Conversations I Wish I Had

Breastfeeding: Inappropriate or Not?

What can you do with anthropology?

How does a culture come to sexualize a perfectly legitimate way to receive sustenance? Despite the continuously mounting literature that argues for the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding for the child, and the beneficial hormone releases for the mother, breastfeeding is still largely viewed as taboo in the western world.

Why has the western world largely come to consider breastfeeding an inappropriate activity in public? In his post on Savage Minds, Ryan Anderson, a cultural anthropologist, suggests that this shift in thinking is related to the sexualization of women’s breasts. Citing evidence from other anthropologists such as Katherine Dettwyler, Anderson goes on to add that a large factor in the perceived inappropriateness of breastfeeding is probably the cultural normativity of the oversexualization of women.

There is evidence to support that breastfeeding can be widely beneficial to both mother and child. While breastfeeding is making a comeback in the western world…

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2015 by .
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