A Humble Dissection of Two Similar Breastfeeding Graduation Pictures

I have spent the entire day trying to wrap my head around this issue. Some are calling it racism, and others are referring to it as social status, but the difference in the media coverage of these two breastfeeding graduates is astounding to say the very least. I don’t know about you, but all I see here is two women with babies who were wanting to breastfeed while their mothers happened to be wearing their cap and gown.

So really, what is so different about their stories?

Why has one woman been publicly SHAMED to the point that she has deleted her photo, yet the other is receiving PRAISE and positive media coverage?

Location, Location, Location

In June 2014, Karlesha Thurman – a young black mother from California – posted a breastfeeding photo of herself in her cap and gown while nursing her baby (seated) during the graduation ceremony a midst her colleagues, on the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page. Many people don’t know this, but if you post ANYTHING on a public Facebook page’s timelime, your post becomes public even if you have your privacy settings to only post to friends. The other thing is that if you post to a public page it will ALSO appear in the news feed of your Facebook friends! So someone who is a “closet breastfeeding supporter” may report your photo or worse, start to rant in your comments about how they “support” breastfeeding, BUT if you post public images you are indecent. -_- I am positive Karlesha didn’t expect such backlash from the people who she knew and this may have encouraged “trolling” on the thread by people who don’t support public breastfeeding at all. This is usually the case considering that breastfeeding in public is STILL considered a taboo in the United States.

4 months later – this past week – Jacci Sharkey sent a PRIVATE message to her school’s Facebook page, University of the Sunshine Coast (in Australia, where breastfeeding in public is considered the norm) in her cap and gown nursing her baby in what seems to be a secluded area. We really don’t know if she is nursing in public or not. It looks like she is sitting up against a wall in a possibly public hallway, but because the wall is all that we see in the photograph, when viewed in the media she is breastfeeding in private. By sending this photo in a private message to the University of the Sunshine Coast she released property and fully authorized the University of the Sunshine Coast to share the photograph creating a whole different type of media buzz. A positive one – since the University of the Sunshine Coast was uplifting and praising her from the get go for “thanking” them for supporting her during her years of enrollment.

Stereotypical Headlines

Regarding Karlesha Thurman (young, single, black mother of 1)