Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ample Women in Artwork: Breastfeeding, Part 2


We have been lamenting how difficult it is to find breastfeeding images of women of size.

We posted a gallery of photos submitted by readers to show that fat women can and do breastfeed, contrary to some media messages and resulting misperceptions.

We also posted Part One of a gallery of images from classical and modern art showing plus-sized women breastfeeding.

This is Part Two of the same series, with more art images of "obese" and "overweight" women breastfeeding their children (or in some cases, as wet nurses to other people's children).

As before, some people may protest that these women are not really plus-sized.  However, it's impossible to determine someone's BMI from a photo so all we can do is make our best guess.  Most of these women seem to me to be at least in the "overweight" category, and some in the "obese" category.  Look for more rounded chins, wider bodies, a bit more around the middle or the hips, heavier arms. In my judgment, they all qualify as different degrees of "ample" ─ and they are all beautiful.

The point is that women of size can and do breastfeed, and have done so throughout history, as evidenced by breastfeeding artwork.  Are breastfeeding rates in obese women too low now?  Yes, and we need to work to increase those rates.  But providers and advocates need to be careful that their messages about this do not become transformed in the public's mind to "fat women can't or don't breastfeed."  The truth is that many of us do, as have many women of size in the past.

Fat women can and do breastfeed their babies.  Here are some beautiful images showing just that.  Enjoy!

Gari Melcher, 1895

Pieter de Grebber

Francisco Zuñiga

Jakob Smits

Henri Lebasque, 1920

Jose Camaron

Henri Moore, 1924

Lovis Corinth, 1909

Frida Kahlo

Rudolf Jordan


Beaubrun, circa 1640


Sigrid Herr

Mary Cassatt

Ernst Neuschel, 1931


Siemiginowski, 1684


Mary Cassatt

Adam Elseheimer



You can find various images of breastfeeding in art or pictures online at the following sources:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The unknown picture is R.C. Gorman, Najavo artist.