Admit it, you've enjoyed some of the images inspired by Kim Kardashian's photo spread in Paper magazine: KK as a centaur, Homer Simpson's lips and numerous other individuals magically balancing objects on their rears while coffee, milk or some other liquid shoots over their heads into a perfectly-perched receptacle. People have had a lot of fun getting inspired by KK posing in a gown that looks suspiciously like a bedazzled trash bag.
Not everybody loved it or cracked a smile. Some people have despaired of the condition of a society where a woman posing naked is newsworthy. Others took issue with the Photoshopped versions of the female body the spread portrayed, the over-sexualization and objectification of the female body and the message underlying such images that girls and women are to be valued based on their sex appeal. Still others were upset over the fact that Kim Kardashian is getting any attention at all. Karen Manglacotti breaks it down well in her blog post "On Breaking The Internet -- The Real Reason Naked Kim Kardashian Is Making People Freak Out."
But many, many, many people loved it and lauded the images as bold, fun and sexy as hell.
Then, Alyssa Milano took to Twitter to voice a question thousands of breastfeeding moms had asked as well:
Which could be understood as, "What the hell, Internet? Last week you freaked out that I was showing too much while feeding my baby, and now you're OK with KK oiling up and getting naked for the camera?"
She raises a good point.
Breastfeeding moms already know that breastfeeding photos seem to break the Internet.
There are those who think breastfeeding photos and Kim's shinny derrière are equally unsettling and inappropriate. There are also those who think women should be covered head to toe to leave the house and would pass out burkas to every woman. These reactions are all part of the ongoing conversation about what women can show of their bodies and why. From bikini selfies to breastfeeding selfies, from Kim Kardashian on the cover of Paper to Olivia Wilde breastfeeding in Glamour , people love to freak out over what women do with their bodies, how they dress them, how they share them, how many children they do or don't have with them, how they enjoy them, who they share them with -- you name it.
There are those who are totally fine with breastfeeding photos, but take issue with sexualized objectifying images of naked women, and those who cheer for the sexy nudie shots, but call breastfeeding images disgusting, because having a sexual fantasy about a woman's body is all fine and good, but adding a baby to the picture seriously crosses a line. [Insert joke here about how men act like babies when it comes to women's breasts.]
It's a serious conversation and an ongoing one. Amidst all the pressure to breastfeed comes the message that women should be invisible as they care for their children, particularly if they are using their breasts to feed their babies. Contrast that with the message that all things sexy are more than visible -- displayed on a pedestal, larger than life posters and celebrated with champagne. There's also some stupidity that comes along with it, like the comparisons of breastfeeding to taking a dump, peeing or having sex/masturbating, which is shocking only because it seems there are adults that confuse poop, urine and sexual fluids with food. We must hope they aren't responsible for cooking anyone's meals. Not sure on this point yourself? See how breastfeeding differs from waste elimination and sex here.
But there's some fun in it all too, and breastfeeding moms know there can be a lot to laugh about when it comes to breastfeeding, society and the messages we get about our bodies. Because if we don't laugh, we're going to cry. One photographer and mom on twitter, Jamie Wittwer, had her own fun with the juxtaposition of how society reacts to breastfeeding or breastmilk pumping and an obviously digitally-altered big booty balancing a champagne glass. Clad in her own trash bag-inspired, fitted black outfit (which she rocks just as much as KK rocks hers), she's hooked up to a breast pump while her breast milk magically defies gravity and shoots over her head to fill the bottle strategically perched on her bum.
Jamie manages to look sexy, nurturing and fun. Like most moms I know, Jamie can rock a black pleather sexy outfit, a breast pump and playfulness. The beautiful and fun mom invites more moms to join her and Kim in breaking the Internet (whatever that means) by posting their breastfeeding/breastmilk pumping photos.
Let's do it. We can break the Internet by deciding for ourselves what we share of our lives and bodies without slut-shaming each other, by ditching the jealous and catty women stereotype and supporting each other in our freedom of expression -- whether we choose to pop champagne, pour coffee, squirt dish soup or juggle files. I'm hoping someone will grab a can of formula and do another spinoff of KK's champagne photo, balancing the can on their rump, giving it a bump, and shooting formula over their head into a baby bottle. Because all women rock, whatever it is they're balancing every day.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Kim Kardashian's butt was Photoshopped to look like Bart Simpson's lips, not Homer's.