Friday, February 25, 2011

Breastfeeding and Entertainment

If you expect this post to be about breastfeeding while at movies, concerts and the like....well, I am sorry to disappoint. Nope, as a matter of fact, this post is about how Hubby has decided that maybe I am a little too pro-breastfeeding when it starts to interfere with my opinion on movies and television......
Recently, many celebrities have talked a lot about breastfeeding their babies. I am so happy that they are talking about it, sharing pictures, and truly being proactive in trying to make breastfeeding the normal, accepted form of feeding a child that it should be.
BUT, recently, I have decided that Hollywood, as always, sends mixed messages. While in interviews with magazines and such you have a star talking about the beauty of breastfeeding, at the same time, a movie or television show is making fun of it.
Here are a few examples as of late-
Television: Watching an episode (rerun) of "The Office" where another location and the one featured on the show merge into the same building, one of the "implants" is a breastfeeding mother. It shows her pumping at her desk, in front of everyone, being rude when they stare. It then shows her bringing her child in and breastfeeding. While one may think from reading that last part "That is great, it showed her breastfeeding." The tone of the show was that this woman was strange, or rude for nursing her child in public, without a cover.
Movie: While I enjoyed the movie- The Backup Plan- one part shows Jennifer Lopez's character attending a single mother's group. There a mother is breastfeeding a child who appears to be around 18-24 months of age. JLo's character asks the age of the child. The child pops off of the breast turns and says "I'm three." Again, reading this, you might think- Way to go Hollywood, supporting extended breastfeeding. However, as the "group" scene goes on, you realize they are painting the picture that the mothers in this group are all "off."
Television: Another rerun- because that is what I watch at times, while Lil Man is napping- this time, the show "Yes, Dear." I LOVE this show....however one of the earliest episodes portrays the two families running into a mom. Her son- apparently an older toddler- comes up says he is hungry. Main character Kim offers a snack. The boy's mother states no thanks, lifts her shirt and breastfeeds the son. Later, upon returning home, the couples talk about how they can no longer return to that park. They discuss how a year is about the cutoff point. The show later goes on and you discover that Kim has not yet weaned her son and is nursing him during the middle of the night. I thought "Wow, maybe this will turn around..." They then go on to have Kim confess that the only reason she is still breastfeeding is so that her breasts will be large......BOO! They then wean the son...and while the weaning scenes are quite funny (since the dad takes over the night feedings) the overall vibe is that it is not okay to nurse past infancy.
But the one that really got to me, and make Hubby realize that my thoughts on breastfeeding could make or break a movie now, was when we watched "The Grownups" starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and a few others. In the movie, Kevin James's character's wife is shown still breastfeeding their "48 month old" "Dude that is FOUR YEARS." one of the character's replies. Throughout the show it has a lot of negative scenes of the mother breastfeeding her son out and about, and Kevin James's character being embarrassed, etc. It has him trying to talk the son out of breastfeeding. He offers his son regular milk to which the son replies "I don't think mommy would like me having it." This one taste of milk suddenly weans the son who was still breastfeeding several times a day. The mom is then shown saying she is upset, and doesn't know what her breasts are for then. But, it showed other things that I looked at, commented on, and made Hubby roll his eyes.
The mom, supposedly was still pumping quite often....often enough to bring her pump on the vacation. When a bird is injured, the mom uses the pump to give the bird milk to nurse it back to health. I was torn on this because breastmilk is AMAZING stuff so I liked the idea that it could nurse a bird that is injured to health....however, my husband told me to "Suspend my disbelief" because I pointed out that the tube they were showing as something that milk drained into, does not even come in contact with milk on a pump, but rather is what hooks the pump to the motor to make it work.
So, the movie was over, and I found myself saying it was awful because of how it portrayed breastfeeding. WHAT? Hubby was shocked. Normally, crude jokes, language, and the such is what will turn me off from a movie. This was not too bad in those areas, so when I said it was just "OK" he was in shock.
As we returned the movie to the Redbox at WalMart, a woman asked me what I thought of the movie. I told her it was ok, not too crude, and I even found myself wanting to say "if you don't mind it having a negative look on breastfeeding" but bit my tongue.
While I am pointing out that Hollywood is quick to laugh at breastfeeding, shunning it as a normal act...I must acknowledge a few shows that have shown it positively.
Hubby and I watch "Chuck" on NBC on Monday nights, where the sister, Ellie, recently had a baby, who is being breastfed. An old addiction of mine (guilty pleasure) "7th Heaven" had Lucy, in one of the later seasons, breastfeeding her first child and talking about how much she loved it. While I do not view it, I have heard that even the MTV's "Teen Mom" and "Teen Mom 2" have some moms who breastfeed.
Unfortunately, those last few shows are not the majority. Hollywood often shapes how we view something....breastfeeding included. Until the movies fall in-line with the the stars, the ones who promote breastfeeding positively, extended breastfeeding, and breastfeeding in general will still be looked at as something that should not be done in public, or that should not last past infancy.



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