Breast Feeding & Prophetic Action

The prophets are the women breast feeding their babies in public.

If Walter Brueggeman is right that the biblical prophets criticised the present situation and energised people towards an alternative future, and did so by offering symbols from the past, public breast feeders do it all.

They criticise an order that has made breasts a symbol of women as the playthings of men, and the iconography of power, profit and control. The fact that the criticism rings true is obvious by the cries coming down from businesses, politicians, and celebrities telling them to stop it. Meanwhile the protest against the people who drag women’s bodies through the public sphere as visual amusement comes up from everyday people. (That fox, the prime minister is happy to say public breast feeding is natural, but he won’t raise a whimper against Rupert Murdoch’s peculiar right to publish breasts as a misogynist spectacle in a daily newspaper, because he knows that Murdoch carries the keys to the next election).

The prophets – the public breast feeders – energise us towards an alternative vision: a humanising order against a dehumanising one. A relational order against an alienating one. An order that glorifies grass roots life against the cult of the idealised image. It’s something that the businesses who rule consumer capitalism can make no use or sense of, and that makes the consumerist reconstruction of masculine libido evaporate. Its the image of Kingdom against empire.

Of course people aren’t feeding their babies to make a statement (apart from the protesters outside Claridge’s). British life has made a prophetic statement out of ordinary human life, by being a place driven to strangeness by systems of power and profit.

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