Elisabeth Badinter on Breastfeeding

I just discovered that the brilliant European feminist Elisabeth Badinter has published an essay titled “The Tyranny of Breast-feeding: New Mothers vs. La Leche League.” This sounds like something that I definitely need to read but the article is only available to subscribers of stupid Harper’s magazine.

Does anybody have access to it by any chance? Badinter is a real feminist, not the toothless American “choice feminism” kind, and I dig her. I can’t wait for the translation of her book on motherhood to come out.

10 thoughts on “Elisabeth Badinter on Breastfeeding”

  1. Hmmm. Noticed there were no reviews on Amazon and then saw the to be released–not that some reviews merit consideration. I’ll bet this one will create a lot of anger and controversy, which usually means that someone struck a nerve.


  2. It sounds really neat, but I do take issue with this line in the synopsis: “Moreover, the pressure to provide children with 24/7 availability and empathy has produced a generation of overwhelmed and guilt-laden mothers—one cause of the West’s alarming decline in birthrate”, specifically, the idea that the decline in birth rate is at all “alarming”. I think it’s really silly to be fearful over a declining birthrate, fewer births aren’t really a problem in my book, and I don’t think it should be touted as a bad thing, but rather, a sign that we’re living in an age of better family planning, even if it deos lead to an excess of “only child syndrome”.


    1. GOOD point! I’m always bothered by the obvious racist overtones of the “alarming decline in birthrate.” The planet is not suffering from underpopulation. So it isn’t like we are about to run out of people.


  3. Oh, yes, I love Badinter. She was actually the first feminist writer I have been introduced to. By a good French friend of mine. 🙂 And then I became more interested in feminism, and discovered the forum where I originally met Clarissa. 🙂


    1. OMG, so you were led to me by Badinter years before I even knew about her! That is so interesting. I had no idea. And the funny thing is that you and I would have never met otherwise, even being both from Montreal and all. Life is a funny thing.


    1. I’ve seen this article but I can’t read past the “”I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother – thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman,” she revealed to British newspaper Daily Mail.”

      I fail to see any connection between being a feminist and thinking that motherhood is the worst. Besides, anybody who uses an expression “rabid feminist” is already quite strange, in my opinion. I don’t think this woman will resolve her issues until she stops blaming feminism for her horrible relationship with her mother and starts analyzing it like a responsible adult.


  4. Hmm. I think the deal is you have to stop breast feedin’ and get back to man pleasin.’ And Rebecca Walker is some piece of work, isn’t she.
    Aren’t we women lucky, with all the people telling us what to do all the time!


    1. I think that if a man caresses a woman’s breasts, he definitely gets less pleasure out of it than she does. 🙂 I got the article, though, and will blog about it soon.

      The irony of Rebecca Walker’s situation is that the only reason that anybody is interested in interviewing her is that her mother is so famous.


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