Reclaiming the Breast- Normalising BreastfeedingPosted: September 25, 2013
All women know that breast is best. Does this need to be hammered home even more? It can be quite a pressured environment to talk about if choosing to take up breastfeeding.
Is it the case that there should be a shift in the view of breasts at a much earlier age? So, rather than targeting pregnant young women, I am targeting young people, including men, before conception as well as after.
This is a big ask. Even the ‘No More Page Three campaign’ started by a petition on change.org by Lucy Holmes is suffering from publishers and readers seeing the sexualisation of breasts as harmless and ‘a bit of fun’. ‘Page three’ appears the only place where tits can be seen in public without causing offence to the general public. David Cameron has repeatedly swayed on the side of Rupert Murdock and Dominic Mohan (Sun editor) whilst apparently committing to raising the rates of breastfeeding initiation and continuation. David Dinsmore, the new editor of the Sun, claims he plans to keep the page three models as they ‘promote natural beauty’. Although it is widely believed this is due to a fear of the falling reader numbers tumbling even more. If a ‘family newspaper’ promotes viewing women as objects, and breasts as something for titillation, it’s no wonder young women do not feel confident using their breasts as they were designed for.
Women need to reclaim their breasts. They need to see them as tools of the trade and something to be proud of. Can using the imagery of breasts be done without sexualizing them?
Aside from the photographic/ video form, it is fairly simple to make breasts anodyne using arts and crafts (apart from the highly sexual Chun-Li character’s shower scene in the street fighter animated film). They become cuddly, tactile and family friendly even.
The language of breasts and breastfeeding is generally very sensitively approached. I chose to ignore this rule by using popular culture terms including tabloid speak and song lyrics. I painted placards to be used at travelling events and photographed text to be used in print. Children’s toys were used in the imagery to put it in context.
I conducted a very quick Facebook survey to find some commonly used words and phrases to describe breasts.
I played around with creating my own typography for language used in printed materials using hand drawn letters. Although I really enjoyed doing this the use of words actually was not needed so much as I increasingly relied on objects and patterns in my designs.