MMA Ring girl’s viral breastfeeding photo exposes double standards
The mum-of-three's nursing photo sheds light on the need to stop shaming breastfeeding mums
“I can say one thing’s for certain: Almost no mum is trying to shock or offend anyone when she sits down to nurse,” says MMA Ring Girl Jackie Owens—a mum-of-three who’s been breastfeeding for a decade.
In a powerful Facebook post that is currently going viral, she writes how it baffles her—to this day—how the simple sight of a mother nursing her child could illicit such shock and controversy.
The post, which was originally shared on The Badass Breastfeeder’s facebook page, offers a side-by-side comparison of popular photos of Jackie being shared on social media.
In one photo, she’s clad in a bikini while doing her duties as an MMA Ring Girl. In the other photo, she’s tenderly cradling her baby in her arms while breastfeeding. It should be noted that the mum-of-three looks stunning in both of them.
It has earned over a thousand Facebook likes as of this writing. With it, she writes:
“Today is the day I rant about perspective and hypocrisy. I’ve shared my nursing photo (on right), on breastfeeding page threads several times. It is currently circulating and being shared on Facebook and Instagram breastfeeding pages, which I absolutely LOVE. Because it should be seen and normalized.”
“I am a MMA ring girl, which I also love. I am paid to wear similar bikinis, booty shorts, revealing tops, take pictures with fighters and members of the audience. These pictures also circulate through the Internet: Facebook, Instagram, youtube videos of fights, people that I don’t even know share pictures with me on pages of theirs.”
More on badass breastfeeder Jackie Owens on the next page
“If seeing the picture on the left is ok with you, then seeing the picture on the right should be ok with you.”
“I have received an amazing amount of support, and criticism, on both. Ironically, on different ends of the spectrum, even from the same individuals,” she continues. “Guess which one had positive vs. negative feedback. Smh [sic]. If seeing the picture on the left is ok with you, then seeing the picture on the right should be ok with you.”
In an interview with Babble, Owens shared how her breastfeeding struggles began long before the backlash: her first baby was a preemie but she manage to breastfeed him while she could. With her second baby, she struggled to maintain a good milk supply (as she was working and studying at the same time).
Her third baby (who is featured in the viral post) is the one she’s managed to breastfeed the longest—one year and counting.
Of the negative feedback, Owens says, “I find it amusing that generally those same critics are OK with a woman’s body being sexualized.”
Despite this, she remains emphatic toward the critics.
“I tell myself it’s lack of knowledge on their part, they just don’t understand the personal connections or feelings of accomplishment,” she said in the interview.
She hopes to encourage and uplift other mums as well as shed light on a huge double-standard imposed upon breastfeeding mums.
Though there was negative feedback, it’s empowering to know that the real reason the post went viral was because of the support of other breastfeeding mums, who liked and shared the post to celebrate their fellow badass breastfeeder.
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