Thursday, January 17, 2008

Booby Trap

VERY female post ahead, readers. Men, the weak stomached, or those easily offended take note.

Okay, I’m going to preface this post by saying I don’t care about breastfeeding.

I really, really don’t.

I don’t care if a mother breastfeeds her baby, gives it formula, or hands it over to a Brazilian wet nurse. I. Don’t. Care.

I also don’t care if a woman breastfeeds in public. If a woman wants to whip out her breasts - discreetly or not - it’s fine. I have the same equipment. I have seen breasts before.

Most people I know, even if they’re not women, have seen breasts at some time in their lives. It should not be a traumatic event.

I understand it’s mostly about choice when it comes to a baby’s feeding, blah, blah, blah. Feeding in public, blah, blah, blah.

The truth is that I don’t want to think about it. Despite the fact I don’t care and am not opinionated on the matter, does not mean I want to think about it. It makes me kind of queasy, and I’m perfectly happy to be in that time of my life when I don’t have to think about it.

I was, however, taken by surprise when I was driving home the other night and saw a giant billboard proclaiming “Babies were born to be breastfed.”

At first, I was like, “Oh, well. Yuck. Thanks for making me think about that.” I naturally assumed the board was sponsored by the La Leche League of Women Voters or whoever those people are.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the board was sponsored by the Ad Council.

The Ad Council?

The Ad Council is an award-winning, well-known advertising agency that does a great deal of excellent non-profit work. Usually for social causes, such as AIDS prevention, NAACP promotion, or violence prevention against women.

It seemed strange to me the Ad Council would do an ad for breastfeeding. I just didn’t get it.

And the ad itself seemed awkward.

I mean, I’m not even a mother, and I thought, “Don’t tell me how to feed my baby.”

An ad that makes people get defensive, even people with faulty reproductive organs, is not doing all that great of a job.

And the ad isn’t even accurate. Not all babies ARE born to be breastfed. How many of us were unable to take our mother’s milk at birth? And what about abandoned or adopted babies? THANK GOD for formula, alternative methods, and emerging technology.

Now, often times, I know it’s a woman’s choice of whether or not to breastfeed her baby. I’ve no doubt there are HUGE health benefits to be reaped by such a positive choice.

The Ad Council would have done better to post those benefits, such as “Babies who are breastfed….” Ending with some sort of healthy statistic.

As an ad consumer, I probably would have still thought “Yuck!” But it would have been followed by “Hmm…I didn’t know that.” And perhaps in the gazillion-to-never years it takes us to actually have a baby I might have been more persuaded to join the ranks of the naturalists.

My opinion is also a reflection of my outrage that nothing is private anymore. No topic is sacred.

Another billboard nearby claims “Grow with Hydroponics,” and features a well endowed woman in a bikini. For the longest time, I thought hydroponics were breast enhancement supplements.

I was surprised to learn it was actually a technology used to grow large plants, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. What it had to do with a well endowed woman in a bikini was - a little too sexual, in my opinion.

I get tired of all the cheesy Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis ads on TV. The lack of any body part and any external or internal function remaining even slightly private seems to be wishful thinking.

So, when I saw the breastfeeding ad, I thought, “Here we go again. Now I have to think about other women’s boobs secreting milk. Thanks SO much.”

It might as well have read “Vaginas were meant to be yeast-free!”

In my opinion, the Ad Council needs to stick to more solid social topics that most of us can get behind.

And avoid ones that make some of us go “Yuck!”

Although…this post is a little on the yucky side.


Alice said...

Oh no, you di'nt! Just kidding. I wholeheartedly agree. Is there no mystery or privacy left to anything anymore, for crying in a bucket? But...just mention breastfeeding, and it sets off a firestorm. The literature I got in the hospital after having a baby led me to believe that if I didn't breastfeed, the baby would either die of SIDS, grow up to be mentally disabled, or possibly spontaneously burst into flames.

Ann-Marie said...

I'm so glad you didn't have a flaming baby!

Mom said mothers today have too much time on their hands if they obsess.

I wasn't breastfed though, and look at me. Truly a mess.

Anyhoo, Mom also drank diet pop while she was pregnant which I truly believe affected my chances of becoming a Victoria Secret model. I hear Tyra's mom didn't touch the stuff.

Alice said...

Yeah, my mom was nervous that her mother-in-law would think she was a wacky 60s mom if she breastfed, so she asked the pediatrician if formula was ok and he said sure. So yeah, me and my brother? Total morons.

And Juliet--you should be ashamed of yourself! :-)

Heidi said...

Well, here's my two cents. I have been putting this off for a couple of days, so here goes.
Breastfeeding is not for everyone. I am living proof of that. I tried with all three and it did not work out. I just don't produce enough, (it is hard to produce enough for twins),probably the caffeine I had to drink to stay awake to breastfeed the baby didn't help either, but anyway. It lasted for a month with the last one.
I think that every baby deserves a shot at it, but if it does not work out -- great. Formula is not going to hurt a baby. My kids are proof of that.
As far as the benefits of breastfeeding, there may be some, but I had a mixture of formula and breastmilk and I am rarely sick and have no allergies; my brother was breastfed exclusively and he is sick alot and has an allergy; so I am not sure if that is totally true.
I do believe that a woman does need to breastfeed discreetly if she is going to do it as I don't think that it is appropriate to expose that human bottle for the world to see. TRUST ME, as a person sensitive to the issue, I still don't want to see some other woman's boob.
It is more cost effective to breastfeed as formula is expensive, especially if the baby is allergic.
I am more offended by the billboard in Chicago that has a lacy bra and panty clad woman than I am of a billboard advertising the benefits of breastfeeding.
ok, 'nough said.

Anonymous said...

Offended by a billboard about breastfeeding...but entertained by movies that are much more... hmmmm...I don't know, but I'm sorry you were upset. I guess I could think of a "gazillion" more offensive things in day to day "entertainment". I think breastfeeding is wonderful, if not always humanly possible. I wouldn't count feeding formula to babies on any list of sins. Funny that some women are made to feel that breastfeeding is the only right way while I was forced to be constantly vigil until leaving the hospital with all three of mine, just in case some nurse took it upon herself to serve my baby a bottle of glucose. I guess hospitals are as divided on the subject as women and mothers.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

sorry, I posted that last comment twice somehow...?

Ann-Marie said...

I'm glad the deleted post wasn't because someone was mad at me!

Tob, yes I've seen much more graphic stuff, including stylized violence and the lacy bra and panty ads Heidi referred to. I don't think I was offended or upset. Just sort of surprised and a little irritated.

Probably because I pay for what things I want to see, and breastfeeding (despite it all) makes me queasy.

But I can totally, wholeheartedly appreciate your point. Touche, my friend!

(How are you still calling me out on stuff? You'd think I'd have learned how to build an iron clad arguement by now! :-) No such luck.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, we can be offended or annoyed by things that are simply not offensive of annoying and, on the other hand, NOT flinch at what would normally be offensive... case in point: 90% of the time my husband calls me "Gorda/gordita": "fatty" as a term of endearment. It doesn't even rankle me, wrankle? me, but I wouldn't care for anyone else to take up the habit. =)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but lately all my comments appear twice! If this one doubles I'm not gonna bother to delete it... ugh.