Mother’s Day—what better reason to erect five larger than life inflatable boobs. The huge breasts, ranging in both size and skin tone, were spread throughout London March 31 to April 1 in an effort to encourage women to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public.
The campaign, #FreeTheFeed, was brought to life by breast pump company Elvie with the help of advertising agency Mother London. Elive is prides itself in the manufacturing of the “world’s first silent wearable breast pump.”
So proud to be part of this incredibly powerful campaign with @elvie this Mother’s Day across East London. #FreeTheFeed was an invitation to everyone to stand with all women who have felt shamed whilst breastfeeding in public. #FreeFromShame #FreeFromStigma pic.twitter.com/NnBIphv9Mj
— Amy Barber (@amybarber3) March 31, 2019
Mother London describes Elvie’s #FreeTheFeed campaign on their website:
“Forget the chocolate and flowers for Mother’s Day 2019, because this year, Elvie wanted to give new mums a bigger and breastier gift; the freedom to feed and pump with pride. But in order to do that, they needed to smash the taboo around breastfeeding and destigmatize the subject. So, what better way to do it than by inflating five giant breasts, all of varying size and skin tones, across the London skyline, inviting anyone who has ever felt shamed or confined when feeding in public to #freethefeed.”
Tania Boler, Elvie’s CEO, said:
“The #FreetheFeed campaign is an invitation to everyone to stand with all those women that have felt shamed or confined when breastfeeding or pumping.
We know the giant boobs will raise a few eyebrows, but we want to make sure no one overlooks the way that this stigma has been used to repress women.”
Despite it being the year 2019, there is still a lot of damaging stigma surrounding breastfeeding, especially doing so in public. So much so, in fact, that “only 43 percent of U.S. adults believed that women should have the right to breastfeed in public places,” according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
The Surgeon General went on to say, in “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,” when addressing the issue of barriers to breastfeeding:
“Restaurant and shopping center managers have reported that they would either discourage breastfeeding anywhere in their facilities or would suggest that breastfeeding mothers move to an area that was more secluded. When they have breastfed in public places, many mothers have been asked to stop breastfeeding or to leave. Such situations make women feel embarrassed and fearful of being stigmatized by people around them when they breastfeed.”
Due to pressures from society, whether directly verbalized or perceived, as well as pressure from family including their partners, many women are left staying home with their infants, attempting to feed them under cumbersome nursing covers, or in the most unpleasant of places—public bathrooms.
I used to hide in restroom stalls, because god forbid someone else feel uncomfortable. I’m thankful times are changing.
— SmileyMathProf (@PinemanorM) September 15, 2018
**Notice that Twitter has hid the above image of a women breastfeeding her infant.
Unfortunately, many people are quite vocal about their dislike of breastfeeding in public despite the fact that women’s bodies are constantly used in marketing and advertising to sell all kinds of products. And breastfeeding mothers encounter these critics constantly.
But one can't always look the other way, especially when the mum is parading around a pub…. and why should I have to look the other way, why can't she be more discreet?
— Mandhi's Ghandi's (@mandy1714) April 8, 2019
There should be a law preventing women from breastfeeding in public…
— Gash da Gash (@_killer_xxx) April 6, 2019
According a recent study, one in three breastfeeding moms have been forced to pump in the bathroom while at work. As a result of less than ideal pumping situations, all of the stigma surrounding breastfeeding and the resulting stress and anxiety, 30% of moms polled stopped breastfeeding earlier than they would have liked. Current recommendations suggest mothers breastfeed until a child turns two.
One in three breastfeeding mums has been forced to use the toilet at work to express milk, according to new research.
Whether you like it or not, boobs were made for feeding babies and that’s just what they’ll do.
Billboards of half naked female-bodied people everywhere: but breastfeeding in public is very offensive.
— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio) April 7, 2019
Elvie aims to reduce that stigma and change societal norms via not so conventional means. The company is certainly no stranger when it comes to making a statement about breastfeeding.
Perhaps the next giant inflatable campaign should address the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms, because men have babies too. Father’s Day 2019 anyone?