The problem today is that “choice” has been taken out of the context of women’s rights and misconstrued into a dirty and insidious word. In its most disgusting reiteration it is being marketed to women and girls by corporations — in this case, by infant formula marketers, who are more concerned with profits than infant health outcomes. Women have been led to believe that the “choice” between formula feeding and breastfeeding is merely a matter of inclination–a personal decision, a feather in the cap of liberation. And since choices are individual, they have no social consequences; women are therefore relieved of responsibility of considering the broader implications of their decisions. And once I make my choice, no one is to challenge me. We can’t talk about it. And if you do, you are judging me.
This is dangerous territory for all women and mothers as the issue of breastfeeding vs. formula feeding is turned into a mere lifestyle choice as opposed to a child health matter. No wonder Similac is supporting so-called non-judgment.
What is really happening is that by leaving each other alone in our so-called non-judgmental circles, we are simply leaving the current unjust system in place and discouraged from forming opinions about the value of different choices. With this type of continuous marketing messaging, we lose the ability to have critical discussions about where the real choices lie and which “choices” are merely illusions. Most problematically for the future of mothers, it deters us from addressing the systemic problems such as improving child care options, increasing the market for part-time work, the lack of a paid federal maternity leave, and other deep-rooted, anti-family policies that actually devalue mothering and shape our infant feeding choices, and prevent us from being active agents of change because we are being told that many aspects of mothering from our infant feeding to work decisions are “choices” and, therefore, private matters.
Choice becomes the silencer on a dangerous handgun.
There is much I agree with here. I do disagree that somehow this is a digression from the original meaning and context of the ‘choice’ movement it’s the natural outcome, and is totally consistent with “the feminist movement and our battle for reproductive rights.” Abortion harms women and children. It’s not the moral high ground, it’s the moral cesspool. abortion providers don’t care about women’s health, they care about profits. They market abortions and commercialize them. In fact, every single negative thing she says about seeing artificial baby milk as a neutral, consequence free choice applies to abortion and the abortion industry, only in spades.