Women Who Breastfeed are less intelligent?! - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 04-01-2011, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
lonegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto and Sault Ste Marie
Posts: 1,637
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Absolute Rediculousness!!

http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/babiespregnancy/babies/article/967662--breastfeeding-women-viewed-as-less-intelligent-studies

 


PAT- photosmile2.gif Mommy to a super little boy kid.gif Tyr -Nov 17, 2006 Married to joy.gif Sky -August 28, 1993 
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011  m/c 6w5d  angel.gif
lonegirl is offline  
#2 of 13 Old 04-01-2011, 04:10 PM
 
tinuviel_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,370
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm wondering if this is an "April Fools" article. If not.... well, they said they used college students as their test subjects. Somehow I dont think a bunch of frat college guys are going to be prefering women who go home to nurse over women who are "going home to change into a strapless bra," LOL!
tinuviel_k is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 04-01-2011, 05:04 PM
 
Vancouver Mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Well, poorly informed public perceptions aside, I have actually read studies indicating that breastfeeding rates are higher among women with higher levels of education.


Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
::::
Vancouver Mommy is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 04-01-2011, 06:04 PM
 
moonfirefaery's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Goose Creek, SC
Posts: 3,384
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It's not an April Fool's joke. A study showed that breastfeeding women are viewed as less competent. And yet studies show that in actuality most breastfeeding women are well-educated.


fambedsingle2.gif Heather, 25, single mom to Corbin, 5, and Orin, 3  uc.jpg  delayedvax.gif  nocirc.gif
Oh how I miss the days of femalesling.GIF  nak.gifcd.gif  
moonfirefaery is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 04-02-2011, 10:18 AM
 
TiredX2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: it appears to be a handbasket
Posts: 20,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

I'm wondering if this is an "April Fools" article. If not.... well, they said they used college students as their test subjects. Somehow I dont think a bunch of frat college guys are going to be prefering women who go home to nurse over women who are "going home to change into a strapless bra," LOL!

That was my reaction as well.

 

Honestly, I doubt breastfeeding is big on *most* college student's radars anyway.   Just proves to me that it is important to expose kids to breastfeeding early and often, so they aren't that ignorant when they are college aged.

 

isabchi likes this.

 

 

TiredX2 is offline  
#6 of 13 Old 04-02-2011, 10:33 AM
 
KempsMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central Minnesota
Posts: 864
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

There have been responses to the article that state the study was flawed, because all it really proved was that people react to stereo types.  It's still irritating.


Heathyr hang.gifBlessed Catholic Wife to DHwheelchair.gif Devoted Mama to DS1 biglaugh.gif(3/17/08) and DS2blowkiss.gif (8/5/2010)familybed1.gifcd.giflactivist.gifribboncesarean.gifx2 
KempsMama is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 04-02-2011, 11:18 AM
 
Turquesa's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,050
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post
.... well, they said they used college students as their test subjects. Somehow I dont think a bunch of frat college guys are going to be prefering women who go home to nurse over women who are "going home to change into a strapless bra," LOL!

 

Devil's advocate time.  FIREdevil.gif
 

College students, besides being really common subjects because they're cheap and available labor for researchers, are the people who are going to graduate and get jobs, get promoted, hire and fire.  The attitudes of this generation will have a profound impact on what, if any obstacles, future breastfeeding women will encounter in the workplace.  So I think it's beneficial that the study's authors chose this demographic.

 

Second, the "strapless bra" women didn't fare much better in the study. It's just the mention of women's bodies---breasts, specifically--that "dinged" the women in these hypothetical scenarios.

 

Finally, it's important to identify and confirm the existence of stereotypes in order to address them.  College faculty could put this study's findings to positive use.  For instance, women's studies professors could teach a unit on gender and breastfeeding discrimination.


In God we trust; all others must show data. selectivevax.gifsurf.gifteapot2.GIFintactivist.gif
Turquesa is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 04-03-2011, 07:56 AM
 
Annie Mac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,150
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

There were *three* studies. What the overall conclusion was was not that breastfeeding = stupid, it was that women who are engaged in some pursuit (yes, including breastfeeding) that relies on their bodies are less intelligent than women who are engaged in a pursuit which does not (including caring for their children, but not with their breasts). Think about it. Tell me we don't have this bias in our culture. Quick, without thinking about it: who's smarter, a stripper or a lawyer (both female)? Don't like that example? How about a waitress at Hooters vs a waitress at, I don't know, Denny's?

