It’s just your average mom story: Woman has baby, woman makes it to Sports Illustrated finals of model casting call, woman nurses baby on the runway, half the internet cheers, half the internet freaks out because, OMG, breasts. Never mind that this is a Sports Illustrated swimsuit contest (OMG, breasts). Turns out — shocker — a lot of men (and plenty of women) prefer breasts as accessories, not center stage doing their job.
Mara Martin (and her 5-month-old baby girl) made big waves when Martin was chosen as one of 16 finalists in the Sports Illustrated Miami open call model search. Finalists got the opportunity to strut the catwalk, and Martin decided to breastfeed her infant as she walked.
Here’s Martin and her crazy-cute daughter on Instagram.
And here’s the video that has half of social media yelling, “You go, girl!” and the other half screaming, “WTF?”
You can probably guess at the comments, but here’s a sampling from the deeply affronted:
“Cant wait to see giving birth on the runway!”
“I’m so confused. I thought this runway show was to showcase the swimwear, yet all I can see is a baby on a boob. I can’t even see how the swimsuit fits so what was the point exactly? To exploit a mother and child breastfeeding to gain attention.”
Fortunately, there were plenty of people happy to defend Martin’s choice:
“so SI actually released the story of how this happened and you sir are wrong. Her baby was comfort nursing (to sleep) backstage and the editor asked her personally if she would mind walking next. You’ve obviously never nursed a baby to sleep and know how tedious it can be to unlatch a sleeping and content baby.”
“it’s almost never fair to generalize, and at the very least this women took a institution like the runway where womens bodies exist only as an object and showcased one of its actual powerful uses. That’s what I see.”
That’s exactly what we see too. The outrage would almost be funny given the paradoxical nature (OMG, boobies in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit contest) if it weren’t so damn depressing. But Martin’s words in her follow-up Instagram post about normalizing breastfeeding have us cheering.
Our favorite part is when Martin argues that there are more deserving headlines from this particular model search: “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!!!!”
Mara Martin, we’re a fan for sure. Sounds like Sports Illustrated chose a terrific lineup of women in its Miami contest — and focused on strong and sexy.