According to a new study that was released breast feeding women are seen as less intelligent and less incompetent as women who do not breast feed. When reading this headline a month ago, I was not interested in reading the story at all, nor was I inspired to blog about it, after all there are just some things that are not worth blogging about. However, I keep seeing headlines such as these: “How Breastfeeding Can Hurt Careers”, “Breast Feeding Moms Must Be Warned of Bias Backlash” or “Breast Is Not Always Best”, resurfacing over and over again.
The sensationalization of this bias in the media has me sitting down writing this post. I see it as nothing more than attempts to spotlight breast feeding in a negative light. In order to write an effective post, I had to read some of these stories and it’s just as bad as I thought I would be. Some of the stories I’ve read sugar-coat these “warnings” as concerns that breast feeding moms must be made aware of, while maintaining breast is best, but if you just scan the study, the focus of the study is not to “warn” breast feeding moms of such prejudices and perceptions, but to expose these prejudices.
Finding ways to change society’s perception of the breastfeeding mother is a lofty—and ongoing—goal for future research. In the meantime, our data suggest possible interventions that can empower the mother who wants to breastfeed to deal with the bias or objectification experiences she might encounter. One possibility is to teach pregnant women about the sexism they might encounter and how this “stereotype threat” experience might affect them (Johns, Schmader, & Martens, 2005). An alternative approach would be to teach
potential mothers how to “self-correct” for the influence that negative breastfeeding expectations (related to sexism, embarrassment, or otherwise) can have on actual breastfeeding experiences (Handley et al., 2009). The goal of either intervention would be to increase initiation of and duration of breastfeeding, without sacrificing people’s perception of the mother’s competence. – Spoiled Milk – An Experimental Examination of Bias Against Mothers Who Breast Feed
I, for one, am tired of the back-handed compliments when it comes to nursing. I’m tired of eagerness to report the slightest hint of negativity when it comes to breast feeding. The media focuses it’s negativity towards the breast feeding mom (as evident by various headlines), but the study focuses on the perceptions of society. This study is a very positive one, and is evidently very true by negative spin done by news reports in general.
Having said all this, I question what the big deal is about this study? It’s certainly nothing I’ve heard or haven’t known of beforehand. Breast feeding moms considered dumb and incompetent?? Get out of town!
Are we not a society that has normalized bottles and formula? Are we not a society where even hospitals promote bottles as well?? Of course the society thinks we’re dumb! After all, its not “NORMAL”.
What IS a nursing mom to do? Keep on nursing! Going against the “norm” is never easy, and requires thick skin, but the rewards are absolutely worth it. Who cares what others think? I say, Hear me speak and you’ll know exactly what kind of person I am…intelligent, kind-hearted, caring and tough.
Are you a mom who is, has or plans to breast feed and/or home birth? Join the directory/blog hop and find other bloggers who do the same! Feel free to grab the button from the sidebar as well.
A HUGE thanks to fellow breast feeder iNeedaPlaydate in creating this beautiful button. ((HUGS))