Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Mexico City officials slammed for glamorous, guilt-tripping ads meant to boost breast-feeding

MEXICO CITY - Mexico City thought it had a racy but catchy ad campaign for its effort boost the low level of breast-feeding by Mexican mothers, going with a slogan that roughly translates as "give your breast to you child, don't turn your back on them."

But the ads have drawn a storm of protest. Mothers and women's groups say the government is guilt-tripping women instead of addressing real-life barriers to breast-feeding. Many say many Mexican women need proper nutrition, more information, more maternity leave and permission to breast-feed or pump milk at work.

The ads "condemn mothers, rather than informing them about breast-feeding, and they reduce a social problem with multiple players — fathers as well as mothers, workplaces, health authorities, and public spaces and the community at large — to one person: the mother," a group of activists wrote in a complaint to the city's human rights commission.

City officials were seeking to address the fact that only one in seven mothers in Mexico breast-feeds exclusively in the first six months, the standard recommended by the World Health Organization. That is among the lowest levels in Latin America, and health experts say it's a serious problem for a country where millions live in extreme poverty and dirty water threatens health. Mother's milk is richer in nutrients and antibodies that protect newborns from infections.

The city had intended to use the ads to publicize a broader effort of setting up dozens of breast-feeding areas: comfortable, screened-off rooms with sinks and refrigerators to hold breast milk. But only three such centres currently operate in this metropolis of 9 million people. Women also face prohibitions on breast-feeding or -pumping at work, get about 12 weeks maternity leave on average, and often draw hostile stares if they breast-feed in public.

"It doesn't look like they did any diagnosis as to why women don't breast-feed," said Regina Tames, director of the Group for Informed Reproductive Choice. "They just lighted on a banal argument that women were selfish and don't want to mess up their bodies."

Adding insult to injury, the ads also feature thin actresses and entertainers in topless poses, with a banner stretched strategically across their chests, exposing only suspiciously flat tummies. Some activists said the ads look more like shampoo or soap commercials that routinely feature lighter-skinned, glamorous models than a discussion of a serious problem.

"I don't know what these mothers reflect, or who they were supposed to attract," Tames said.

An official at the city's health department, who was not authorized to be quoted by name, denied media reports that the print and Internet ads had been withdrawn, but acknowledged the campaign is being reworked. The official said that the slogan about "turning your back" will be changed and that the next phase of the campaign may include more average, everyday mothers.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media