Breastfeeding Mom Edited Out of Violent TV Show to Protect Viewers

jenny outlander

The TV show Outlander, set in 1743, is known for blood and guts and death and violence, but it's the scene where the character Jenny Fraser (played by Laura Donnelly) expresses milk from her engorged breasts that made one network censor the broadcast. Exactly what the network was trying to shield us from is unclear -- there is nothing obscene about breast milk and lactating mothers, as we know.


Obviously not everyone shares that sentiment. Shockingly, this took place in Canada with the network Showcase. Starz airs the show in the US. Canada has a better breastfeeding rate than we do in the States, but the notion that breastfeeding and breast milk is too much for people to see has no problem crossing the border. Yes, the United States, land of dreadful maternity leave with the popular notion that women should cover up when breastfeeding aired the scene when Jenny, who recently gave birth, heads out on horseback with Claire to rescue a man. Beautiful storyline.

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Jenny has to take a moment to relieve her engorged breasts (riding on a horse must have been torture) and that's the scene Canada's network Showcase edited out. America showed Jenny hand expressing in a cup. Thank goodness we didn't deem that obscene. Showcase realized the err of its ways (after a slew of complaints) and will be re-adding that scene in and re-broadcasting.

Laura Donnelly, who plays Jenny, said of the "controversial" scene:

We’re very used to seeing breasts displayed sexually on-screen, and I thought this was an opportunity to show breasts for what they’re really there for, in a completely nonsexual manner, that really turns the tables.

It’s an absolute necessity at that point for her, and she doesn’t think twice about it. It’s not something that should be hidden away in any sense, and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

I'm upset that someone at the network cut the scene, thinking it was too much for TV. I'm glad people gave voice opposed to this edit -- enough so to make them put the scene back in. Still, the fact that this is even a conversation anymore is getting tired. This was part of the storyline -- and amongst all the violence they left in, this is what was edited out? This is one of the things wrong with society. We'll share videos of kids being hit by their mothers, we flock to movies with gruesome war scenes, we delight in zombie films where people's legs are dinner, but we shudder at the thought of a woman expressing breast milk.

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Like Donnelly said, "it's not something that should be hidden away ... certainly nothing to be ashamed of." Breastfeeding, breast milk, expressing breast milk -- it's natural. And it needs to be said, that scene shows how the character Jenny is even more powerful and a force. No one should take that power away.

What do you think of that network cutting (and now re-adding) that scene?


Image via Outlander_Starz/Instagram

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