Does debating BF/FF send wrong messages?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2009
Does debating BF/FF send wrong messages?
5
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 4:13pm

I was just reading a blog post "Just Say No to Wars Over Breastfeeding" http://thefeministbreeder.com/just-say-no-to-wars-over-breastfeeding/ and it got me thinking about our debate.

Some quotes jumped out at me:

=> Breastfeeding – and mothers – deserve far more respect on such an important topic. We can all argue on ParentDish over Jon & Kate drama, or whether texting at the playground makes you a disengaged parent, but serious public health issues like breastfeeding and reproductive rights deserve more than trite bickering.

=> I would encourage us all to shift the focus off of the cyclical “Breast vs Formula” debate, and start talking about the real issues. Says Amie Newman at RH Reality Check,

“work towards equality and justice and we’ll allow women to make decisions they feel are right for themselves.”

=> That’s what we need to be discussing now. Issues of “guilt” are just a straw man argument that distract women from the real barriers to breastfeeding. Creating a soap opera out of this issue is like pulling the fire alarm so someone can loot the building.

And from the comments:

=> “The trumped-up phenomenon dubbed the ‘Mommy Wars’ is an effective check on the ambitions of the American mother. It keeps women in a perpetual state of guilt, shame, and inadequacy– all this without involving anyone but wealthy white women! Complaining about what women ‘should’ do avoids serious debate about the consequences of economic inequality.”

=> I’m sick of the “debate” being scientific evidence vs. mothers’ feelings (aka guilt over not breast-feeding); that isn’t a debate.

=> In the end though, I think you’re right that it’s not even really a debatable issue, it’s about informing and empowering women.

What do you think?



~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.


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~*~ Catherine, mom to three grown men - Jason, Michael & Joshua and Granma to Christopher & Leia.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 4:35pm

"... but serious public health issues like breastfeeding and reproductive rights deserve more than trite bickering."

Agree, which is why I'm here and not on a site involved in trite bickering.

"...cyclical “Breast vs Formula” debate, and start talking about the real issues."

Um, just what ARE the "real issues" if not the risks of not breastfeeding?!?

“work towards equality and justice and we’ll allow women to make decisions they feel are right for themselves.”

Equality and justice are useless window dressing without KNOWLEDGE. Dismissing the factual risks of not breastfeeding denies the access to equality and justice.

"Issues of “guilt” are just a straw man argument that distract women from the real barriers to breastfeeding."

Agree. I'm glad we address the "guilt" issue when it comes up.

"“The trumped-up phenomenon dubbed the ‘Mommy Wars’ is an effective check on the ambitions of the American mother."

I agree here too. The "mommy wars" really seem to be only in the popular media. Or "blogosphere".

"=> I’m sick of the “debate” being scientific evidence vs. mothers’ feelings (aka guilt over not breast-feeding); that isn’t a debate."

I agree. The debate is about the risk of not breastfeeding vs infants getting nature's intended food.

"=> ... it’s not even really a debatable issue, it’s about informing and empowering women."

Wholeheartedly agree with this part!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 4:36pm

>>it’s about informing and empowering women.<<

I only read your post, not the blog (yet), but this quote stood out to me. The fact that "it's about informing and empowering women" makes it a great debate topic - IMO.

If it is not important, if women are informed, or if women have the resources they need, then it would not be debate worthy. Alas, IMO, none of those criteria are met and if we do not make an effort to raise awareness, then we will remain a formula feeding culture and continue to get one sided information about infant feeding from the pharmaceutical companies like Wyeth, Ross, Abbott, etc.






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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 4:48pm

Another snip-it from the blog:

>>The other blogger’s piece, which was published elsewhere today, was titled “Quit picking on moms who don’t breast-feed.” I was supposed to have some sort of counter-argument to that statement. But, exactly what is there to argue with about that? No mom should be picked on. I don’t think anybody IS picking on these moms. I just think we’re trying to give women information and help them meet their own goals instead of sabotaging them – right?

See? There – I fixed it. Nothing left to argue over. <<

In that context, I agree. There is nothing to debate.






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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 5:30pm
I don't think debating it sends the wrong message. Debating it sends all kinds of different messages, which are perceived in all kinds of different ways by those who participate in it or read about it. I think not debating it would be a problem, and impossible anyway since people are driven to debate it and want to.

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

John W. Gardner



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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 10:28pm

>>I don't think debating it sends the wrong message. Debating it sends all kinds of different messages, which are perceived in all kinds of different ways by those who participate in it or read about it.<<

That's what I thought at first. When I read the blog and the invite to debate on AOL, then I realized why the blogger opted not to participate in that debate.






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