#Opinion

Why Diipa Khosla’s Breast Pump Cannes Dress Is More Than A Fashion Statement

breast pumps at cannes, Influencer Diipa Khosla At Cannes 2021, diipa
Wearing breast pumps at Cannes, the most glamourous fashion event in the world, would have seemed like a far stretch some years ago. The red carpet walkway is for dolling up in billowing, brilliant gowns that will make heads and cameras turn. Remember Aishwarya Rai’s literal Cinderella gown from 2017?

So what happens when a woman – an Indian influencer at that – opts for breast pumps attached to her Cannes dress? It’s a sure shot showstopper. Now that will make heads turn. And god knows the issue the influencer tried to highlight with her outfit could do with all that attention.

Diipa Khosla, a lifestyle and fashion blogger, walked the Cannes red carpet in France for the third time this year. But this time around, Khosla, a new mother, had a statement to make that went well beyond and deeper than fashion.

“What does being a ‘mother’ truly mean?” she asked in a long heartfelt caption on Instagram, alongside snaps of her unique ensemble. “To me, being a mother means more than giving birth to a child.”

Between society policing and instructing women on how to be ‘perfect’ mothers for years, a million stereotypes have taken root. So penetrative is this dictation of the motherhood rulebook that it finds entitlement even in telling mothers how to feed their babies – whether through direct breastfeeding or formulas or stored breast milk.

While breastfeeding is the popular choice in India, it is by no means the only one. Working mothers always multitasking or those with health issues will know that breast pumps are a convenient alternative. Both methods ensure nutrition reaches the baby in full measure. Pros and cons are listed for both breastfeeding and pumping – leaving the choice to mothers who know best what their bodies and babies will adjust to.

Why then are women pulled up for picking what’s more suitable for them and their baby? Must social shame, stigma and suspicion around assistance tools prevent women from relieving the stresses of motherhood? Does turning to technology depreciate or pollute the value of motherhood?

Bringing Awareness And Empowerment Together With Breast Pumps At Cannes

“I’ve decided on supplementing at this stage (a combination of both breastfeeding and using a formula)… Moreover, while I’m away for a two-day business trip, I prepared for my absence by breast-pumping multiple times prior to my departure,” says Khosla, who is routinely charged by fans and followers for going against the mainstream tide of relying solely on breastfeeding.

“I chose to shed light on this topic due to the countless messages or comments from people who’ve questioned and judged my decisions as a mother – An issue I’m certain that most women endure on social media. Whether I choose to breastfeed my daughter or not, should not be the subject of anybody’s conversation,” she asserts.

Ironically and hypocritically, but not unexpectedly, this criticism of breastfeeding styles and choices pours in despite the Indian society’s longstanding aversion to and vulgarisation of mothers feeding babies; especially in public.

If people choose to go hush on the subject of breastfeeding, then why not go the full mile in laying off it altogether and letting mothers decide for themselves?

Views expressed are the author’s own.