Thursday, November 16, 2017

[172] MTSU professor’s research sheds new light on media depictions of breastfeeding

MURFREESBORO — A natural aspect of motherhood as old as human life itself has not always been depicted favorably or even realistically in the media.

That is one of the messages of “Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses That Threaten Public Health,” a new book by Katie Foss, an associate professor of media studies in the MTSU School of Journalism.

Foss examines more than 200 years’ worth of media characterizations of breastfeeding, which Foss maintains do not always explore the diversity of breastfeeding mothers and their experiences.

These media images are drawn from magazines, doctors’ office literature, parenting books, advertisements for baby formula, television, websites and other media outlets. 

Her analysis concludes that news and entertainment media offer a very narrow definition of the breastfeeding woman and then stigmatize women who do not live up to this ideal.

Foss is also the author of “Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism.” Her current book is published by Palgrave, a subsidiary of Macmillan.

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