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Mila Kunis shamed for breastfeeding in public: 'People are so hard on women who choose to do it and do it in public'

She condemns the wider culture of shaming women who publicly breastfeed

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 20 July 2016 16:52 BST
The actor criticised the oversexualisation of breasts in American society
The actor criticised the oversexualisation of breasts in American society (Getty Images)

Mila Kunis has condemned the culture of shaming those who breastfeed in public, explaining that she has been degraded for feeding her child in a public place.

Kunis, 32, who is known for her roles in That 70s Show and Ted, explained that some members of the public looked at her in a “shameful” way for breastfeeding in public.

The actor criticised the over-sexualisation of breasts in society and argued that it was partially this which was to blame for the social taboo.

“It always made my husband and I feel a little weird. It took us a little back because people actually looked at us in a shameful [way], and we were like, ‘Oh my God,’ because it’s so not a sexual act,” she told Vanity Fair.

“It didn’t matter to me what other people thought,” she continued. “That’s what I chose to do, but I think it’s unfortunate that people are so hard on women who choose to do it and do it in public. In the States and in our culture, we sexualize the breast so much that there’s an aspect of it that people just don’t know how to wrap their head around the idea of showing your breast in public. But I respect the opinions on both sides. If it’s not for you, don’t look.”

Kunis, who has a one-year-old daughter, Wyatt, with husband Ashton Kutcher, said women were entitled to their personal choice about the matter. Nevertheless, Kunis, who is currently pregnant with her second child, explained that she herself chose to breastfeed it virtually all public places: "I just did it in a restaurant, in the subway, in the park, at airports, and in planes".

US legislation governing whether breastfeeding is legal varies from state to state in the US. However, in the UK it is illegal to ask a mother not to breastfeed in public, with the Equality Act formally protecting breastfeeding in public since it came into force in 2010.

Despite this, public attitudes towards breastfeeding in public remain divided throughout Britain. According to a poll conducted by Public Health England’s Start4Life campaign last November, 43 per cent of people do not think breastfeeding is acceptable in restaurants, while 49 per cent think it’s unacceptable on public transport. What's more, just over half of those surveyed did not agree with the statement that, “Women should always feel comfortable breastfeeding in public.”

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