This will be the final post from the Breastfeeding and Feminism conference. It has been an interesting two days, I’ve learned more about breastfeeding than I ever might have wanted to, but have also learned what it looks like when a new group grapples with the idea of reproductive justice. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but particularly to use. I appreciate the efforts to make these connections and even as an exercise I do believe it broadens all of our movements.
Now, on to the final keynote speech of the conference:
Jane Brown, PhD UNC-CH
Media and Breastfeeding: Friend or Foe?
The media is now controlled by huge conglomerates–10 media companies now control 80% of our media.Advertising does have an effect on habits: One study found that breastfeeding declines as hand-feeding ad in parenting magazines increase.
Breastfeeding is a tough sell. There are few products to market, you may evoke negative feelings about breastfeeding, on top of the infant formula lobby.
New research says that when people see images of women breastfeeding, it reminds us of our creatureliness and may evoke death anxiety. They think this is related to a new state of “terror management” provoked by this post-9/11 culture.
<Clip from Chicago Hope shown about a 6 week old who dies from dehydration and malnutrition due to breastfeeding> The episode was promoted by the pharmaceutical companies who make formula. Based on a case where a woman was convicted of manslaughter for the death of her child due to malnutrition. This is an example of “entertainment education.”
Use new media! (woo-hoo, plug for bloggers)
Bumper sticker idea: Jesus was breastfed, Latch on to breastfeeding, Breastfeeding is green
Jane’s vision: Every time you see a baby on television, they are being breastfed. It’s not the conflict, or the controversy, its just the norm.