Breast Feeding Has Been Gone From Sesame Street Too Long – 5000 Sign Petition To Bring It Back

Do you remember seeing breast feeding on Sesame Street? Let me jog your memory with a few videos.

So there you go, two fairly rare sightings of the human breast being put to its intended use.

A campaign to get breastfeeding reinstated as a Sesame Street topic has been underway, and Gothamist today pointed me to an online petition that has so far garnered over 5,500 signatures.

The pro-breast bloggers make a compelling case undermined only by relentless exclamation mark abuse:

I wish they would redo this scene for the current series! Maybe with a Celeb. It would help normalize breastfeeding to a culture that has completely sexualized breastfeeding. It look's like we need 1999 version, and a 2010 version. Well maybe we will get lucky and by 2020 it will be the norm and they will redo it then!!! These scenes are beautiful!

The point about sexualisation cuts to the core, I think. Boobs are now treated as they're inherently, 100%, all-the-time sexual. This ludicrous assumption is just one step away from the Victorians covering up piano legs, and fired up with the same dirty repression. Surely breasts are no more inherently sexual than lips or legs or whatever else I could care to point out on a man or woman's body? Surely context is everything?

Here are comments attached to the petition itself:

Back in the 70's and 80's nursing was tastefully shown on the show but now they have replaced their nursing videos with bottles. Please note… We are not asking Sesame Street to remove bottle feeding. We are asking that both ways of feeding babies be shown as normal. If we normalize breastfeeding in our community, especially with our children, we can help raise a generation of breastfeeders which will support our economy, make for healthier children and lessen the risk of breast cancer for many nursing mamas!

That's not perfect by any means. There's still one exclamation mark, and a truly spurious reference to the economy; do bottle fed kids not spend or earn?

I guess the modern day equivalent of Buffy Sainte-Marie, the singer songwriter featured in the second clip above, would be somebody like Laura Marling or PJ Harvey. The difficulty in imaging one of those on PBS today, kid clamped to nipple, only underlines the social change, and how Sesame Street, born as a progressive, ambitious show that would teach kids the values of tolerance and open mindedness, reason and humanity, now finds itself in a world where so many of the parents, guardians and other grown ups in the audience have gone a little bit Beavis, a little bit Butthead.