Woman graduates from Cal State Long Beach with a Bachelor’s degree. Yay! Woman breast-feeds her daughter during graduation day and posts a photo of it. Boo, says the Internet.
This weekend Karlesha Thurman celebrated a big step in her life — earning her undergraduate degree — and decided to document that feeling with a photo of her breast-feeding her daughter Aaliyah during commencement day. When the pro-breast-feeding group Black Women Do Breastfeed re-posted the image on their Facebook page, the picture drew champions and fools to the conversation around just what Thurman was thinking. Doesn’t she know kids shouldn’t be hungry in an effort not to offend the web’s gentle sensibilities around female breasts? Said no one in their right mind, but plenty of people online — many of which have now either protected or deleted their tweets after other sites re-published their judgmental comments.
Trolls soon found the Black Women Do Breastfeed page to share their vitriol against babies getting nutrients from their mothers in public, the horror. Thurman saw the hubbub her photo inspired on social media and shared this with the group's administrator:
"Thank you, I found out I was pregnant my last year of college, had my daughter one week into my last semester, she was my motivation to keep going, so me receiving my BA was OUR moment, so glad I captured the moment and so glad you shared it with the world so thank you again"
Here’s the thing, I won’t say that Thurman’s photo did not display an odd juxtaposition: she’s literally breast-feeding in a cap and gown with fellow graduates all around her. It’s funny. But to berate her and even speculate as to whether she’s a “slut” because she’s feeding her kid is ridiculous.
Babies get hungry and moms should feed them, and if that meal method is breast milk and happens to be during commencement, well, that’s natural. In fact, it's healthier for the baby, according to U.S. Health and Human Services, so why should strangers care what Thurman is doing with her boobs? Clearly, breast activist Rihanna has more work to do.
Image via Karlesha Thurman.