UPDATE: See below.
Uuuuuuugh… I hope this is nonsense. Oh wait, there’s a quote so I can’t even blame the flaming stupid on tabloid exaggeration:
Bundchen tells America’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine, “I think breastfeeding really helped (me keep my figure).
“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?’
“I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.”
So in case anyone read that tripe and thought it made some sense, I have a few comments:
1. Breastfeeding should not be about selfish weight control, it should be a choice that is right for mother and baby based on life obligations, personal comfort, and infant needs.
2. Women shouldn’t be bullying other women and making them feel inferior if they choose not to breastfeed. Who the hell is some supermodel to judge them? Some women work or go to school while they have very young babies, making breastfeeding not necessarily the best (or only) option. Some women use a combination of breast and bottle. Etc. There is more than one right way to feed a child.
3. Women aren’t giving chemicals to their babies by not breastfeeding. In fact, for some, breastfeeding may not be an option because of drug transference through the breast milk. Some babies are allergic to breast milk. Some babies don’t latch. It’s absolutely irresponsible to make new mothers feel like they are doing something wrong because of circumstances they can’t control.
4. A law? Think (I think there’s a serious lack of that here, judging from the spew coming out of Gisele’s privileged lips) about what this means for the general rights of women, to have legislation obligating women to do certain things with their bodies. Think about what that would mean for women who have neither the comfort, time, ability, or safety to breastfeed. Where did that arbitrary 6 months come from (WHO recommendations are not written in stone)? If I’m breastfeeding my kid, I’ll do it because it’s right for me in my situation and I’ll do it for as long as I feel is right, not because some sanctimonious mother of privilege tried to force me to for however long she thought was appropriate.
Now it’s entirely possible that she’s talking out of her ass and in a few days I’ll see an apology or clarification (depending on the public backlash, if any – as this is a woman’s issue, I don’t expect to hear anything about it). But for a woman in her position as a public figure to say, even in jest or hyperbole, that there should be laws governing women’s control over their own bodies and methods of parenting simply because they are women, contributes to a culture of disrespecting a woman’s right to choose. For that, she should be taken to task.
Gisele, you’re a fucking idiot.
UPDATE: Amazingly, there were enough people pissed off at Gisele to provoke a half-assed non-pology:
“My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law,” Bundchen writes.
“It comes from my passion and beliefs about children. Becoming a new mom has brought a lot of questions, I feel like I am in a constant search for answers on what might be the best for my child.” The model and her husband Tom Brady welcomed their first child, son Benjamin, last December.
She continues: “It’s unfortunate that in an interview sometimes things can seem so black and white. I am sure if I would just be sitting talking about my experiences with other mothers, we would just be sharing opinions.”
“I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge. I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best.”
In other words, “I’m so sorry you uptight bloggers took my words at face value”. At least she admits that it’s a mother’s choice whether or not to feed their child in a particular way. Though she gives no indication that she understands the gravity of even suggesting that laws be made governing women’s bodies, especially given the history of such things.
UPDATE 2: And before someone goes “Who cares about Gisele Bundchen?” I’ll point out that Jenny McCarthy was a prime culprit in the anti-vax movement in the US while people were busy discounting her as “only an MTV washout”. I honestly do not want to see further popularization of naturalistic fallacy nonsense when it comes to motherhood, least of all going as far as suggesting these things be made mandatory, so calling this out is completely appropriate.
Haha, Skeptical OB is also not impressed.