Beloved children's acid trip Sesame Street used to feature regular segments about breastfeeding. In the last few decades, though, those interstitials have been replaced by more chaste, less boob-intensive segments about bottle feeding. Now, a small but growing number of parents are calling for the return of the breast to the popular program.
To paraphrase the words of one pro-breastfeeding blogger, the act of public breastfeeding has become completely sexualized, partially because children aren't normally exposed to images of women doing non-sexual things with their bodies. And although breastfeeding isn't always possible for all moms, study after study has shown that it's healthy for both mother and infant, that it promotes bonding between the two, and that it's part of what our bodies are naturally inclined to do. It's healthy, it's natural, and there's nothing wrong with it. So why the Sesame Street breastfeeding blackout?
Maybe the show's shying away from the inevitable controversy that showing a breast to The Children would cause; plenty of people are offended by the sight of public breastfeeding. But, to be frank, people disgusted by public breastfeeding—NASCAR's Kasey Kahne, for example— should not be designing educational children's programming.
So far, almost 6,000 people have signed the online petition to bring back the breast. The language of the petition is careful to state that its aim isn't to remove images of bottle feeding from Big Bird's neighborhood, just that breastfeeding should be shown in addition to images of babies hitting the bottle.
For the sake of the next generation of aspiring adults, I hope the creators of Sesame Street consider including breastfeeding in future episodes. Kids of this generation should be exposed to breasts that aren't attached to Girls Going Wild or housemates of Hugh Hefner. And you can't spell "Sesame Street" without "teat," right?