Social Issues

Model Breastfeeds Her Baby While On The Ramp; Causes A Debate!

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Mara Martin, an American swimsuit model, walked down the ramp for Sports Illustrated swimsuit show with her daughter in tow, breastfeeding her as she worked. The picture has garnered quite a bit of attention, with many lauding the young mother for balancing motherhood and work. Needless to say, the picture broke the internet with the debate around breastfeeding in public getting stirred again.

Wow! WHAT A NIGHT! Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit. Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine. I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see. One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country (sorry i don’t know your IG handle 🤦🏽‍♀️), one woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!! Just thinking about all that was represented there… I desperately need to give the most thanks to @mj_day for this. She supported me in what I did last night. Without her support this wouldn’t even be discussed!!!! She and the entire Sports Illustrated family are the most amazing and incredible team to have worked with. THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!! Lastly, to every single woman that rocked that runway with me. Be proud. I know I am of you! You all have inspired me in ways unimaginable. I love you all!!! #siswimsearch

A post shared by Mara Martin (@_maramartin_) on

Mara took to social media to express her happiness. “Thank you for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!” However, there have been some who found the whole “act” uncomfortable.

Incidentally, something similar was stirred up in India. In March this year, a controversy broke out when Mathrubhumi Grihalakshmi, a Kerala-based Malayalam magazine, featured a woman breastfeeding a child on its cover. The idea was to campaign for open breastfeeding, a move that aims to remove the stigma about mothers breastfeeding their child in public, something that often leads to them being shamed or is considered vulgar.

But the Kerala High Court’s take on this issue has led to many lauding the move. The first bench that has Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu stated that the cover does not feature anything objectionable, and even brought in the works of renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma who painted topless women which were not considered obscene per se.

“We do not see, despite our best efforts, obscenity in the picture, nor do we find anything objectionable in the caption, for men. We looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. As the beauty lie in the beholder’s eye, so does obscenity perhaps,” they said.

Open breastfeeding has long been frowned upon by a significant number of people. The World Health Organisation has also recommended that breastfeeding babies for the first six months of their life but many mothers aren’t able to do so fearing a backlash in public. In fact, there have been cases when a woman was shamed and cyberbullied when her husband had put out a picture of her breastfeeding their child in public in a bid to bust all those misconceptions about doing so in public.


Read: ‘Nothing Obscene About It’: Kerala HC About The Breastfeeding Cover

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