 

What was interesting was that they obviously lumped breastfeeding into a sexual narrative, the way they did with "woman who just had sex" and "woman who needs strapless bra." I don't think it's off base. When a woman is asked to stop breastfeeding because "no one wants to see her breasts," that's what they're really saying -- that just the very glimpse of breasts =  a sexual situation. Given the plethora of images out there that support this assumption, I have no problem believing that our culture has sexualized breasts (and with it, feeding babies).

 

And I have no problem with the test subjects being college students. They're part of our culture, products of their upbringing and indications of what the future holds. Calling them all "frat boys," with the oversexed implications that has, is playing into the same sort of stereotyping and bias that this study highlights. 

mimim, Kyamo and Turquesa like this.
Annie Mac is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 04-03-2011, 10:03 AM
 
SithLadyFred's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: MA
Posts: 61
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I came here to say this.. they didn't have people witness a woman breastfeeding, it was just how people reacted to something someone said. And, I'd kind of react the same way if I was talking to someone and they randomly said, "I must leave now because I have to go breastfeed my baby, with my breasts." Not because I have any negative feelings about breastfeeding, but because who talks to someone and then uses that kind of qualifier? IMO that's kind of a sign of poorer than average emotional intelligence so that's likely why people reacted the way they did. I don't think the results would have been the same if they had someone watch a video of a woman going about her day and then she breastfed and then went back to her day, as compared to a formula feeding mom pausing to feed her baby with a bottle. I'd wager a guess that the reaction re: intelligence would be about equal.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KempsMama View Post

There have been responses to the article that state the study was flawed, because all it really proved was that people react to stereo types.  It's still irritating.



 


•°o.♥♥.o° ♥ »-(¯`·.·´¯)-> ⓉⓉⒸ #1 <-(¯`·.·´¯)-« ♥ °o.♥♥.o°•
SithLadyFred is offline  
#10 of 13 Old 04-03-2011, 10:42 AM
 
elanorh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,266
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I would lay $$ that if the wording of the scenario with the woman "going home to nurse" had included "finding a private place to pump," that would have been rated more positively.  The assumption is that "smart" women have careers, need to pump if they're breastfeeding, were 'smart enough to pump before they left,' etc.  We read these sorts of statements any time there is a big controversy about a woman breastfeeding in public.  Until someone has direct experience with how breastfeeding works, the assumption is that women should be able to manage when they lactate - without it impacting or discomfiting anyone around them.  Therefore, a woman who is "going home to breastfeed her baby" wasn't smart enough to pump beforehand (regardless of whether that's a reasonable expectation).  Also - why didn't she bring the baby with her?  I can absolutely see how that scenario itself is flawed. 

 

I wonder what would have happened if they'd shown videos of women engaged in the various scenes.  Make them all one ethnicity, so that racial bias couldn't impact the study - use the same home/setting, and play it all out that way. 

 

I agree that this is troublesome because these college students are going to be the coworkers, managers, etc. for women who are breastfeeding.  Obviously there are stupid things we all thought when we were in college that we realized were foolish and don't believe now --- and some of these people's minds would change --- but some won't.  And some of the women whose minds won't change will probably try to breastfeed, but based on her perceptions of breastfeeding as being less intelligent etc. might not do it past X arbitrary date.

 

Another aspect of this is how quiet breastfeeding mothers often are about how it works, what it looks like, why it's valuable.  Note that each participant had a friend or relative who breastfed.  I think when we breastfeed, unless someone is upfront about their prejudices against breastfeeding, we sometimes assume that our friends/family have some level of knowledge and more than "whatever floats your boat" as their support for our breastfeeding.  In reality, even though it's uncomfortable for some people, I think probably it would be good for us to drop little lactivism nuggets about breastfeeding and why we do it, how we do it, that it's worth it etc. even with those who we assume are supportive (and are in fact supportive). 

 

My mother breastfed all 7 of us, including a 2-month early preemie.  All but one was breastfed to between 15-18 months.  Her mother breastfed 4 of her 5 children.  All of my sisters have breastfed their babies (6mos-3 1/2 years variations).  And yet, one of my single sisters related a situation she'd had with a "ridiculous" mother at the hotel she was working at while in college.  The mother was staying there with her baby who was "almost a year old," and "freaked out when she found out the city was spraying for mosquitos, said she should have been warned, had slept with her window open and didn't want it in her milk, etc.  And she was very angry when I told her she could just go get some formula if she was worried about that, and why was she still nursing anyway when her baby is so old."  Apparently my sister asked if the baby was allergic to anything, and when the mother said "no," suggested buying formula.  Despite my struggles with low supply, multiple food allergies, and reflux with dd1, she didn't really understand why it was so important to me (and obviously to the mom in question) .....  Nor did she understand the recommendations and what they meant in application.

