In many ways, owning a body is an excercise in shame. Almost everything your body makes - sweat, tears, snot - is to be eradicated, wiped away, prevented, and certainly not discussed. Excretions, we're taught, are not a polite conversation topic.
But some bodies are capable of making something kind of awesome. And some can make a lot of it. And yet, no one ever brags about it! You never hear someone casually drop into a conversation, "oh man, I made enough baby food today to feed six angry toddlers." No one ever says with jocular pride, "you wouldn't believe how much I put down today - personal best!" No one gets a high five in the lactation room...hell, my boss can barely bring himself to say the words "lactation room". He calls it, gulping, "y'know - the room where you do your thing." And yet, c'mon - you KNOW if bros could lactate (and yeah, I know they sort of can, but this is not the point) they would never shut up about that ish.
Being able to lactate doesn't make you superior to anyone else. Babies do just fine on formula, and no one should be required to breastfeed/pump if they don't want to. But one thing I think gets left out of the discussion - if you can do it and you want to, it's kind of cool. It's the one time a woman can write her name on the snow. You can squirt it at your significant other if they're being obnoxious. Just imagine - a pump off, prizes given to the best producer, all proceeds donated to the local NICU. When was the last time a competitive sport produced something of value as a by-product?
So, can we break out of the lactation closet? Sure, I know we have the lactivists, and the nurse-in-public brigade, and they all do good work (well, some of them are a little too into it, but we love them anyways). But hey - can we take some macho pride in what we do? Pumping and nursing takes as much time as a serious hobby...it would be fun if we could treat it like one. More fun, at least, than having to hide in a broom closet for an hour a day and telling your coworkers you're "in a meeting."