Latest newsletter #167 Click to read online


Babette Francis

Describing Breastfeeding as 'Natural' Is Unethical Because It Reinforces Gender Roles!

In its April 2017 issue, the journal Pediatrics published a "study" by authors Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill claiming that promoting breastfeeding as "natural" was unethical because it reinforced gender roles, you know, implying that women should be the primary carers for their new born infants. You see, the word "natural" implies "superior", or at least superior to "artificial". I had only just recovered my equanimity after hearing about "Tony the Tampon", the kids' book suggesting that men also can menstruate, when I heard about this latest diatribe from the Loony Left.

I see what the authors are getting at - promoting breastfeeding as "natural" acknowledges that there are differences between the sexes, and we can't have that, can we? But how do we overlook that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed infants, and that's how the human species has survived for very nearly all of human history, until the development of relatively safe artificial milk formulas in the 20th century? Breastfeeding protects infants from gastric infections, allergies and obesity, and reduces the risk of breast cancer in nursing mothers, but these advantages are overlooked by the authors because promoting breasfeeding as "natural" might offend someone and "coupling nature with motherhood... can inadvertently support biologically deterministic arguments about the roles of men and women in the family".

Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill have a tough campaign ahead of them because the World Health Organisation and government health departments all over the world promote breastfeeding, but one never knows: under a sustained campaign titled "Breastfeeding is Sexist, Misogynist, Homophobic and Transphobic", even the most formidable institutions have been known to crumble.

Whatever happened to "Multiculturalism"? "Cultural appropriation" has become the latest evil denounced by the Looney Left. For example: "I was taught that white people shouldn't listen to rap music because it's cultural appropriation and could be offensive to my classmates," writes Pomona College student Steven Glick in the Washington Post. Young women wearing bindis (Hindu forehead adornments) and feathered headdresses at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival should be ashamed, declares Teen Vogue, because that's cultural appropriation.

Yoga is a bit of a mixed bag - not necessarily cultural appropriation, but a writer in the Huffington Post says it is really important to honour and appreciate where a practice comes from or we risk "appropriating" it. Risk "appropriating yoga?" I hope that is clear to all you arrogant appropriaters.

What is appropriate punishment? A Hampshire college student interrupted a women's basketball game to insist that a Central Maine Community College player (presumably a white player) remove the braids from her hair. And a Pitzer College assistant professor of Chicano-Latino studies objected to white students (presumably female) wearing hoop earrings. [If this is what preoccupies higher education, we are in big trouble]

Cultural appropriation is defined by Wikipedia as "the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture". But I thought the prevailing left-wing vibe was that we were all supposed to appreciate "multiculturalism" and show our appreciation by participating in multicultural practices?

But what if Italian-Americans started objecting to cultural appropriation and complained that Americans of non-Italian descent should not adopt Italian cuisine and eat pizza and pasta? And as I am Indian by birth, should I object to white people cooking and eating curries? Perhaps if the curries are very mild with less than their Indian quota of hot chillies, it might be acceptable?

To stamp out this hijacking of cultural heritage, should students in school lunchrooms be required to show proof of Italian ancestry before getting a pizza slice? Fortunately, modern technology makes this possible. Schoolchildren and supermarket shoppers could display their profiles on their smartphones just as they now show their credit cards. The possibilities are endless and an enormous new field for academic research.

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