Breastfeeding In Public… And On Sesame Street?

Thanks to Wikimedia for the image.

The radio program AirTalk on KPPC (which my dad listens to in Los Angeles and sent my way) recorded this show on breastfeeding on Sesame Street and its broader public implications.

Apparently, in the 1970s, breastfeeding was depicted on the children’s show Sesame Street in order to help educate children about how breastfeeding is normal and healthy. This ceased in the 1990s, but now there is a petition circulating to reintroduce breastfeeding on the show in order to take advantage of its wide viewership.

The radio show host was joined by a gender studies professor at USC who discussed the sexualization and commodification of breasts, as well as hosting multiple nursing mothers who wished to contribute their perspectives on nursing. The conversation touched on important topics such as the public stigmatization of breast feeding and how difficult it can be for new mothers who agree with the logic but whose bodies are not (yet) cooperating.

Breastfeeding is a multifaceted issue, and one which impacts not only women but whole families, groups of friends who get together to discuss their experiences, and, as the show touched on in its last few seconds, the men (husbands and/or fathers) who struggle to reconcile their views of breasts as sexual with the desires of women to inhabit their bodies differently. It seems like more education and discussion is needed – and why not start with Sesame Street after all?

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About Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.