Friday, July 14, 2006

Keeping Abreast

20/20 did a report earlier on the "debate" over breastfeeding. It seems that the federal government has sunk money into a PR campaign to encourage... Breastfeeding. Which means, at the very least, that Halliburton doesn't have a line of baby formulas getting ready to ship.

They've done some rather outrageous commercials for it. One shows two pregnant women logrolling, and yet another shows a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull. The ad says "You wouldn't take chances with your child before it's born. Why would you after?" Does anyone see a correlation between a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull and a loving mother feeding a baby with a bottle? It's an insulting ad campaign.

But even beyond that... How much tax money did they piss away on this that could have gone to something more important?

How about an ad campaign encouraging better prenatal care? Or God forbid, how about skipping the ad campaign and actually FUNDING some prenatal care?

The Memphians reading this site, if they're not aware, should be briefed on something. Most of the local bloggers have discussed Aimee Edmondson's magnificent, award winning series for the Commercial Appeal "Born to Die" about the absurdly high infant mortality rate in the 38108 ZIP code. If you haven't read it, click here for parts I and II. They're magnificent, shining examples of what journalism should be all about. Here's a terrific blog posting from Pesky Fly that discussed the article.

For those who don't feel like clicking the links, allow me to give you a Reader's Digest version: There is a part of this city where the infant mortality rate is four and a half times the national average. In 38108, 31 in 1000 infants born will die. That's a dead baby every 43 hours. The picture accompanying this article isn't from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, nor is it a picture of cleanup from the Rwandan Massacre. It was taken at Shelby County Public Cemetary, the Potter's Field for the indigent of Memphis. It lies in the shadow of perhaps our most magnificent monument to capitalism, the Wolfchase Galleria.



Blogger Jeff said...

You're missing the point, Freedonian.

First let me say that I support any measure that clarifies to local idiot sheriffs that public breastfeeding is not obscene.

As for the Federal ad campaign, encouraging breast feeding also encourages women to assume the traditional role of caregiver in the home, that is to say, to stay at home barefoot and pregnant with a baby latched on and a spoon in your hand while you stand at the stove cooking supper for "Your MAN".

Working in the office or on the assembly line is not condusive to breastfeeding. Sure, you can pump, but many women who breastfeed don't like to pump and don't want to pump. My wife didn't.

Affordable quality baby formula has had a huge impact on our society. It has freed women to return to work earlier than they would have without it. And thus it is a target for the sort of reverse social engineering in which conservatives love to engage.

So a federal campaign ad encouraging breastfeeding has little to do with the health of babies and more to do with encouraging women to stay home and raise children.

Monday, July 17, 2006 9:19:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home