Swimsuit Model Breastfeeds On Catwalk: Is This Normalising Breastfeeding?

Photography: Instagram @_maramartin_

Stunning Mara Martin modelled a swimsuit on the catwalk for Sports Illustrated this week, all while breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter Aria. Some say it’s overkill and not necessary, while others are applauding the decision to actively breastfeed while modelling.

Mara Martin was one of 16 finalists chosen to model swimwear during the annual Miami Swim Week show, which specifically featured women of “all shapes and sizes” – that is, “plus-sized women, women with stretch marks, tattoos and cellulite and a Paralympian with a prosthetic limb,” according to Inside Edition. 

Mara said on her Instagram page,

“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!”

What are your thoughts?

Is this all just part and parcel of the media machine, hoping (and succeeding) to get more media fanfare – which it really has? Is this an effort to further glamorize the act of a woman breastfeeding, taking it up and away from the realities daily life and into the world of bright lights, styled hair, bikinis and making breastfeeding more “attractive” and perhaps putting more pressure on mothers to look and be this way while breastfeeding? Even sexualising it – this is a swimwear brand being represented here, typically in the realm of “sexy” and “male gaze worthy”. Is this normalising breastfeeding, or glamorizing it?

But is that a bad thing, really? If it helps to wake people up, to show the world at large that women in all kinds of careers can and do breastfeed their babies – this is a good thing, right? Glamorizing it just might encourage more mamas to persevere with breastfeeding when they otherwise might not. Wouldn’t it be great if these kinds of acts, that put breastfeeding in the spotlight, actually help mothers out there in their homes and workplaces to be better supported in breastfeeding, to get better access to pumping rooms at work, or reduce the number of people negatively commenting about them breastfeeding at the local cafe, etc.

Here’s hoping!

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