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Twitter storm over 'official' Swedish breasts
The @sweden curator used this image, not of herself, to start the debate

Twitter storm over 'official' Swedish breasts

Published: 22 Mar 2012 14:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Mar 2012 14:15 GMT+01:00

A Swedish woman serving as the curator of Sweden's official Twitter account has posted pictures of herself breastfeeding and whipped up an online storm just days after her takeover of the account.

The woman, Natashja Blomberg, refers to herself as a feminist and socialist who “refuses to conform to ideals” and who “talks excessively about gender roles and their expectations”.

Using Sweden's official Twitter account, @sweden, the self-confessed lover of the microblogging site has been regularly tweeting her views on gender-related topics and people have been listening – and giving overwhelmingly positive feedback, she told The Local.

On Wednesday, Blomberg began posting pictures from her personal breast feeding experiences.

The first came directly after a picture of a woman with a low cut top with the caption, “Anyone offended by this picture?”

Soon followed a photo of Blomberg herself with an infant feeding at her breast, and the caption: “How about this one then?”

Shortly after, a tweet was posted with an image of two babies feeding at once.

“I also tandem breastfed the brats. Great for sibling bonding!” she wrote, followed by the hashtag #breastfeedingriot.

The pictures roused a heated internet conversation, leading people from around the world to share their views and habits when it comes to breastfeeding in public, and Blomberg has embraced the opportunity to rid Sweden of such ignorance.

“Eating is a basic need and what the woman is doing is not showing off her tits or trying to offend, she is just trying to feed her baby,” Blomberg told The Local.

“Breastfeeding has enough hassle and stress surrounding it all WITHOUT having to worry about some stiff person getting offended. And people get offended by everything these days, its not up to them to set the rules.

“People get offended by homosexuals or fat people in skimpy clothing. Should they be able to demand that they hide under blankets or stay at home? That kind of attitude puts women fifty years back and confines them in their homes”.

However, even though the tweets are receiving a fair share of positive response, Sweden has been proven recently to be overly sensitive on the issue.

In a story published in October by The Local, a survey revealed that three out of four young Swedes think that breastfeeding mothers ought to keep their tops on in restaurants, bars and on public transport.

While the study showed that up to 85 percent of Swedes believe breastfeeding to be a good idea, the majority stated that it is an act better kept private.

According to the study, the least appropriate places to breastfeed is in a restaurant (20 percent), a bar (24 percent) or on the public transport system (18 percent).

However, Blomberg claims she has only once come across a person in public who was offended by her bare breasts, and advised The Local that a “friendly ‘fuck off’” should be enough to deter anyone taking issue. But, the majority of people are tolerant, she says, or at least too polite to mention it.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Twitter account has been dubbed by promoters as the most democratic Twitter account in the world and has over 27,000 followers – a figure that has been steadily growing since Blomberg took the helm this week.

And the authorities at Sweden.se are beaming with the success of the project, and with Blomberg in particular.

“We are happy with Natashja as @sweden. She’s representing herself, she’s true to her normal Twitter feed, as we ask all curators to be. We want curators that like to debate and that like to have a dialogue with their followers,” said Inger Ridderstolpe, project manager with Sweden.se to The Local.

“Natashja answers all questions she gets and she does it with humour and self-respect. She is not afraid of speaking her mind and she does it! Equality is something Sweden like to promote and we’re happy that she does it in her way”.

While the actual influence of Blomberg's tweeting is impossible to measure, she continues to speak her mind, and in terms of breastfeeding at least, has some advice for those who don’t support her ideals.

“Mothers, keep feeding without shame and without covering up! Anyone who doesn’t like it can put a blanket over THEIR head," she wrote.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

15:26 March 22, 2012 by zooeden
Oh women from Sweden you are disgusting, all you prostitutes not like our women in Kabul where you can only see the beautiful nails!!!

Cmon people get a grip, jeez!!! On the other hand since 70% of the swedish population dont know tweeter then I guess its just marketing!!!
15:26 March 22, 2012 by Svensksmith
Be proud of your boobs. Show them with pride!
15:32 March 22, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
I love when Swedish women breast feed in public and don't cover up!! Bare tits ftw!!
15:46 March 22, 2012 by hayja83
@zooeden, with that attitude about Swedish women you should leave the country immediately. If you think they are so disgusting why don't you just f$#k off already, there remains many people wanting to move to Sweden in your place who appreciate this level of feminism.
15:55 March 22, 2012 by teslar
#4, I think your sarcasm detector may be broken. You should have that looked at.
15:59 March 22, 2012 by RobinHood
Ah yes. Sweden has an official national Twitterer who likes to titillate the world by tweeting pictures of her breasts!!!! Another giant step forward for Swedish feminism - and dignity. There's only so many stories about Swedish sexual eccentricity the world is prepared to tolerate, before it stops being quaint and amusing and starts becoming just plain weird and scary. No wonder the tourist board can't get anybody to visit the capital of Scandinavia anymore.

