If the reason every new mother you show on your programmes about having babies is not nursing is that you’re worried that the right-wing-nuts who denounce evolution and who lobby against the separation of church and state might pull their consumer dollars from the advertisers who fund your programming, you need to step sideways into the really-and-truly world. Those consumers might think it is *shameful* to show a nipple or to bare a breast because they think that the only reason God created dirty pillows* is so that filthy perverts who fondle themselves through long trenchcoats in stuffy movie theatres will have something to look at, but those consumers, broadcasters, are wrong. Whether you believe God created dirty pillows or whether you believe that dirty pillows evolved so that mammals can feed their young, the fact remains that breasts are not dirty. Let me just say that again, in case you missed it the first time:
Breasts are not dirty.
Unless they’re covered in mud, of course, but the sense of the word ‘dirty’ I’m using here is ‘naughty’ or ‘unclean’ and not ‘unwashed’. Anyway.
So if you have a problem with breastfeeding, that is seriously your problem. And I hope the reason you’re showing new mothers bottle-feeding their babies isn’t that the formula companies are paying your bills. Because the formula companies are parented (if you’ll pardon the pun) by the drug companies, which have more than enough money, thank you very much. What message is this sending to new mothers and to women who are hoping to become mothers? This is sending the message that it’s “normal” to bottle-feed your babies.
I’m not beating around the bush on this one. It is ABnormal to bottle-feed your babies. What is NORMAL is to feed your babies the milk that you make out of your very own breasts. And the NORMAL way to deliver that milk is to shove your teat into your squawler’s mouth. That is the way you are designed, and that is the way your baby needs you to feed her. You form a bond with your child when you nurse her, and it is a very different bond when you’re bottlefeeding instead.
So. Broadcasters. Get the eff over it.
I know you’ll have women write in who say they couldn’t nurse their babies for one reason or another. You know what? Those women are the EXCEPTION. Those women had PROBLEMS. For Pete’s sake, it’s like coming up with an entirely new book of liturgy and calling it the “Book of Alternative Services” and then using the alternative ALL THE TIME. Maybe you don’t know what “exception” and “alternative” mean. You should look those words up. There will be a test at the end of the day.
By *not* showing women nursing, you are attempting to establish a cultural norm, and it is a cultural norm that is dangerous and wrong. Show new mothers breastfeeding. Mention every time you advertise formula that breastfeeding is natural, healthier, and free. Mention that there are milk banks available for babies who are not able to digest formula (many aren’t; many children have severe allergies, develop GERD, and more because formula is so hard on their little systems), for premature babies in hospital, for adopted children, or for whom their mothers’ milk is not available for whatever reason. Mention that women may donate their milk to milk banks. Talk about the HUNDREDS of reasons breastfeeding is better than bottle feeding. Talk about all of that while you show mothers nursing instead of shoving a silicone or rubber nipple in a newborn’s face. Talk about all of that while the ‘experts’ on your programmes are advising women with inflamed breasts or mastitis to quit nursing or pumping.
Do all of that, broadcasters. Cave and bend to what’s profitable, instead of to what’s right and good and healthy. Be part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Because if there’s one thing I can really get behind, it’s greed-induced hypocrisy. Go team.
P.S. The ALTERNATIVE to or EXCEPTION to supporting your shitty programme in any way is to not watch television, and to not support via consumerism any of the products your station advertises. I exercise the ability to choose the ALTERNATIVE.
*With a nod to Stephen King