Please allow me to submit the following letter in response to the May 27 article, “’Give them your breast’: Mexico City uses topless models to promote breastfeeding.”
The Mexican children’s advocacy campaign “Give them your breasts” is controversial in more ways than one, but last week’s article, “Mexico City uses images of topless models to promote breast feeding” could have gone deeper. Mexicans and individuals abroad vehemently condemn the campaign, which intends to have slender, fair-skinned, and topless models represent the diverse population of Mexican women in a way that struck many as more sexual than maternal. The problem with the campaign is that it perpetuates the very patriarchal, classist mentality that causes obstacles to breast feeding. Sexualizing an idealized representation of the female form fails to promote feelings of widespread inclusion in the campaign. The faces of wealthy actresses preach at poor women demanding actions they cannot deliver. How is a woman expected to breastfeed her child when she spends the bulk of her day working in a society that condemns public breastfeeding? Should a woman be shamed for not having access to adequate nutrition? The campaign’s effort to appear as a voice of the people appears out of touch, catering to an elite group of women, who probably are able to breast feed their children in the first place. People enjoy discussing where the campaign went wrong, but they should also be working to determine why pseudo-progressive family campaigns keep arising. It is crucial to note that the campaign is not simply out of touch but reflects how even women’s organizations remain trapped by the traditional, patriarchal, and elitist values they ought to be criticizing.
Claudia Barrett, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
In response to News.com.au article “‘Give them your breast’: Mexico City uses topless models to promote breastfeeding.”
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