Popular Culture

Amazing Viral Photo Shows Military Mothers Breastfeeding At Fort Bliss



The “normalize breastfeeding” movement just got major support from the U.S. Military, and it’s making us very happy. The photo above, taken by photographer Tara Ruby (Tara Ruby Photography) is making its viral rounds on the Internet today, for an amazing reason: as you can see, it shows military mothers breastfeeding their children while on base at Fort Bliss, and it shows a remarkable sensitivity to women in the military who are breastfeeding mothers.

It also shows support for the Normalize Breastfeeding movement, a social issue that works to change the perception of breastfeeding in public from being perceived as “gross” or otherwise inappropriate, to the way it should be perceived: as wholly natural, life-giving, and beautiful.

Sadly, Facebook itself took down the picture, which shows no nudity, only to have Tara Ruby re-post the photo (with better success) on September 11th. It’s still up and public on her page, and the comments in support of the photo have been overwhelming. The photo, as of the time published, has been shared over 8,500 times, and has garnered well over 11,000 likes.

Comments posted to the original photo have revealed that other posters who shared the image had their posts removed as well. The sharing and liking of this image is therefore a hugely powerful action, as it is an action in support of normalizing breastfeeding and working to combat the perception of it as something inappropriate.

Clearly, the U.S. military, at least at Fort Bliss, has a very different perception of it. Fort Bliss now has a special room specifically for breastfeeding mothers to use, making the entire environment more conducive to raising and properly caring for a child. It makes the environment more inclusive for women, and shows support for the needs of women who have children, and the fact that those children need to be fed.

Tara Ruby actually helped decorate the breastfeeding room, and stayed to take photos of the military mothers in celebration of the event. On her Facebook page accompanying the original photo, Tara Ruby wrote this caption:

Today I believe we made history. To my knowledge a group photo to show support of active duty military mommies nursing their little’s has never been done. It is so nice to see support for this here at Fort Bliss.

Through the guidance of my military friends, the Fort Bliss P3T Program and Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, our Garrison command and our Public Affairs, we were able to show that even our mommies in uniform can provide for their babies.

I was active duty a long time ago when support for breastfeeding moms wasn’t even an option or a consideration. We have come so far. Breastfeeding their babies doesn’t make them less of a soldier, I believe it makes them a better one. Juggling the tasks and expectations of a soldier, plus providing for their own in the best way they possibly can, makes these ladies even stronger for it.

I want to say Thank You to everyone that saw my vision, and helped us in succeeding in making it come true. I am 100% for? #?normalizebreastfeeding?. How about you?

Clearly, Tara Ruby is all in for normalizing breastfeeding, and I wholeheartedly agree. Why is it that Facebook — and society as a whole — is fine with overt sexualization of female bodies as presented for the male gaze, but fails to recognize that breasts have an actual, life-giving function completely separate from sex? Why are we still so frightened of the female body that we must censor if it doesn’t conform to sexual and beauty ideals?

The literal function of female breasts is to feed a child. It’s time Facebook, and the world, recognized that and followed the example of Fort Bliss. This photo is a testament to the bond of mother and child, the beauty of procreation, and the ability of women in the military to have families and children and still serve their country with strength and femininity.

Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.

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