The workshop attended was basically about the importance of breastfeeding in the society. It involved meeting up to discuss about the various ways in which breastfeeding families would be supported in the community within and around George Washington community. It also involved discussing various strategies to be taken that can help breastfeeding families identify the importance of breastfeeding their infants rather than feeding them with artificial milk products. The workshop also was meant to sensitize the community of the importance of breastfeeding and remove cultural prejudices that women should not breastfeed in public places. The main goal of this initiative is for George Washington University to emerge as a “Breastfeeding Friendly University”.
This workshop is related to a large extent to anthropology especially in the cultural definitions of what is or is not morality. A point in case here is the controversy that Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor at the America University Department of Anthropology brought about by breast feeding her new born baby in the course of the lecture. Many students and lecturers especially the male students questioned the professionalism of Miss. Pine saying that what she did especially in a class of a feminist anthropology class was very unprofessional.
Anthropology involves the study of various aspects of humanity. It involves studying the origins of man as well as their cultural and social relations. It is also the study of how human beings react to various stimuli in their environment (Rhodes 36). Anthropology therefore strives to understand not only the biological nature of human beings but also the manner in which humans relate in their different environments in the process developing traits that are mistakenly considered to be biological.
Anthropology tries to define what gender and sex really is. Sterling says that while sex is biological which can be defined by the different type of genitals, gender on the other hand is cultural and that it is created and instituted depending on the community or the society in which an individual finds him or herself (Sterling 2000:20; Class lecture 8/30/12). This explains one of the reasons there arose a controversy among the male individuals when a lecturer decided to breast feed in a class in the course of a lecture. The breastfeeding workshop is related to this in that the participants are working towards removing this prejudices that hinder women from raising children as well as pursuing their goals. If the individuals in this society did not associate exposure of a woman’s breast while breast feeding as sexual, then probably there would have never been any controversy. It is the community’s or the cultural association Miss. Pine’s breast with her sexuality that led to all the controversy rather than the breastfeeding of the child.
Considering the manner in which gender is categorized in anthropology, that various organs in human bodies should not be exposed in public, it becomes very difficult then for women especially in high profile careers to breastfeed their infants in public due to the public outrage expected from the society (Fedorak 156). This thus leads to such infants being fed with artificial milk products that are detrimental to their well being. The campaign therefore is part and parcel of the anthropology course and will seek to eradicate this stereotypic mindset that associate women breast feeding in public as exposing their sexuality which is a taboo in this particular society but is considered alright in others.
Fausto- Sterling. Class Lecture 2000:20. 8/30/2012.
Fedorak, Shirley. Anthropology Matters. (2nd Edition). Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
Rhodes, Dan. Anthropology. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2010. Print.