A photo of a woman breastfeeding after her graduation ceremony has caused a stir online, sparking both positive and negative reactions.
The picture shows recent college graduate Jacci Sharkey in her cap and gown feeding her infant son. In the photo, Sharkey is smiling and all seems well, but after the picture was posted online by the school she graduated from, people all over blasted her for breastfeeding her son so openly.
“It's alarming how many men are making either a) immature sexualised comments or b) disparaging comments that show how uncomfortable this makes him,” commented one user on Facebook.
It’s doesn’t come as a shock that some people still react negatively towards a woman breastfeeding her child, and while Sharkey may have expected some negativity, she told ABC News Australia that she was grateful for those who defended her.
“I never expected it to go crazy. I thought I'd be really happy if it got 100 likes and then it's just gone out of control,” said Sharkey. “"There has been a sea of thank you messages from people. Some were saying they were really worried about starting university but that I've helped them through it. It was really heart warming ... you do come across your keyboard warriors but it's just nice to see the positive outweighs the negative.”
Sharkey says her intent with the photo was never to make a statement, but rather to show off a special moment in her life.
“It wasn't a statement [on breastfeeding] or anything like that,” Sharkey said. “I would have sent the same picture to the uni had he had a bottle or a sandwich ... it was just the fact that I'm a mum, it's not I'm a breastfeeding mum, just I'm a mum. It was really a message of thanks and that other mums can do it as well. You don't have to give up the career to have kids and you don't have to give up kids to have the career ... you can have it all.”