Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Bond with Your Baby, Bond with Your Man

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While reading a book I came across a poster that I have seen before but never paid close enough attention to it. The poster is sold through Best Beginnings, a UK charity dedicated to ending child health inequalities in the country. The poster was designed by two women, Sophie Barker and Kayleigh Brooks, of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design.

“Bond with your baby, bond with your man” addresses modern women’s anxieties about the effect of breastfeeding on their sexual appeal to men, in this case, their partners. The message of the poster strives to reassure women that they can both give something to their children, the best start in life, while remaining confident that their “breasts will still put a smile on your man’s face”.

Bond with your baby

What kind of messaging does this visual send to women?

1. A dissected woman. The viewer is presented with a beheaded body of a naked woman, signifying lack of any importance of her whole being, personality, and uniqueness as represented by her face.

2. Body language. The woman’s breasts are visibly squashed by both an infant hand and a male hand, albeit intertwined with the woman’s own hand. While the poster title suggest “bonding”, the visual image communicates a qualitatively different type of a bond between people – “bondage”, both as servitude to the child and sexual gratification of the man. The body language is strongly suggestive of possessive ownership, especially sexual possession, rather than the interpersonal contentedness between a woman, a man, and their child. A poster invokes the emotion of being torn apart by both the child and the man.

Google search of “family bonding”, “woman man bonding”, and “mother child boding” brings a completely different visual set to represent connection between people, underscoring mutuality and reciprocity of the relationships.

Family Bonding  Man Woman Bonding

Mother Child Bonding

What does the verbal message say to women?

“You can give your baby the best start in life and still feel confident your breasts will put a smile on your man’s face” – the caption is fairly direct in stating that a woman’s body, in this case her breasts, are about giving something to others. It reinforces the messaging of the visual image that a woman’s body exists to be possessed, used, and enjoyed by others, children and men. Reassurance “you will still feel confident” in fact reinforces the anxieties of women that only first-grade, top shape, commercial quality bodies, breasts in particular, are of value to men and society as a whole. The poster strongly evokes the fear that loss of lookable breasts will result in loss of woman’s value to a man in her life. A woman’s worth is reduced to a body part.

Possible solutions

1. While visual image can preserve the nudity that implies the importance of sexual connection in people’s lives, showing bodies with heads, particularly women with heads and faces, refocuses attention on the importance of relationship between people, not engagement in body part fetish.

2. Poster caption can avoid stating the modern day anxieties about breasts altogether. Instead, it can formulate a thought, a slogan, an idea that launches the new way of thinking about relationships in breastfeeding families, bypassing the mentioning and reinforcement of fears.





Written by Medical Nemesis

September 9, 2014 at 17:29

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To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

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