Today’s post is a Memorandum from the Association for Feminist Anthropology’s Executive Board of Elected and Appointed Members.
The Association for Feminist Anthropology Executive Board consisting of elected and appointed members (the AFA Board) voices its concern for what appears to be a censure of breastfeeding and a lack of recognition of parental needs on academic campuses and in the wider society. Such problems have a long history, but recently were highlighted in the situation of an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who breastfed her baby during a class meeting.
As feminist anthropologists, we contend that: 1) breastfeeding should not be stigmatized or hidden from view, and indeed should be considered a basic human right; 2) breastfeeding is not inherently unprofessional or distracting, and increased recognition of how the demands of infant care, and of breastfeeding in particular, shape the challenges parents face in the workplace is crucial for improving conditions for all families; 3) childcare needs on campuses tend to marginalize and create obstacles to parents of all genders seeking educational and career mobility as students, faculty, and staff; 4) campus needs for childcare, including services to care for sick children, deserve more consideration by institutions, unions, and policymakers.
We urge others to join us in using this incident as a ‘teachable moment’ that fosters critical analysis and education by feminist anthropologists and others, and promotes political mobilization.
– The AFA Board (Jane Henrici, Ellen Lewin, Lynn Kwiatkowski, Sandra Faiman-Silva, Nia Parson, Margot Weiss, Holly Dygert, Susan B. Hyatt, Sophie Bjork-James, Susan Harper-Bisso, Jennifer Patico, Jamie Sherman. Amy Harper, Jessica Smith Rolston, Damla Isik, and Rebecca Boucher)