Breastfeeding Model Claps Back After Outrage In The Best Way
"I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines ... for doing something I do every day."
Model and mother Mara Martin caused a bit of a world-wide stir on July 15 when she walked the runway while breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit show at Miami Swim Week.
Martin's decision to nurse on the catwalk -- while both she and her daughter were clad in sparkly bikinis, the little one also sporting some noise-cancelling headphones -- has attracted a mixed bag of reactions to say the least.
Most are praising her act for normalising breastfeeding, saying, "You inspired every women to breast feed in public without shame," "You go sis" or simply, "YES QUEEN."
But critics have called Martin and SI out for exploiting what they say should be a private moment between mother and child.
One publication has called it "empty Instagram activism," saying it "gives the media and brands like Sports Illustrated a whole new way to sell women’s 'empowerment” back to us,' while others have simply complained that they don't see the runway as a space for social statements.
There was even talk that Martin may have been pressured into breastfeeding on the catwalk because she was not offered time to do so beforehand.
But now Sports Illustrated has come out to clear up some of the details, the SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day confirming that the decision, while spur-of-the-moment, was entirely consensual.
Martin has also spoken, writing on Instagram that she feels "amazing" but "can't believe" that she and her daughter are making headlines.
The model addressed the huge interest, saying, "I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!"
She dedicated the remainder of her comment to highlighting the other "more deserving headlines" from the show, meaning the other models with whom she shared the catwalk.
Martin turned the spotlight on a female soldier, a woman who had had a mastectomy, a cancer survivor, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist and mum, claiming that, "Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!"
Here is her statement in full ...
"Wow! WHAT A NIGHT! Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit. Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine.
I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!
But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see.
One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country (sorry i don’t know your IG handle ??♀️), one woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!
Just thinking about all that was represented there ... I desperately need to give the most thanks to @mj_day for this. She supported me in what I did last night. Without her support this wouldn’t even be discussed!!!! She and the entire Sports Illustrated family are the most amazing and incredible team to have worked with. THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!!
Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!! Lastly, to every single woman that rocked that runway with me. Be proud. I know I am of you! You all have inspired me in ways unimaginable. I love you all!!! #siswimsearch"
Feature image: Getty.