Swimsuit model Mara Martin surprised audiences on Monday when she took to the catwalk breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter.
Martin was one of 16 models selected by Sports Illustrated for Miami Swim Week. However, when she appeared on the runway modeling a glittering gold two-piece bikini, just as many eyes were on her infant daughter, Aria. Sporting a cloth diaper, a green glittery wrap, and bright blue headphones, Aria was being breastfed and carried by her mother down the catwalk. Sports Illustrated captured video of the model heading back down the runway, smiling down at her daughter, and at the cameras, to a cheering audience.
The video has been viewed of 360,000 times since Monday, and the numbers keep rising. Martin posted on her Instagram about the reactions to her catwalk, saying, “I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!” But Martin also wanted to shine a light on the other models who were also breaking down barriers, such as breast cancer survivor Allyn Rose and Paralympic gold medalist Brenna Huck. “Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!” Martin said in her post.
Just as Martin had hoped would happen, her walk down the runway with her daughter is inspiring women, with many reflecting on their own experiences as working mothers. Others were just happy to see Sports Illustrated celebrating a use for breasts outside of titillation.
She not only looks amazing but Mara Martin is who we all are – women, strong beautiful people and she’s doing the best job being a mum while working. https://t.co/mL28wAEu7T
— catgad (@kiwiwmn) July 16, 2018
Mom's have been breastfeeding since ages.
The message today for modern women is to encourage women to breastfeed their child while not being worried about breast shape changes.Its okay and sexy cause now models are doing that.
— Inverse Swirl (@Inverseswirl) July 17, 2018
Some were made uncomfortable by Martin’s actions, not because of the breastfeeding itself, but because they felt it looked like a publicity stunt. But others pointed out that when a baby needs to feed, they need to feed, and the world doesn’t stop for parents to feed them.
her child was hungry and needed to be fed at the EXACT moment she was scheduled to walk the runway?
As much as I support breastfeeding in public, I do NOT when the infant is being used as a "prop";
how is this NOT exploitation of that child?
— Wendell L Thornhill (@WLThornhill) July 17, 2018
Agreed. This baby is clearly feeding. So he/she needed it. And also, the world doesn’t stop when your child needs to be fed. Regular moms work and feed simultaneously every single second of every single day. She just happens to be a model.
— Nicole Andersen (@nic_andersen) July 17, 2018
Overall, the response to Martin and baby Aria seems to have been positive. Martin thanked Sports Illustrated in her Instagram post, saying, “THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!!”
H/T NBC Washington