Breastfeeding vlogger Tasha Maile has divided public opinion this week. The mother of two sons (aged 1 and 3) has a YouTube channel, Spiritual Tasha Mama, where she posts videos about overcoming insomnia, a vegan lifestyle, freebirthing and breastfeeding. In her case, tandem breastfeeding — she regularly films herself breastfeeding both children at the same time.
Some critics of Maile have labeled her breastfeeding videos “incestuous,” “pornographic” and “creepy.” YouTube has also removed her right to make money from advertising on those videos. And then there are the comments from dozens of men who are, um, enjoying her videos a little too much.
But is it Maile’s fault if men get off on watching a mother breastfeed her children? Yes, she does have very large (surgically-enhanced) breasts. But when it comes to nursing, they’re just breasts — the location of the mammary glands responsible for the production of milk. Big, small, fake, real — the people whose opinions really matter don’t give a shit what size or shape they are. They just want to be fed.
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After YouTube removed Maile’s monetary eligibility, she posted a no-holds-barred video with her response. Maile revealed that she chooses for the negative comments not to affect her, adding, “anything anybody says about me says nothing about me. Nobody knows me.”
The vlogger, who is pregnant again with a baby girl, also thanked those who had left positive comments for their support, including thousands of women who have applauded her for inspiring them.
Here’s a quick tip for anyone who doesn’t approve of Maile’s videos: Don’t watch them. Nobody is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to look at her breastfeeding her sons. And if you watch the clips and see something pornographic in them, you’re the one with the problem. She can’t help being an attractive woman with large breasts.
There’s no doubt that as a society, we are confronted with sexualised images of women everywhere we look, which goes some way to explaining why we’re uncomfortable with women who look like sexual beings but act like mothers. But it’s time to get over that. Breastfeeding is a normal part of being a mother, and nobody but the mom herself has the right to make the decision about how, when or for how long she nurses her kids. Maile’s attempts to normalize breastfeeding and encourage body positivity should be celebrated, not denigrated.