Oh well, in for a penny in for a pound, will the newly-single Mr Reinfeldt be tweeting us his tackle anytime soon? Will Sweden's Eurovision song entrant get them out for the lads on her big night? Will Sweden's ladies Olympic football team be making a similar giant step forward for feminism? I hope so, after all, "anyone who doesn't like it can put a blanket over THEIR head". Sweden's official national twitterer has spoken.

And how much does an official national twitterer actually cost the tax payer?
16:01 March 22, 2012 by Vill
I'm not certain I understand why a country has a twitter account. One person is not capable of speaking for a country. Her opinions and actions are her's rather than Sweden's.

Natashja, please meet me for lunch. I am hungry and it looks like you have enough to spare. :D
16:13 March 22, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
SMDH @RobinHood. You have NO idea how Twitter or the official Sweden twitter account works, do you? Also, if you bothered to actually read the article on Sweden's tourism you'd have learned that it is UP....alot! Seems like someone just reads the sensational Local headlines but not the whole story.
16:15 March 22, 2012 by johan rebel
What authorities exactly are in charge of this twitter account.

Twitter = the vuvuzela of the Internet
16:51 March 22, 2012 by Abe L
With tits like that, she's more then allowed to show them in public and post pictures of them on the internet. In fact, we should encourage other good looking getting access to the account to do the same.

Usually feminists are obese mingers with facial hair.
17:01 March 22, 2012 by RobinHood
@ Spuds # 3

It's a sexual offence in Sweden to stare at women breasts when they are feeding their babies. Mind your distasteful little hobby doesn't earn you a well-deserved place on Sweden's sexual offenders' register, and even more public humiliation than you have bought on yourself already.

You can follow me on my very own Twitter account (privately funded) if you want counselling for your embarrasing peccadillo.
18:15 March 22, 2012 by Opinionfool
@RobinHood

"Ah yes. Sweden has an official national Twitterer who likes to titillate the world by tweeting pictures of her breasts!!!!"

Social network web sites have bizarre rules governing what body parts may or may not be shown. Facebook in particular will remove pictures of bares nipples even if it is clear from the presence of an infant that the woman is in engaged in breastfeeding.

Blomberg may be attempting to raise the general issue of censorship over images of womens bodies in natural activities. Good for her I say for taking the opportunity as the voice of Sweden on Twitter to bring the discussion into the mainstream..
18:31 March 22, 2012 by stevo1
breastfeeding is good, in public is good, at home is good, research proves better brain development and immune system for children.

breastfeeding isn't new (of course), and infants demand food when they want it.

Maybe you adolescent minded twits who bag mothers' nurturing their child would all prefer the loud high pitched screaming of a child who is hungry while you sip your coffee in a cafe?
18:47 March 22, 2012 by libertarianism
Blomberg: blah, blah, blah, "tandem breastfeed the brats" blah blah blah "feck off" blah blah blah...

Breastfeed, fine. Expletives, whatever. Refering to young infants as "the brats"? That's horrible.

Based on this article, Blomberg sounds like a loudmouth narcisst... I imagine her shouting all the time, like some kind of coked-up carny. Ugh. :(
21:30 March 22, 2012 by SeaBunnie
@libertarianism, the word brat(s) does not always mean a negative thing. It all depends on the circumstances or situation around the word being used. It actually can be an endearing word, believe it or not. Which was obviously the case when she said this.

You definitely would not call a stranger this, or their children. Compare it to the swedish word Gubbe/Gumma.
22:15 March 22, 2012 by Joejitzu
Just 'cause she dances go-go, It don't make her a ho, no - Wyclef Jean
23:10 March 22, 2012 by libertarianism
Re #15, Thank you for sharing your experience with this word. I understand there are many English speakers in many places. However, for me, and probably a few million others at least, Blomberg sounds awful. Many of her words and much of her phrasing brings only negative connotations. I understand her message, but the delivery stinks. I find her terribly abrasive. :(

Guess I can add a mental footnote that "brats, feck off, and tits" are all positive in Swenglish. Live and learn...
07:26 March 23, 2012 by JMSN
Oh my goodness, this issue is so ridiculous, I mean, Swedes accept going to the Sauna naked and jumping in a lake with their dicks, asses and whatnot au plein air, and that's cool! But God forbid a woman should breastfeed her child in public... I tell you, this Swedes should really learn to think outside the 'box', you know, everything has to be categorised for them: "If I see your breasts in a oublic Sauna for no reason that's fine, at a restaurant for an impperative reason, no way"!
08:26 March 23, 2012 by si
Libertarianism - not too bright huh ?
10:32 March 23, 2012 by EP
Most democratic twitter account ... as long as the views expressed are consistent with Swedish views ;-) ... democracy ... the Swedish way ;-)
16:24 March 23, 2012 by libertarianism
#19, Again. In Swenglish and British English, this phrasing may be fine. But I can assure you of at least one geographic region, populated by tens of millions of native English speakers, where Blomberg would be perceived as exceedingly abrasive.

