Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Tyranny of Formula-Feeding
I just read, "The Tyranny of Breast-Feeding," by Elisabeth Badinter in the March 2012 Harper's Magazine. It's a "feminist" rant against La Leche League, rather hard for me to stomach because I was a La Leche League leader for 10 years. I am somewhat amazed by her perspective. She has a wonderful detailed history about the founding of La Leche League. And seems to have some information, the facts, correct but her interpretation of those facts are really off-base.
In a NY Times article, entitled "In Defense of the Imperfect Mother," it states that Ms. Badinter says that "the baby has now become 'the best ally of masculine domination.' The impression I get is that Badinter believes that La Leche League is anti-feminist, that it's political objective is to make the stay-at-home mother the ideal. She believes that La Leche League's agenda is to make breastfeeding a moral decision.
Interesting. From my perspective, La Leche League's efforts from the beginning were to give mothers information on a wide range of reasons to breastfeed. What always interested me was the amount of medical/scientific papers La Leche League collected in order to present a rational reason for women to consider breastfeeding. And even back in 1982, when I attended my first La Leche League meeting, there was plenty of medical and scientific evidence regarding the health benefits to mother and baby regarding breastfeeding. Back then, I wondered why this evidence seemed to be suppressed, pages and pages of studies showing the risks of infant formula. Yet the public never heard it back then, just like the public has no idea of the patenting of human milk components to be used in baby formulas. The risks of infant formula were drowned out by an industry who controls the media. And nothing has changed much since then because the industry still controls the media.
How much control does the infant formula industry have? This article is an absolute example of the control the industry has over public knowledge. Ms. Badinter is a professor at the Ecole Polytechnique in France ( former military academy, a engineering school). But she is also a billionaire according to Bloomberg Market. A billionaire who inherited her stake in Publicis Group after the death of her father. Publicis is the 3rd-largest advertising agency in the world with $7.6 billion in 2010 revenue. Who is one of their clients, Nestle.
So is this the tyranny of breastfeeding or actually the tyranny of Nestle. Feminism has become a capitalist game. Feminism, as designed by billionaires who envision a world of men-like women. Liberation? Nestle, used slave labor during WWII (as well as some well-know pharmaceutical companies). And we are to believe that Nestle has an interest in freedom/liberation of women?
We are to believe that Ms. Badinter's only interest is in the feminist perspective of child-rearing? Give me a break.
Copyright 2012 Valerie W. McClain