Society and Taboos

The Oscars represent the time of year that we all look forward to, with anticipation and excitement, to mark achievement of actors and actresses who we follow on social media such as twitter, instagram and/or facebook. The world of glamour sets an expectation year after year.

The Oscars garnered a lot of negative and perhaps unwanted attention this year, in particular regarding the lack of African-American representation in the nominations. However, one of the many infamous issues that were overshadowed by this controversy were the lack of facilities at the Oscars for actresses and female artists who over the years have had to breastpump in the washrooms. This shows a lack of consideration for breastfeeding mothers. When facilities are not provided at a huge event like Oscars, where women feel they have to breastpump in the washrooms amongst faeces, rather than in a hygienic room, then we as a society have failed.

Currently, with there is a lot of taboo attached to breastfeeding, as breasts have been sexualised to such a degree that breastfeeding mothers are seen with contempt & labelled indecent in society. There appears to be a lack of modesty in nursing a young baby whose life depends on feeding.

In a world where women are seen as sexualised beings and the vessel to feed children has been shunned from ‘civilised’ society, this is yet another form of dehumanisation of women, making them feel ashamed of their bodies and of providing sustenance to children. The disturbing truth is that some women also find display of breasts to feed a baby offensive and do not wish to see other women breastfeeding children. Society is divided in such a way, that convenience for mothers is irrelevant and a man-made concept of sexualised breasts appears to have become an accepted truth. At such a time, a dialogue needs to be created as the society’s psychology has become perverted.

Oscars are not the creators of this stigma but the lack of hygienic facilities available is a clear indication of where women are placed in their list of priorities. Similarly, another issue that raised a lot of eyebrows was Jenny Beavan’s clothes at the Oscars.

Jenny Beavan’s attire acquired a lot of scrutiny from the media and from the reaction of a particular celebrity who defended allegations about not applauding as the costume designer made her way to the stage. The lady in question did not criticise anyone and came to the rescue of the fraternity by stating “your hands gets tired. We had done a huge amount of clapping by that time”.

The issue that drew so much attention overlooked that receiving an Oscar is a celebration, recognition and a resounding applause in its own right of an artist’s hard work. The clothes Ms Jenny Beavan chose to wear may be a point of contention for many, as it was a black-tie event. However, the English costume designer has made a big impact, as the awareness she has raised is that success is for everyone to be had and talent will be rewarded.

There is a particular kind of dress-code that is present at an event such as the Oscars. At the Oscars where women dress to be seen and avoid the category of the ‘worst dressed’ Ms Beavan’s clear rejection of society’s norm deserves to be much-admired.

Ms Beavan’s rejection of the expected dress-code and opting for a more comfortable Marks & Spencer’s jacket and trousers highlights that society is open to be challenged and will appreciate a messiah who is unwilling to conform. Similarly, a dialogue of desexualising female breasts is needed so that society can free itself from such taboos and allow women the freedom & security to nurse their children.

6 thoughts on “Society and Taboos

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    1. Calpurnia Sycamore says:

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