 

jaw.gifsoapbox.gifSo, I was able to explain to my sister how very offensive her comments were, that the mother had every right to take offense, that the baby wasn't "that old," etc.  It was too late for her to apologize to the guest, but I know she'll never make such ignorant assumptions again, either. 

 

I would like to see a control group educated on breastfeeding recommendations, then given the same scenarios.  It would be interesting to see whether just basic information like that might make a difference in how they perceive a mother breastfeeding.  I think a lot of people don't know/think about childrearing until they are ready to start a family (or a family is starting whether they're ready or not)....

 


Not all who wander are lost.
elanorh is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 05:01 PM
 
Bluegoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,619
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post

There were *three* studies. What the overall conclusion was was not that breastfeeding = stupid, it was that women who are engaged in some pursuit (yes, including breastfeeding) that relies on their bodies are less intelligent than women who are engaged in a pursuit which does not (including caring for their children, but not with their breasts). Think about it. Tell me we don't have this bias in our culture. Quick, without thinking about it: who's smarter, a stripper or a lawyer (both female)? Don't like that example? How about a waitress at Hooters vs a waitress at, I don't know, Denny's?

 

What was interesting was that they obviously lumped breastfeeding into a sexual narrative, the way they did with "woman who just had sex" and "woman who needs strapless bra." I don't think it's off base. When a woman is asked to stop breastfeeding because "no one wants to see her breasts," that's what they're really saying -- that just the very glimpse of breasts =  a sexual situation. Given the plethora of images out there that support this assumption, I have no problem believing that our culture has sexualized breasts (and with it, feeding babies).

 

And I have no problem with the test subjects being college students. They're part of our culture, products of their upbringing and indications of what the future holds. Calling them all "frat boys," with the oversexed implications that has, is playing into the same sort of stereotyping and bias that this study highlights. 


I think there is some truth to this.  But I suspect we'd find that people have a similar view of men who work primarily with their bodies.  Most people don't think of, say construction workers, as being brilliant guys.  Or male models, which is almost a joke phrase.  Or even stay at home dads might get a very similar attitude, or a worse one.

 

I think the sexualization thing is part of a bigger package though.  We have really separated sex from mother/fatherhood, and we have a strange, ambiguous relationship with children.  While on the one hand we kind of obsess about them, on the other hand we make it really hard for families to have the time they need, and then we also seem to see them as a burden.

 

I can't help but think that if we saw families as something other than a primarily economic unit which generates income and consumes we might be better off.  Even with regard to breastfeeding, which seems far removed.

 

mntnmom likes this.

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
Bluegoat is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 04-05-2011, 09:19 PM
 
Viola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Nevada
Posts: 23,368
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

 

 

Devil's advocate time.  FIREdevil.gif
 

College students, besides being really common subjects because they're cheap and available labor for researchers, are the people who are going to graduate and get jobs, get promoted, hire and fire.  The attitudes of this generation will have a profound impact on what, if any obstacles, future breastfeeding women will encounter in the workplace.  So I think it's beneficial that the study's authors chose this demographic.


They're also the ones who will be sahms who breastfeed, or be retail workers, or laborers or get hired and fired and be affected by the attitudes in the workplace.  I think the point is that because they are college students, they are young and probably breastfeeding isn't much on their radar, as Tiredx2 said.  I sure didn't think about it back then, and not favorably, but our views are always being shaped and changed.  I mean it's good to know what college students think for the reasons you said, but it might be interesting to know what people think who are shaping the workplace now.

Viola is online now  
#13 of 13 Old 04-08-2011, 01:49 PM
 
Mosaic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: La vida loca
Posts: 4,005
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The actual study is here: http://psp.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/03/18/0146167211401629.full.pdf+html

I'm not sure the study really demonstrates what they're claiming. I'm not familiar with these kinds of studies, but it looks like they found that people think of mothers as less competent in the following terms: capable of surviving in the working world, leadership qualities, task-focused, and organization. They acknowledge that two of the studies did not clarify whether the non-breastfeeders were mothers, so this may be showing a bias against mothers more than against breastfeeding.

Mi vida loca: full-time WOHM, frugalista, foodie wannabe, 10+ years of TCOYF 

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T spells BRAND NEW User Agreement!!

Mosaic is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off