My Body Is Not Vulgar: Kyrgyz Prez Daughter On Breastfeeding Debate

Aliya Shagieva

Aliya Shagieva, Kyrgyz President’s youngest daughter, has made it clear that a woman has every right to breastfeed her child whenever and wherever required. In April, Aliya, had posted a picture of herself in her underwear breastfeeding her baby and faced severe backlash for it.

Opening up to The BBC about the narrow mentality our society has towards women breastfeeding their babies, she said, “My body is not vulgar.” She recounted how she had to take down the pictures following the criticism. This shows how culturally dysfunctional this society is to criticize a mother for feeding her child, she said.

She clarified that what was termed as a “scandalous” scene is the pure nature of motherhood. This raises one question: Why do we need to hyper-sexualise of the female form?

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“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 BBC Kyrgyz

Not just social media users but Aliya’s parents, President Almazbek Atambayev and his wife Raisa, also disapproved of her posting the pictures.

“They really didn’t like it. And it is understandable because the younger generation is less conservative than their parents,” Aliya said, while mentioning how unhappy they were when found out about it.

READ: Kudos to this mom who pumps breast milk while running a marathon

Aliya  is a regular social media user who keeps posting her own artwork and portraits of herself and her husband and baby.

“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,” Aliya echoed.

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Hailing from the outskirts of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, Aliya and her family live in a post-Soviet traditional Muslim society. While normal people there follow orthodox ideologies, Aliya often expresses a bold and very different attitude.

“My mum received messages from her ‘friends’ about me,” she said. “Now that I am a mother myself, I know what my mum went through raising me.”

Aliya strongly supports awareness of children with Down’s Syndrome and animal rights, but certainly has no intention of getting into politics.

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Feature Image Credit: BBC

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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