The first week of August was World Breastfeeding Week, and in a way of helping to renormalize nursing in public, we are showcasing local photographer Romy McGahan Daniel's collection of breastfeeding portraits for August's First Friday!
The 60-piece collection beautifully covered the walls of La Stella Blu, displaying the varying settings of mothers breastfeeding in Missoula and surrounding areas. As a career breastfeeder, Romy works to make nursing in public mainstream again, using her talent to reveal the realness of breastfeeding – something that's natural, tender, and necessary.
"Breastfeeding can be many things: joyous, tedious, difficult, beautiful, painful, transcendent, nourishing, and rewarding. What breastfeeding should not be however, is shameful, secretive, or stigmatized.
"My goal with this photography project is to help renormalize nursing in public. These photos are meant to remind us all that babies need to be fed whenever they are hungry, privately, or in public. After all, that’s what nursing is: feeding a hungry little person. It is a basic need with a simple solution. But nursing in public has been complicated by our culture’s feelings about nudity and sexuality, especially the sexualization of women.
"I see breastfeeding in public as a feminist issue in many ways, by which I mean a human issue. Women bear the brunt of the nursing-in-public 'controversy', at the hands of a culture in which women are commonly objectified by men. Some women have even been taught to spare men the 'temptation' or discomfort of seeing them using their breasts to feed their offspring.
"A woman’s breasts are biologically designed to feed babies, so when our culture hyper-sexualizes women and their breasts to the extent that people no longer remember the primary function of breasts, something needs to change. I think the best way to remind people of what breasts are for is to see them doing what they were made to do. This show features 60 portraits intended to saturate our consciousness with the image of women nursing so that it becomes as normal a sight as an adult eating lunch in a restaurant.
"The more people – especially children – who see women breastfeeding, the more normal it will become again. And then we can all just get back to our lunches, while the woman and the baby at the next table get back to theirs." – Romy
For the remainder of August, (which is also National Breastfeeding Month!), we are happily displaying these proud, brave mamas nursing their babies!