This image was removed from social media after it was accused of being ‘vulgar’ and ‘immoral’.Source:Supplied
This image was removed from social media after it was accused of being ‘vulgar’ and ‘immoral’.Source:Supplied

Why this 'vulgar' photo caused a huge backlash

ALIYA Shagieva is a young mother who just wants to look after her baby.

She's also the youngest daughter of Almazbek Atambayev, the president of Kyrgyzstan - a conservative Muslim-majority country in Central Asia.

The 20-year-old shared a photo of herself breastfeeding her son in her underwear, with the caption: "I will feed my child whenever and wherever he needs to be fed."

The image caused a severe backlash.

Aliya was accused of being "immoral" and "vulgar", and the trolling became so severe she was eventually forced to remove it altogether.

However, she's holding her head high and using the debate to launch an attack on a culture she says is hyper-sexualising the female body.

"This body I've been given is not vulgar. It is functional, its purpose is to fulfil the physiological needs of my baby, not to be sexualised," she told the BBC.

"When I'm breastfeeding my child I feel like I'm giving him the best I can give. Taking care of my baby and attending to his needs is more important to me than what people say about me."

While it is acceptable to breastfeed in public in Kyrgyszstan, women are typically required to cover themselves and their baby with a cloth.

Part 2. EN: I use these instruments with a great pleasure and joy. However, at times I struggle to get the conventions imposed on me in my childhood out of my head. Nowadays, I fortunately know that the sky can go down and the earth can be on the top; there can be eight fingers and thirty two ears. Everything is possible when you let the unconscious out – nothing is bad, nothing is good. The most important and the most difficult here is to have the trust in yourself. It is very difficult to switch off your head and stop judging yourself. It is uneasy to be a friendly viewer of your own true self. It takes an effort to learn. And, it is worth it. 🌿 KG (1): Ал куралдарды мен ырахаттануу менен пайдаланам. Бирок балалык чакта калыптанып калган шарттуулуктарды кээде баштан чыгарып салуу оорго турат. Бактыга жараша, азыр асман ылдыйда, а жер өйдөдө болорун, сегиз манжа, а кулактан отуз экөө чыгарын билем. Акылга сыйбас аракеттердин ачыкка чыгышына жол бергениңде баардыгы мүмкүн, эч нерсе жаман эмес да, эч нерсе жакшы эмес. Балким эң татаалы – өзүңө өзүң ишенүү ушундадыр. Ойлонуудан баш тартып, өзүңдү баалабай калуу, анык жүзүңдү сырттан гана байкап туруу оңой эмес. Буга аракеттенип гана үйрөнүү керек жана бул ага арзыйт. 🌿 KG (2): Бул аспаптарды чоң ырахаттануу менен колдоном, бирок, кээде каадага айланган шарттуулукту башымдан чыгарып салуу бир эсе кыйынчылык жаратат. Бактыма жараша, азыр, асман бут алдында, жер баш үстүндө; бармактар болсо төрт жуп, ал эми кулак отуз экини түзүп калаары мүмкүн экенин билем. Эгер сен ичиңдеги акылга сыйбаганды чыгара билсең, анда баары мүмкүн! Эч нерсе жаман эмес, жана эч нерсе жакшы эмес! Мында эң маанилүүсү, жана балким эң кыйыны - өзүңө болгон ишеничиң. Мээңди өчүрүп, өзүңдү баалаганды токтотуп коюуу татаал, жана да, азыркы сенин чыныгы өздүгүңдү ачык чырай менен байкай билүү да жеңил эместир. Бул нерсе талбаган аракет менен гана жетүүбүзгө татыктуу. 🌿 RU: Эти инструменты я использую с большим удовольствием, только вот тяжело иногда выкинуть из головы условности, которым всех научили ещё в детстве. (Продолжение текста в комментариях ⤵️)

A post shared by Шагиева Алия (@chestnayaaa) on


Victoria Tahmasebi, a Canadian gender studies expert, tweeted: "From a capitalist view point women's breasts can create profit as long as they are sexualised. Breastfeeding in public makes women's breasts less sexy, therefore it is not acceptable."

Even Ms Shagieva's parents, the country's President and First Lady, disapproved.

"They really didn't like it. And it is understandable because the younger generation is less conservative than their parents," she said.

The artist is known for being socially progressive - giving birth just six months after her marriage to a Russian man, and maintaining a vegetarian diet despite the fact that meat is a staple in the ex-Soviet country.

She has at least 32,000 followers on Instagram, and her carefully composed images focusing on family life have been shared around the world.

However, she insists she's not trying to make a political statement.

Rather, she's simply trying to normalise women's bodies and break the taboos surrounding something they've been doing since the beginning of time.

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