It’s fair to say that for most adult men, any interest in breasts has little to do with lactation. We know, somewhere in the back of our minds, that breasts can produce milk for babies — maybe we’ve even seen an old photo of ourselves nursing, with mom smiling serenely down upon us. That, alas, is the limit of expertise. How does breastfeeding work? We never thought to learn.
However, we have some theories.
Shortly after an unprecedented Supreme Court leak indicated that Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned this year — causing many a male politician and pundit to reveal their shocking ignorance of reproductive anatomy and contraception — the nation was hit with a shortage of baby formula. Once again, men sallied forth to be confidently wrong, this time about how the problem could be solved with boobs. None of them seemed to understand why some families are reliant on formula, and just how many infants can’t breastfeed for one reason or another, but more striking was the common misconception that women can turn milk on and off like a spigot.
And when you dig into other unscientific views men have on breast milk, it gets quite bizarre.
It’s one thing to believe, as a 20-year-old man, that women lactate when they’re aroused. It’s another to insult and essentially break up with the only girlfriend you’ll ever have when she tells you that isn’t the case. Somehow, a dude can take access to a woman’s body — whether direct or via pornographic material — as equivalent to his mastery of it. Yet there is no inquisitiveness beyond the ways in which she can stimulate him. Therefore he is shocked to find out that the vulva has two openings and menstruation doesn’t occur on the 15th day of each calendar month. Although we can lay some blame on the woeful failures of sex education in the U.S., one has to consider another cultural force at work: male resistance to information.
Wild stuff, and wilder still how they love to double down when called out for rank foolishness. Guys actively shun opportunities to glean the simplest facts of mammalian biology — at least when it comes to motherhood. It’s like they resent any voice of reason that seeks to dispel the schoolyard rumors they absorbed in youth. Why this stubborn loyalty to nonsense? What could be so hard about accepting that people with body parts you don’t have are better acquainted with their form and function?
If we can answer these questions, we’ll have illuminated one of the great mysteries of gender — men’s proclivity for unfounded, untested assumptions that fall apart the instant they’re put into words. Ignorance in the guise of obvious, universal knowledge.
Whew, these fellas are struggling. Best of luck to the women trying to set them straight — because, I swear, they had a better grasp of breastfeeding when that was how they ate.