of breastfeeding women, including a lot of Mary and Jesus breastfeeding paintings. Today, when 10 foot come-hither Victoria's Secret ads in malls are normal, seeing a woman nursing a baby is shocking and immodest. It would go a long way towards de-objectifying women as sexual objects if all children, but especially boys, saw unhidden breastfeeding from a very young age. Then both girls and boys and women and men would learn that a woman's body does not exist simply so men can admire it and/or use it for their sexual pleasure.

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Dane Gressett

September 03, 2013  11:57am

While I agree with the author's general thesis, I can't agree with some comments here. Sarah wrote: "Those who say that women should cover up while breastfeeding are complete hypocrites if they don't also put a bag over their head while they are eating or drinking." This kind of polarization is uncalled for and unhelpful. This is not a good comparison. Some uses of the body are more intimate than others, even if also non-sexual. There are ways that I touch my wife in a loving caress that I do NOT do in public. And I am not talking about foreplay. I'm just talking about a level of intimacy that would lose its purity if done publicly. Covering up is not just censorship! It is being considerate of others. Come on, hypocritical for not covering up my head when I eat???? LOL.

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K Robertson

September 03, 2013  11:46am

James, breastfeeding isn't sexual immorality, nor is it explicit. Objectifying women and sexualizing our bodies is. It's not a justification, it's a distinction.

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J Lirette

September 03, 2013  11:19am

I enjoyed this post. Many things we see on TV can be used to help our children gain a fuller knowledge of the truth. As long as we are plugged in and careful of what our children are exposed to, we can teach the Gospel at all times. Greg, I really doubt Paul wrote Ephesians as a guideline for how to write off other Christians. Where's the verse that says "Use this as a test, and if someone ELSE doesn't pass it, throw it in their face?" Where do people get the idea that the Bible means to turn us in to legalistic Pharisees who ignore one another except to pass judgment? The heart of the verses you posted was to let your speech be encouraging and pure. For example, I would encourage you to be kind and constructive instead of dismissive. To believe the Bible is to know that truth without love is just noise. I sincerely hope you didn't write that just to feel superior to Caryn, but I honestly can't imagine why you would vaguely rebuke her and then refuse to respond to her message.

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Sarah Fenton

September 03, 2013  11:17am

I love your perspective, Caryn, and I completely agree with you. Our bodies are meant for more than sex, and I'm encouraged by the commercial showing a mother using her body to nourish her child.. that incredible and wonderful, since most of the time on T.V., women's bodies are shown as sex objects or toys for the enjoyment of others. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, not in any way sexual. If breastfeeding in public is sexual, so is eating.. after all, we use our mouths in sexual ways, but that is not their primary purpose. We speak, eat, smile with our mouths, breasts are meant for more than just pleasure. Those who say that women should cover up while breastfeeding are complete hypocrites if they don't also put a bag over their head while they are eating or drinking.. I don't want to be reminded of what they do with their mouths in the privacy of their bedrooms.

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