The recent events of the mother who was kicked off of the airplane makes me want to complain, and also write something on my blog, especially since I've run out of other things to talk about.:)
Just focusing on the practical standpoint, does anyone have the right to tell a women how and when she should feed or not feed her child? What could justify such a thing? The child was 22 months -- a little older than some, but by no means unheard of for a child still breastfeeding; 1-2 years is generally the norm. Moreover, I've seen many a child throw a hissy fit when they are covered when they are trying to nurse, and I've seen woman become much more exposed in the process of trying. The mother probably knew this, but probably didn't feel it necessary to tell the stewardess this because, frankly, it was none of the stewardess' business.
But the stewardess has at least a point. I'm not arguing that women should flaunt without any scruple or discretion (modesty should always rule, when practical). Moreover, some people can handle "exposure" better than others. Period. Even for other woman, too much information can be unpleasant. It is important, regardless of ones beliefs, to respect others, and behave accordingly. It's simply common courtesy.
However, even when a woman is discreet when she is breastfeeding, is an objection to it still justified? This leads to a more serious, and telling, question.
We live in an era where there are few people who enter into marriage not having seen the naked body of the opposite (and same) gender first hand, or at least in a graphic movie. You go to the beach where woman who look more provocative covered in flimsy and stringy material than they would if they were sunbathing in the buff. I have had guy friends tell me how disturbed they were when, going to the pool, they saw virtually everything because the woman's barely existing bathing suit was barely staying on. People make sex-tapes of themselves, and then watch the sex-tapes of others (regardless of their consent). Woman are told not only to accept the fact that men "need" porn, but we are encouraged to encourage them to pleasure themselves with it. I remember being 16, riding in an airplane, and traumatized by a woman next to me who was reading Cosmo, pausing on the most graphic pages so she could study them thoroughly (I doubt she would have been kicked off if she refused to stop reading it). Why, then, does a woman have to be "courteous" and cover herself up in front of people who regularly stare at breasts (and more!) for the sake of both arousal and entertainment?
If you think about it, of all the sexual organs of the body, the breast is the only one that is actually beautiful, or at least it is the least offensive. But it isn't the sight of a "sex" organ in public that offends. It is because our culture has sexualized the breast to the extreme, and therefore the sight of a child being fed from the breast is disturbing. Breastfeeding is a purely natural act; and it is the convoluted perception of sexuality that causes us to be disturbed when see a pure and innocent child gaining nourishment from something that, in society's mind, has become so perverted.