Breastfeeding is really an interesting topic. No, seriously.
So why breastfeeding? Of all things to draw shounen power from, why does it have to be breast milk? Well, I found an interesting book by Londa L. Schiebinger. According to her, people used to think breast milk could provide more than just nutrition:
In subcurrents of religious traditions, mother’s milk was thought to impart knowledge. Philosophia-Sapientia, the traditional personification of wisdom, suckled philosophers at her breasts moist with the milk of knowledge and moral virtue. — page 60
Even so, I, among other people, asked last week why the milk of virgins were considered superior to the milk of non-virgins. I don’t quite buy reader nXc’s explanation. After all, milk’s milk, right? Not according to some people:
In the Christian world, milk had been seen as providing sustenance–for both body and spirit. Throughout the Middle Ages, the faithful cherished vials of the Virgin’s milk as a healing balm, a symbol of mercy, an eternal mystery. — page 59
Sounds silly to me, but more importantly — I get it… breastfeeding is beneficial, but why eroticize it?
We can’t speak for Seikon no Qwaser or its mangaka Yoshino Hiroyuki, but we can tell when the practice started:
Barbara Gelphi has traced the stunning way in which the maternal breast was eroticized in late eighteenth-century medical literature. Male physicians, including Eramus Darwin, described the rapturous prose the sensuous pleasures experienced by nursing infants. — page 63
What’s even more interesting to me, however, is the way breast milk has been politicized throughout history. Due to virgin idolatry and fetishism, we’re obviously gonna center the anime around schoolgirls. This is convenient too because it seems to be an unspoken law that every anime takes place at a school. Furthermore:
Late nineteenth-century anthropologists classified breasts by beauty in the same way that they measured skulls for intelligence. The ideal breast — for all races- – was once again young and virginal. Europeans preferred the compact “hemispherical” type, found, it was said, only among whites and Asians. — page 64
You don’t say. But why a fancy private school anyhow?
[Linnaeus] also warned that, because most nurses came from the poorest classes, they ate fatty foods, drank too much alcohol, were riddled with pox and venereal diseases–all of which produced unhealthy, if not lethal, milk. — page 67
You don’t want some peasant’s milk. You want Asian (or white) milk. You want virgin milk. You want upper-class milk. You want Tomo’s milk.
One last thing. Breastfeeding has often been used to justify women’s “natural” place in the home:
Since when is it permitted to abandon one’s sex? Since when is it decent for women to forsake the pious cares of their households and the cribs of their children, coming instead to public places, to hear speeches in the galleries and senate? Is it to men that nature confided domestic cares? Has she given us breasts to feed our children? — Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette
Will either Mafuya or Tomo take an active role in the anime or will they just stand on the sideline after giving their “soma” to Sasha? Will there be any female qwaser that isn’t also evil and heavily sexualized?