Who does Gisele Bundchen think she is? Well, apparently she’s the self-appointed chief of the Breastfeeding Police. The ill-informed supermodel recently declared in an interview with British Harper’s Bazaar: “I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months…Some people here [in the U.S.] think they don’t have to breastfeed, and I think ‘Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?’”
Really? A WORLD-WIDE LAW? And I thought Joy Behar was bad with her breastfeeding comments. This is ridiculous on so many levels, including how the breastfeeding police would go about enforcing such a law. (Oh, I know. Bundchen herself could go house to house inspecting boobs for milk production and cabinets for evidence of infant formula.) But other than the fact some women can’t breastfeed and the impossible logistics of such a preposterous mandate (how can one get an exemption? what would be the punishment? would only policewomen be able to patrol for offenders to avoid sexual harassment suits? can we turn in women in the neighborhood we don’t like?), here is why all women — even breastfeeding mothers — should tell Gisele where to shove her smug suggestion:
–Let’s worry about how much maternity leave women in the United States get, not limiting the ways in which women can (healthfully by the way) feed their babies. As it is, the Family Medical Leave Act ensures women who work for companies employing a certain number of workers can only take 12 weeks unpaid. How about if Bundchen advocates for longer leave times if she’s so worried about what’s best for our babies or volunteers to pay for every company to install a private pumping area so breastfeeding moms have some privacy upon returning to work?
–What women in the world need are more choices, not fewer ones. Taking choices away from women is a slippery slope. What’s next: mandating women can’t work until a child is a certain age? Insisting mothers embrace a certain mothering technique like attachment parenting? Yes, let’s slowly take away women’s hard-earned rights and work ourselves backwards until eventually American women live in fear of being stoned to death for premarital sex or leaving their husbands. Oh, which gives me another idea! Let’s ensure mothers can’t divorce via a new law because some studies have shown children grow up better adjusted in a two-parent home.
–Yes, even breastfeeding mothers should be outraged by what Gisele said. Why? Because only a certain minority subset of breastfeeding moms use guerrilla techniques to make formula-feeding mothers feel guilty and most of you believe that “breast is best” but understand and respect it is a choice. One that you made for you and your baby and the rest of us also deserve to make for our own family. And once you start limiting other women’s choices, eventually yours will also be limited. (Do you use disposable diapers? I bet mandating cloth diapers and elimination communication is next on Mrs. Brady’s list.)
Since Gisele is so keen to make laws regarding motherhood, how about this? Let’s mandate that only women of a certain intelligence level can have children. That way, women like Gisele would be precluded and we wouldn’t have to have this ridiculous discussion in the first place.