Breastfeeding, Rhetoric, and the Politics of Feminism

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This article provides an argument for approaching the breast-bottle controversy within feminism from a rhetorical perspective, which focuses attention on how the controversy has been framed in relation to the value of medical evidence. Using the concept of rhetorical situation, the analysis demonstrates that feminists who devalue medical evidence of the health benefits of breastfeeding tend to see a breastfeeding-friendly culture, while those who see evidence for the health benefits of breastfeeding tend to see a culture friendlier to bottle-feeding. The consequences of these divergent views are significant, as the two groups differ significantly concerning whether culture or biology are changeable elements of the current circumstance that disadvantages mothers. The rhetorical perspective encourages feminists to find common ground by understanding how the staging of evidence and argument contributes to theoretical stalemates that impede all women from benefiting from political reframing of the breast-bottle debate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-344
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Women, Politics and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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