It’s just too obvious for a breastfeeding clothing range like us to write about ‘that’ Time Magazine cover in the US (why not the European version, where frankly society is considerably more advanced in accepting breastfeeding? Or perhaps that’s why they didn’t bother. Discuss). But on the other hand, NOT blogging about it would make it look like I’d had my head in the sandpit too long this week. So from a marketing person’s perspective, I do empathise with the LA Time’s POV that the cover ‘proves that print doesn’t need to throw up the white flag and hand victory to digital forces’. But tempting as it is to ignore the subject matter to talk about the business case for print, it’s worth asking if the ‘shock value’ of the cover is doing what breastfeeding advocates want it to. The fact it’s a foxy mum with an older MALE child suggests there’s more than a little titillation value (apologies for the pun) involved in choosing that image. This makes one wonder if it’s going for a sympathetic reaction or an ‘oh my God’ reaction most likely to emit from the ignorant and prudish. Let’s hope the debate it provokes about breastfeeding is positive and encouraging, not positioned as a quirky ‘new age’ trend, like the Dukan diet. I fear with the US’s track record on the subject of breastfeeding, this is not going to herald a Brave New World where – SHOCK – women can feed on the bus without getting thrown off…..
Now that’s really shocking.
A wonderful article by Zoe Williams on Parenting in the Guardian today on the government’s approach to parental leave in the UK. It seems astonishingly antiquated to see that the UK’s ‘new news’ is that fathers and mothers will be able to decide amongst themselves how they should split their parental leave. Given that this has been a ‘thing’ in the Nordics for some time, this correction is no more than that in my view – a correction. Just like the legislation on breastfeeding wherever you like. Meanwhile, I wonder whose ear Steve Hilton is bending on his extended holidays about abolishing maternity leave altogether to help businesses? For the record, those of us who run businesses staffed almost exclusively by part time working mothers recognise the huge value in facilitating parenting as part of a modern working life. So there.
A friend recently sent me an e mail when she was breastfeeding entitled ‘Musings from the Boob’. This made me chuckle. But in it she raised a serious point. In any art gallery, in any part of the world (she is in LA), there are wonderful paintings of women nursing their babies. So what’s happened? Why is it all so weird to see women breastfeeding, rather than a thing of natural beauty? Sadly, if you follow certain breastfeeding hashtags as I do on Twitter, the vitriol from people – mostly the illiterate it must be said – against someone quietly trying to feed on a bus somewhere on the world is staggering. Time we normalised this thing. Watch this space.
National Breastfeeding Week in the UK has sort of been cancelled. Well, the NHS budget cuts have affected everyone and this is one of the casualties. A massive shame given the good it does in raising the profile of women breastfeeding out and about. So 24-30 June, let’s try and encourage dialogue around breastfeeding, not to mention actually doing it!