Perhaps if I had gone to butler school, I could have learned this "proper" English. :|
16:53 March 23, 2012 by OUIJA
@SeaBunnie # 15

Sorry, but you are wrong. The adjective "brat" ( obnoxious child, annoying child), had always had a bad connotation. It does not depend on any circumstance at all, and most of all, it has never been an "endearing" word. She said what whe said, because she has good boobies, but no brains at all. And there are no semantics involved here.

If I baby is hungry, the baby must be fed by the mammy, regardless of where they are. The difference here is that many

mammies think that they are alone and the almost undress themselves to feed their crying babies. The scenes are disgusting a they show only a lack of good taste and manners.

Bloomberg is certinly not a good example on how to feed your baby (ies) in a public place. There are rules for doing this. It is not a matter of "I do how I want to do it and it is my problem"
18:32 March 23, 2012 by SeaBunnie
@OUIJA #22 Sorry but you are wrong, brat can be a form of slang, perhaps in the way I was referring to, depends on where one lives and how they speak. Usually on a more humorous level, when one has been teasing someone in a fun humorous way, the person laughs back calling them a brat.

I personally, take this as a compliment, when I am called this after joking around with someone I know, and teasing them or being humorous. Why? Because I know that I accomplished my task to make them smile and laugh. I've done my job well.

I also failed to mention there is another way of referring to a brat, due to circumstances or situations.

I quote a copy and past from the Urban Dictionary

"BRAT

short for "born raised and transferred" applies to kids whose parent(s) are / were in one of the armed services (army, navy, air force). Due to the fact that servicemen/servicewomen rarely stayed at one base for more than two or three years at a time before being re-assigned to another... sort of like a peace time "tour of duty" kids referred to themsleves as brats. also known as a service brat

first guy: hey what do you do?

brat: oh i'm a service brat"

This is another form of the word I have been called throughout my life, since I WAS a Base Brat (Air Force). At the off-base school we were always referred to as the Base Brats almost as an identification to the different groups in school. Just as there were the Preps, and other names. Base Brats were looked upon in a good way with respect to the US Military, not to mention it was due to this, that we had extra grants or funds which built one of the best looking schools, with tons of amenities, which all were grateful to.

But obviously, this is not what Blomberg was referring, to. But I just wanted to make my point that there ARE in fact other meanings behind words which will NOT be found in the dictionary!

Now back to the subject at hand....
20:10 March 24, 2012 by OUIJA
@seabunny¨

You made your point in a very well documented form. But, do you really think that this Blomberg was using the word brat in the way you mean? Don't think so. I think that she is a spoiled brat trying to get attention in the Twitter account she is responsible of. O.K.

Boing back to the subject of the story, let her feed her baby. Let her show her boobies. Let her be nacked as requested and I will request the selling of the tickets to see an erotic show in public.
06:24 March 25, 2012 by volvoman9
When will we realize that the female breast is not a sex organ. They are glands whose purpose is to feed the offspring. When in doubt whip them out I always say.
09:58 March 25, 2012 by OUIJA
@volvoman9

No kidding! You just discovered the lukewarm water. Thanks for the info. Without you, I would not know about that.
19:48 March 26, 2012 by Bolinb
Who cares? If a woman wants to feed in public let her, Those who want can watch and those who don't can look away. Those want to join in should be arrested. :P you see more naked breasts on TV than mothers feeding their babies.
15:53 March 28, 2012 by tomas R
Hello!

I can see the nice woman in the picture!
00:54 March 29, 2012 by Coalbanks
A Canadian MP was criticised for breastfeeding in House of Commons lately. When the media asked the Speaker: Why?SAnswer: It is not allowed to eat in the House!
19:36 March 29, 2012 by Jeff10
Instead of naming it Sweden Twitter, why not name it Sweden Titter. This surely will increase the number of followers.
06:06 March 31, 2012 by dratman
Of course women should be allowed to breastfeed their babies wherever they need to! People who deny that are fools.

The underlying problem is that we humans have only partial control over our instincts. When we see individuals partially or wholly unclothed, we are subjected to rushes of brain chemicals which are overpowering in many situations. It then becomes difficult to function socially or in a work environment. People naturally wish to avoid such disturbing, embarrassing and inconvenient feelings.

These problems are shared by all of us. It is not our fault that we receive such powerful signals as a result of seeing perfectly natural images, such as a woman feeding her baby or an unclothed adult.

Serious problems arise when people believe it is the responsibility of others to help them restrain their instincts, by always being covered up and so forth. Most of the time it is females who are criticized. Yet it is typically we males who have the most severe problems with our sexual behavior. There is no point blaming that on the women.
01:26 April 2, 2012 by cantfry55
The only thing that would make this better would be a picture of her fixing me a sandwich. :)
05:57 April 27, 2012 by LordCthulhu
All glory to the Hypno....Swedish boobs rule!!!
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