When a photographer from Israel entered a contest, the breastfeeding mom never anticipated the global reception from her photo. Tamar Shugert’s bathroom stall collage sparked a viral debate on a woman’s right to breastfeed in public versus social norms, citing a Huffington Post report.
Shugert, like many other photogs, entered a contest called the 52Frames’ “Make A Statement” photo challenge. As explained on their Facebook page, the 52frames contest “is a platform for aspiring photographers from around the world to work together to improve their skills.”
— HerFamily (@HerFamilydotie) March 12, 2015
The mother of two kids (one of which she breastfeeds), with one on the way, hatched an idea that would not only help refine her craft of taking amazing pictures, but would also allow Shugert to bring attention to a cause that is dear to her: “respect for breastfeeding mothers.”
Using a bit of tongue-in-cheek, the woman posted a side-by-side collage as an entry into the contest. In one of her images, Shugert posts a breastfeeding photo in a bathroom stall of her nursing baby.
The other photo showed her husband eating a plate of pasta in another stall, while he appears to be relieving himself. The caption attached to the image breathes life into her message. Putting it lightly, it was an instant classic.
“I should feed my baby where???
“My baby eating is not a gross side-effect of having children. If you are not willing to eat your lunch in the bathroom, then don’t expect me to feed my kid there!”
Droves of readers consigned her beliefs about the collage and supported her beliefs that a woman should be granted the courtesy and right to breastfeed her child in public places without being sanctioned or made to feel the tender act is offensive.
Shugert points out that she personally has not experienced discrimination for breastfeeding in a public space. However, she has friends that have been asked to cease and desist or relocate to a bathroom to breastfeed their kids.
“Women should not be asked to go feed their children in bathrooms. Nobody wants to be eating in bathroom. I wouldn’t breastfeed in a bathroom even if I was asked to.”
She also points out that Israeli residents, many of whom are fairly religious, have mixed responses to the breastfeeding in bathroom photo. Nonetheless, the woman, who is enjoying her new-found celebrity, spoke with BuzzFeed about the photo and its global message.
“Some of the commenters were saying that breasts shouldn’t be sexual, but I believe that breasts have a dual purpose. In my culture — Orthodox Judaism — sexuality is used as a powerful force within marriages and not something to be shown to everybody.”
It’s amazing that 52Frames provided a platform for the woman’s bathroom breastfeeding photo to launch a healthy conversation about the optics and choices nursing moms have. Shia Davis, one of the site’s co-founders agrees.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, Tamar’s photograph could fill entire libraries,” Davis said.
What are your thoughts on the breastfeeding bathroom photo?
[Photo by: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]