Early in August 2016, Alyssa Milano was all over traditional and social media websites with them sharing photos of her breastfeeding. But I don’t want to see these photos. Let me tell you why…
I had a huge crush on Alyssa from the very first episode of Who’s The Boss? The pilot episode was filmed in November 1983 making her a month short of turning 11 and with the show being taken up almost 10 months later it would be fair to say that she was 11 and 12 through the first season. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, in Australia it took well over a year, sometimes two or three years before a show like that was shown here with the Australian networks making sure the show was a ratings success in the US before bringing it down under.
Although Alyssa is 16 months older than me I would suggest that with the delay in broadcasting the show in Australia she was either the same age as I was when I was watching each episode, or maybe a year younger than my actual age. Either way, boy did the pre-teenage Darrell have a huge crush on her.
When the show ended in 1992, broadcast some time in 1993 here, the 19 year old Ms Milano was still on my radar but probably slipped down the list of celebrity crushes due to her cutting her hair short (I do like long hair on my celebrity crushes) and Alicia Silverstone taking the number one spot on my celebrity crush list after her debut on the big screen in the coincidentally titled movie The Crush.
Post 1993 with Who’s The Boss leaving the air, and with Alyssa only finding movie roles in low budget and B grade movies that were far from box office or home video hits and not on my must watched list, it wasn’t until 1996’s direct-to-video movie sequel Poison Ivy II: Lily that she came back on my radar. The following year she was back on the small screen appearing in 40 episodes of Melrose Place (yes, I admit I watched that show before it jumped the shark) and she was back in fine form with her long brown hair and sultry looks making a certain 23 year old a very happy fan of hers indeed.
After she left Melrose Place she picked up another television spot in the joint lead role of another Aaron Spelling production, the supernatural series Charmed. I probably watched an episode or two but it wasn’t a must watch show for me. Still, every time I saw an advert for the coming episode each week I was subconsciously reminded of those days back in the 1980s when she was my number one crush.
Back in the Eighties I had posters of her on my wall thanks to my mate’s dad bringing home copies of the American teen magazines BOP, Teen Beat and Tiger Beat that the local newsagent donated to the police station that he worked at. Although those magazines were full of guys named Corey, the (then) popular Kirk Cameron and his little known co-star Leonardo Dicaprio, Jon Bon Jovi and NKOTB in the late Eighties, catering mostly for a teenage girl market, a photo shoot, poster or article featuring Alyssa seemed to in every issue, if not, maybe every second issue.
At the age of 15 in 1989, I know that I was noticing girls differently to how I was before that, and with that age bringing on the ability to attend or rent MA15+ movies, I’m sure that, when given the chance, my friends and I may have rented a movie that featured topless, if not fully naked women on VHS. I’m not talking about porn, but just those movies that are box office hits such as the Lethal Weapon movies, or Under Siege where for some unknown reason the female lead, or the love interest of the male lead goes topless or gets fully naked. It’s not a plot device, but a box office success device. Pointless for nothing else other than getting 15 year old boys to watch that movie instead of some other action movie that doesn’t have a naked former Baywatch girl in it.
In 1995, to break from her girl-next-door image, and seeing that she was not getting much work after being looked over for box office roles, Ms Milano took on a role in a low budget vampire film where she appeared in a state of semi-undress. She appeared naked or topless in a few other movies as well. I also found out that two years before that the (then) 20 year old Alyssa Milano had appeared naked in artistic photos for one of those pretentious celebrity art magazines. Although a 19 to 21 year old me would have been happy to have seen those movies or had a copy of that magazine to check her out, in all honesty, I only found out that she appeared nude and semi-nude in films when doing some research for this post.
And no, I’m not going to embed any photos of her nude or even semi-nude in this post; sorry to disappoint. #sorrynotsorry
Over the years, she has continued to appear in sexy photo shoots for not only men’s magazines such as FHM, Maxim and Stuff, but she has appeared in hot photo spreads for magazines aimed at girls and women such as Cleo, Cosmopolitan, Dolly, Seventeen, People (America’s version of the Australian Who magazine) various television guides and women’s fitness magazines. This has been both before and after having her two children.
I’ve never really understood why women’s magazines feature sexy semi-clad photos of women on the cover of the magazines whilst screaming “that’s sexist” about men’s magazines having similar photos on their covers. But that’s not what this post is about. I guess, if I think about it, women love to celebrate other women’s achievements whether it’s success as an artist, a sports star or a woman making it big in a traditionally male orientated field. They also love to celebrate other women’s physiques. It’s just the nature of many women.
Now I’ve kept you hanging on long enough as to the reason why I don’t want to the photos of Alyssa Milano breastfeeding her babies.
When a woman, be they a celebrity like her in their own right, or a young wannabe “starlet” getting their gear off for a photo shoot to hopefully get noticed by someone BIG in whatever industry they are trying to break into, when that photo shoot is for a men’s magazine, they know all too well that guys will be ogling over these photos. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m definitely not judging any women who wants to do nude photos. I don’t think less of them. And a guy who picks up a copy of Maxim because a gorgeous photo of Alyssa Milano graces the cover, I’m not going to judge him either. That guy could have been me back in the day.
I’ve pretty much, in the lead up to this point described Alyssa Milano as a sexual being, an object of one’s desires, or, dare I say it, a hot babe. That’s not me sexualising her, that’s the industry she’s in, and her own decision to still be seen as a fit looking woman even though she’s in her early forties. And as I mentioned above, with her appeal to other women of our generation, she’s probably a role model to them.
For that reason I understand it. I really do. I get why so many female celebrities feel the need to share breastfeeding selfies. It is to empower other women who are too embarrassed to breastfeed in public. It’s to show those women that there’s nothing to be ashamed of when getting your boob out for your baby.
And not only is it for the breastfeeding mothers, or breastfeeding mothers-to-be, but it’s for those stick in the mud conservatives who think that breastfeeding mothers should be behind curtains in the baby change room, in the store room at work, or hiding away in their baby’s room when company is over.
These photos aren’t for me. These photos aren’t of the same ilk as the Maxim photo shoot, or the Cleo photo shoot, or whatever that celebrity soft porn art magazine is called. These photos of a mother breastfeeding are not sexual, even if Alyssa is smoking hot sans baby attached to her breast. There is nothing sexual about a mother breastfeeding.
So I made the decision; here we are, probably exactly a month since the photos went viral in news stories, and I still haven’t seen them. I’m not going to look at them. I’m by no means disgusted by seeing a woman who I had a crush on breastfeed her kids. I’m just not the intended “market” for those particular photos of her.
But I hope that she and all those other women, be they A lists stars, D list former stars, or even the average woman on the street who shares a breastfeeding photo to inspire achieves what they are hoping to achieve. I really do. It’s 2016, not 1956, and the times, they are a changing. And I’m pretty sure that in 1983, a young Samantha Micelli from the Brooklyn would have been smart enough to know that breastfeeding is a beautiful part of human nature.