The photographer who snapped a widely shared picture of a woman breastfeeding her son while wearing her husband’s firefighter uniform said critics of the controversial image are detracting from its intended message of female empowerment.
Tara Ruby, a Texas-based photographer, said the photo she took was meant to be positive and inspiring to mothers of newborns who nurse while juggling demanding jobs, Las Cruces Sun-News reports. “The message is that you can be a full-time breast-feeding mom and work a full-time job and do both really well,” Ruby told the newspaper.
The firefighter’s wife, whose name has not yet been released, was “standing as a model for all the moms that actually are firefighters that are breast-feeding,” the photographer said.
Instead, her husband — a New Mexico firefighter, who works in Las Cruces — may face disciplinary action after an investigation into the photo, according to KFOX-TV. However, the fire department’s policy on uniforms does not specifically say if a spouse is allowed to wear a uniform, KFOX reports.
“They’re not supporting the normalizing of breast-feeding … or supporting anyone coming in and breast-feeding in uniform,” Ruby said. “It just seems like it’s a double standard.”