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Ok, so it started in class today as a discussion about morality and moral development. I am totally fascinated with discussions of this nature but I'm always throughly confused and overwhelmed by the complexities of it. We spent a lot of time talking about cheating in school and the morality issues surrounding it. 4 minutes before class was over the teacher gave us a quote that she felt summed up morality. It went something like "a moral person of character will act the same when they are alone as when others are watching."

I can understand how that relates to the idea of cheating but I don't (well didn't) think that it applies as a blanket statement. I said "so does that mean that if someone wears clothes in public because of social norms but dances naked around their home that they are not a 'moral person of character?'"

She said, "well, who is that hurting?" While I think that I could have come up with an example, my train of thought shifted to NIP. I hesitated to speak because there were only 2 minutes left of class but it just came out. I said, "well maybe there is some moral obligation for people to buck social norms and do things in public that they are normally only comfortable doing in private because of social/ peer pressures. Breastfeeding comes to mind. And people are getting hurt because of the social norms associated with it. So maybe there is some morality and character that go along with acting publicly in the same manor that you do in private."

I watched people squirm in their seats and hands shot up everywhere. There wasn't time to listen to everyone so the teacher decided to sum up her thoughts on the idea. She said, "well, maybe it would be moral to do the act in public but it could be covered up with a blanket."



I grumbled to myself as everyone was leaving, "oh, so if you like to cheat at home you can, morally, do at school too as long as you cover up with a blanket so no one can see."
:

Please don't interpret this as a debate about morality. It is not. I was just trying to follow this womans logic in class and it was making my head spin. I don't think that it is immoral to choose not to nip, I was just partaking in a hypothetical discussion. The comment about the blanket was so classic for this teacher. She is always summing up peoples comments with her own spin and then not allowing them to talk again, it drives me crazy
 

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The probelm here is that both of you are equating a mainstream fact ( in the US) or societal norm ( some people feelings with NIP) with Morality.
They are not the same. They maybe a fine line between them in some issues but they are different.
Just because there is a mainstream tendency in a said society it does not mean it is imoral in that society. Some may think so thou.
Need examplas ? DOn;t know if I was clear enough!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by polykow View Post
The probelm here is that both of you are equating a mainstream fact ( in the US) or societal norm ( some people feelings with NIP) with Morality.
They are not the same. They maybe a fine line between them in some issues but they are different.
Just because there is a mainstream tendency in a said society it does not mean it is imoral in that society. Some may think so thou.
Need examplas ? DOn;t know if I was clear enough!
I think I understand what you are saying but it isn't really what I meant... I think
It's very hard to articulate. The "morality" of the situation was not about a particular activity at all but it was the idea that people behave differently when they are alone than when "someone" is watching... letting someone else judge and guide the morality of your actions


Like I said though, I really don't mean to make this a debate about morality or social norms.
I just thought her comment was ridiculous and didn't even support her logic at all
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You are right that her argument is illogical. Even so, and even though Alex is right that NIP is not technically a moral issue, there is some morality to be teased out of the situation IMO, and her argument against NIP can be defeated upon moral grounds.

First, the morality. We consider it immoral in our society, as a general rule, to bare our breasts in public. While it is definitely a case of it being a cultural norm, the fact remains that it's often expressed in moral terms.

Therefore, the moral argument. I am a huge fan of Immanuel Kant. His foremost rules of action were: Do not make any moral rules which you would not want applied universally and People should not be treated as merely a means to an end, for they have inherent moral worth. "Cover up with a blanket" fails the first test, because no right-thinking person would want to make it a univeral rule that all babies being fed in public should be covered with a blanket. Likewise it fails the second test, and quite thoroughly. We expect women to breastfeed covered up because as a society we have sexualized women's breasts. This is a sort of objectification which reduces us to merely a means to an end, a clear violation of Kantian ethics.
 

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I think the explanation about morality being equated w/ behaving in public the same as in private is akward, but I see what she was getting at. If you only act "honest" in public, but cheat in private, you are not really honest. WRT modesty issues...I think the explanation still fits. No, you might not go around naked in public, even if you go around naked at home. You are not being immodest being naked at home b/c you are in the privacy of your home. If you had guests over, you wouldn't be running around naked. Now, if you acted all pious in public but were stealing cable and illegally downloading music and pirating videos in private, that would definitely be acting different in public and private. If you're not honest, kind, generous, etc when no one can see then you aren't really those things ever.

WRT bf, I totally consider NIP a social duty. There is nothing remotely immodest about bf'ing, covered or not. I hear this discussion a lot in Christian circles. It's b/c the Puritanical ideas have infected Christian ideas. If you believe the body is somehow dirty (and oversexualizing the body speaks to me of a deep sense of shame of the body), then you would probably believe that NIP is somehow "dirty" too. As a Catholic, I definitely see the need to respect societal norms of modesty w/in reason. I don't want to do anything to deliberately arouse lust in anyone else. However, I won't capitulate by treating my body or anyone elses body as inherantly dirty. Certainly, bf'ing is NOT a deliberate attempt to arouse lust in anyone. Perhaps some might get all hot and bothered by (but who are these ppl anyway *scratching head* ?) it, but the intention of the woman NIP'ing is NOT to flaunt herself. At some point, even a woman who considers herself "modest" must stand up for the inherant beauty of the body. For anyone who thinks NIP is somehow inherantly modest unless the woman is covered by a tent of some sort should think about all the images of Mary bf'ing Jesus w/ her breast exposed...or the nudes in the Sistine Chapel.

I do not fully expose my breast on purpose while nursing for my own comfort. I don't often even do it in private. I do, however, nurse freely in public w/o any sort of cover-up. My body is not dirty and my breasts are not purely sexual. I will not be ashamed of using my breasts for their primary function. Maybe, my confidence will help others see the breasts and breastfeeding the way that I think God intended.
 
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