March 15, 2007

Shirt for male breastfeeding

Ronnie Osterberg’s shirt for lactating men

Man:MILK is a shirt for male breastfeeding, and a design piece that asks “questions about queer, feministic, social, medical and the father’s/male role.” (You can see all of those questions in the eyes of that baby model.)

Male humans have fewer milk glands than females, but they still have some. With nipple stimulation, or as a side-effect of some hormone treatments, men can lactate. (Bodies are neat!) By some accounts, it is possible for males to lactate enough to successfully feed a baby, although the Man:MILK designer suggests male lactation as more of a complement to female lactation. The shirt comes with a breast pump, for men who want to start lactating.

The designer says “it was really important that the design not became unisex because then the products would have became female.” He made a stereotypically masculine shirt— tough, utilitarian, almost militaristic. I find the “breastfeeding is tough and rugged” aspect just as interesting as male lactation! I’m always game for creative, diverse contexts for bodily functions. I don’t want to hijack Man:MILK for Team Female, but I think those cargo pockets would still be awesome without the intrigue of male breastfeeding.

Man:MILK was designed by Ronnie Österberg, and I found it via Fashion for the 21st Century.

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