I’ll never understand the logic behind a society that both accepts the unnecessary sexualization of female bodies for advertisements and shames public breastfeeding. Seriously, it doesn’t make sense. The entire point of having breasts is lactation and when a baby is hungry, do we seriously expect women to deprive them just because someone doesn’t want to see a boob? Women literally have been asked to stop feeding their hungry babies because it makes them uncomfortable to see a boob. But, it’s a little more than that and we all know it. We’re not uncomfortable seeing boobs…because then our visual culture would be a whole lot less busty. We’re uncomfortable seeing boobs when they’re not hypersexualized and possibly airbrushed and contoured.

So, what happens when a pro-breastfeeding campaign is launched into the sea of the misogynistic ad world? Well, it goes horribly wrong. Mexico City’s recent campaign was met with disgruntled locals as it featured topless models with a banner going across their chests that reads “No le des la espalda, dale pecho”, which translates to “Don’t give them your back, give them your breast.” Ugh, ok. Where to begin?

First of all and perhaps most importantly, the campaign is overtly sexual. The women are topless and fit with purposefully perky breasts, giving us sultry smiles. Although these women are some of Mexico City’s local celebrities, they don’t accurately represent Mexican mothers. Many complained that they were too light-skinned and thin.

Apart from that, the innuendo is blindingly obvious. If I didn’t know it was a pro-breastfeeding campaign, I would’ve wrote it off as another misogynistic ad that has missed the point of advertising the product completely just to feature a sexy woman. The innuendo also implies that it’s a mother’s fault if she doesn’t breastfeed in public. As if mothers aren’t met with societal stigma and the fear of unfriendly confrontation from policing strangers. It reminds me of when people tell me that if I don’t want to shave my legs, I don’t have to; it’s my choice. Well sure, no one’s forcing the razor up my leg, but pressure from society and fear of noncompliance is enough to say that the choice really isn’t 100% my own.

            

To get more technical in terms of marketing, it’s unclear whom the campaign is targeted to. Logically, we’d assume that a pro-breastfeeding campaign would be talking to mothers and the copy specifically addresses women. However, did Mexico City’s health official really think that the best way to talk to women is to show them that even breastfeeding can be sexualized? Do women really want to see other sexualized women? Isn’t the argument (a faulty one at best) that advertisements are so hypersexualized because they’re attracting men? (Even though, 85% of consumer purchases are done by women, so try again.) That’s a slap in the face. Women are already uncomfortable breastfeeding in public because of how they fear they’ll be treated. A pro-breastfeeding campaign would only be effective if it was stigma destroying and empowering. Mexico City’s campaign is just another uncreative misogynistic excuse for an ad campaign. Try again.

 

Images courtesy of The New York Daily News.

Tagged in: mothers, mexico city, Breasts, breastfeeding, advertising   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.


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