Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Here is the text of an email I sent to a Cognitive Linguistics mailing list:

I am not a cognitive linguist (not even an academic) but merely an interested onlooker. Please forgive me (and inform me) if this post is an intrusion.

My wife, a lactation consultant, recently heard the story of a woman who was breastfeeding in a park. The breastfeeding mother was approached by another woman (described as "well-dressed and in her thirties") who asked her: "Do you fuck in public, too?"

Having just read Lakoff's "Moral Politics" I began to wonder about the models which underlie this story's comprehensibility. They seem to me to have something to do with breasts-as-sources-of-nurture versus breasts-as-objects-of-sexual-attention and, perhaps, with different models of publicly and privately appropriate behavior.

That, however, is about as far as I have gotten in thinking about this; no further than breastfeeding advocates themselves get when discussing such stories.

Can Cognitive Linguistics shed more light? Does anyone know of work which might help me think further about the matter?

Thank you.
Barry Solow

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