The Eternal Breast-Milk Wars: Motherhood Is Not Sisterhood

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June 29 2010 6:30 PM

The Eternal Breast-Milk Wars: Motherhood Is Not Sisterhood

Lisa Belkin, over at the New York Times' parenting blog , put up an item about a British magazine editor who had written about choosing not to breast-feed her child. The original essay in Mother & Baby magazine—or the coverage of the essay, since Mother & Baby didn't post it online—infuriated the public, as the writer, Kathryn Blundell, invoked the freedom to get "tipsy," the fear of sagging "fun bags," and the "creepy" idea of having an infant "where only a lover has been before."

What are Belkin's commenters making of the news that one woman might wish to think of herself as something other than a walking milk dispenser? The same thing the breasties always make of it : scorched-earth warfare. Remember, unless they live near a British newsstand or hunted up a Politico-style pirated copy on the angry-breast-feeder Internet, they are not responding to the full article:

"Perhaps her sense of womanhood is better defined in an ultra-intellectual capacity than a physical one?"
"Depriving a child of the best nutrition is not a good decision. It is a bad one and a wrong one."
"Well, if she would rather trust industrial food manufacturing corporations with the responsibility of your infant's nutrition, far be it from me to stop her."
"Some woman are cold, don't want to get their hands dirty when it comes to many parts of their lives, their attitude towards breastfeeding is just another manifestation of their personality.""If I had to pick something that's creepy, I'd pick 'voluntarily feeding my child a mix of chemicals and powdered cow's milk from a silicone nipple' ... but that's just me."
"I just think it's a shame that women view themselves in a way that makes breastfeeding more challenging, and to not even try and give your baby the benefits of breastmilk for a few short weeks when you certainly could at least try?"
"I think she speaks for women who are not ready to become mothers and put baby's needs ahead of your own whims. I'm of the school that says support, don't judge"
"Women who choose not to breastfeed because they fear damaging their sexuality have the right to make that choice. But it's misguided and absurd to label as creepy those of us who, after giving birth, use the body parts we have in the way nature intended them to be used to try to give our babies the best possible start in life."
"Being able to drink, smoke, sleep are all to do with Blundell, nothing to do with what's best for her baby."
"You know what I think is creepy? A career woman who is so conflicted and misguided about her body and sexuality that she blatantly denies her children one of the best gifts a mother can give."

 Empowerment! Put those cold, brain-heavy career women in their place, sisters. But do it fast—the kid might get hungry.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.



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