It’s 2009, overwhelming evidence points to the importance of exclusive and continued breastfeeding, yet legislators continue to negatively impact breastfeeding by wasting time and energy debating where and how mothers should breastfeed their babies in public!! Here is a clue for those worried about rising costs of health care- support breastfeeding every possible way to really reduce rising medical costs for babies, mothers, society!
Wisconsin (Bill 253.16) and North Dakota (Bill 2344) legislators have been debating public breastfeeding and recently passed legislation ensuring mothers of their rights to breastfeed in public as long as they are in an “authorized” location! Do you know mothers who prefer to sneak into unauthorized areas to breastfeed? Perhaps, if you know such a mother, she is merely trying to avoid the breastfeeding buttinskies that stare, worry about decency standards, and just don’t get breastfeeding! Thus far, Wisconsin has left out any modesty clauses to the bill; unfortunately North Dakota did not follow suit! ND legislators inserted this clause: "If the woman acts in a discreet and modest manner, a woman may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be." Is anyone thinking? How and who are going to enforce “modesty”? The breastfeeding buttinskies- right! ?
I would have loved to have been a part of these debates! What are these legislators thinking? Does anyone bother to debate modesty standards for television, public places, or the fashion industry which puts out seductive clothing for young girls, teen girls, young women, and even older women?
Related to this is the “Support the Boobs Campaign”- no I am not inserting my own words. Recently such an ad appeared on UTube (http://mediablips.dailyradar.com/); it was followed up with a lively but one-sided discussion on FOX News. The ad is supposed to raise awareness for breast cancer; it's purpose is to bring in money for breast cancer research which works to eradicate breast cancer. It’s almost impossible to connect the dots between what you see and the ad’s intended purpose and message. The ad features a buxom, scantily clad (two piece – white- bikini), blond sashaying around in a public area – I think Wisconsin and North Dakota better get into the debate about the appropriateness and modesty of this ad! Anyway, the ad shows men smiling hugely at the passing blond whereas the 'watching" women are either expressing surprise, bewilderment, or jealousy; it was hard to judge their precise emotions. Meanwhile, the model bounces around the ad displaying a self confident smile that only a model in a white revealing bikini could pull off. By the way, I really can't remember what the model looked like! I mean her face!
Several female guests were asked by Bill O’Reilly whether the ad was offensive; unfortunately their responses clearly missed key reasons why the ad IS offensive to women. First, both women acknowledged that few men would be able to connect the ad with its appropriate message (reducing breast cancer); yet both thought it would be an effective fund raiser for breast cancer research since the men will enjoy watching the UTube ad and send in a few bucks! And they seemed to think that was ok! Enjoying the video for all the wrong reasons but sending in money – why? To save boobs? Whose boobs? Save the boobs For whom? The ad signals once again that it is ok to sexualize women's body parts while selling things or messages. This does nothing to raise the dignity of women - we are the ones most often exploited by porn and sex businesses.
Next, is anyone thinking about the breast cancer victims who have had to undergo mastectomies in order to survive??? Are these women now supposed to feel less attractive that the woman featured in the ad? Are they suppposed to feel less of a woman because of the treatment they had to undergo in order to stay alive? Are the husbands supposed to compare their wife to this model? The ad is out and out insensitive and hurtful to these women especially.
Third, why isn’t a breastfeeding mother used in the ad? Breastfeeding is a much more important reason to “save the boobs” campaign than sexualizing breasts for "girl watchers." Did you know that only western societies regard the breasts as sexual?
Fourth, why the ad didn't feature sick women fighting breast cancer as a reason to save the boobs campaign is beyond me! The campaign should have been dubbed " save the woman campaign featuring healthy but “boob-less” mothers and wives in loving relationships.
By the way, I cringe inside everytime I write boob- that is such a crass word for God's handiwork! Ok – now that I have gotten really worked up about this campaign, I want to tell you that this campaign is not going to get a nickel of my money! Even though gifts might fund research the way I look at it, it also sells the wrong message about the dignity of women. I won't be a part of such campaigns. I say we boycott donations to breast cancer research using these ads until and unless they get it right regarding why we really should save the "boobs". Readers, tell me where I have gone off the rails.