Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Breastfeeding and Feminism has a 7 year itch....

It truly is amazing how quickly - or slowly - things change. When CGBI first opened its doors in 2006, the main breastfeeding issue in our region was... whether or not we should work on the issue (!)

Today, the issues are increasingly complex and rewarding to address: How long should we breastfeed? Can we co-sleep and breastfeed? Which of the Ten Steps has the most impact? Is every business and every child care sufficiently supporting mothers in mik expression and feeding?

Perhaps my favorite headache-provoking question is: IS SUPPORTING BREASTFEEDING A PRO- OR ANTI-FEMINIST ISSUE?

Paige Hall Smith and I have been discussion the Breastfeeding and Feminism Series as we are planning its 8th iteration, March 21/22, 2013, and we are muddling around with - what should we call it? Somehow, we have not been able to find resources for this conference under the current title, but we know we have a unique and special series that has the specific intent to explore breastfeeding from women's perspectives, not as a child nutrition issue.

Our book based on the 5th conference in the series is out: Smith PH, Hausman BL, Labbok M. Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraintes and Realities, Rutgers Press.  We are hoping that this book will be used to address some of the macinations coming from recent news articles that complain that supporting breastfeeding is a form of entrapment for women. Dear friends, the feminist movement was born to gain respect for women and the things they have to offer.  Instead, we see writings in which feminist are disrespecting women's own abilities, disrespecting each family's desire to have healthy children, disrespecting  that women should be enabled to act on their best judgement based on non-biased information: these are not feminist ideals that we were fighting for 40-50 years ago, and such disrespect for other women should not be part of feminism today.

So, should we change our name to Women and Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding: A women's issue, or should we stay with Breastfeeding and Feminism?

Personally, with the way so-called feminists are writing about the issue these days, I wonder....