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Refusing to wear a mask is drinking the kool-aid

Is there anything more ironic than refusing to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic? While anti-maskers loudly insist that no one can tell them what to do, they are in fact doing exactly what President Trump has pressured them to do: risking their very lives to demonstrate political fealty. We have an expression for […]

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Natural childbirth advocacy depends on privilege

Last week I reviewed why natural childbirth philosophy is fundamentally and ineradicably racist. I quoted Rachelle Chadwick (Bodies that Birth: Vitalizing Birth Politics) in exploring an imagined racial dichotomy in birth where indigenous women of color are fantasized as “primitive and animal-like and thus primed to give birth (and breastfeed) easily and without pain or […]

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The Gaskin Maneuver is a classic example of medical colonialism

The racism of natural childbirth advocacy is usually covert, but back in 2017 Ina May Gaskin inadvertently showed hers. According to birth workers of color who attended her talk, when asked about the problem of extraordinarily black maternal mortality, Gaskin blamed women of color for their own deaths: Gaskin responded with anecdotal stories about Black […]

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The casual racism of breastfeeding advocacy

Ironically, one of the most racist examples of breastfeeding advocacy that I’ve ever seen can be found on the website of a bastion of liberalism, National Public Radio. Entitled Secrets Of Breast-Feeding From Global Moms In The Know, it exploits black African bodies to promote the values of privileged, Western, white women. It’s almost like […]

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Natural childbirth and the racialization of pregnant bodies

Yesterday I wrote about the racist origins of the philosophy of natural childbirth. The idea that “primitive” women feel no pain in childbirth and that the pain that Western women experience can be attributed to the “fear-tension-pain cycle” originated with obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read. If you doubt that his fabricated claims were based on racism, you […]

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The racism of natural childbirth and breastfeeding advocacy

Sadly, there is an ugly history of racism in medicine. What’s less well known is the history of racism in natural childbirth advocacy and breastfeeding promotion. As Alison Phipps explains in‘The New Reproductive Regimes of Truth,’ a chapter in the book The Politics of the Body: Gender in a Neoliberal and Neoconservative Age, natural childbirth […]

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Breastfeeding research sucks!

Imagine a study that compared in hospital blood transfusion rates to death rates. What would you conclude if that study found that people who received blood transfusions were more likely to die than those who did not? Would you postulate that blood transfusions caused deaths? Would you recommend that blood transfusions be withheld? Of course […]

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COVID denialism is racism

At first it seems confusing and out of place; they weren’t celebrating their heritage, real or imagined. So why did protesters in Michigan — as far north from the Deep South as you can possibly be and still be in the US — wear Confederate garb and carry Confederate flags? Because COVID denialism is primarily […]

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Are lactivists abusive?

It’s not difficult to recognize that this husband is abusive: My daughter, 10 months old has recently started biting during breastfeeding… [M]y breasts kind of look like a war zone- I’m bleeding and sore because of the biting and simply cannot take it anymore. … My husband does not like this. He was okay with me […]

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What does it mean if breastmilk has anti-coronavirus antibodies? Not much!

The lactivist community is obsessed with the idea that breastmilk might contain antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19. [Rebecca] Powell is an assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine who studies the immune properties of human breast milk. Her lab is hoping to pin down whether breast […]

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