FREE THE FEED OR FEED THE PROBLEM?
On Mothering Sunday, shoppers in Shoreditch were accosted by a giant inflatable breast. Although we work here, it was the weekend so we missed experiencing it in person but the pictures show it dominated the skyline like some super-sized, B-movie creature.
The stunt was created by ad agency Mother, to stand up for breast-feeders and the judgement they face. There’s still a massive taboo around mums getting their boobs out in public, so this in-your-face display of huge breastage was clearly the point. It's a burning issue and one that’s rightly deserving of attention, but something about this has been bugging us.
It’s clear the aim was to normalise “It’s just a breast guys, get over it” and lighten the tone. But was this the right idea? Doesn’t opting to use an inflatable, monster, mammary gland actually feed into the very problem it claims to be fighting against? It reduces an important issue down to its most basic parts. It’s childish and glib and provokes a schoolboy-esque snigger. Perhaps because it’s the product of an ad agency culture dominated by male perspectives. A culture that’s sadly lacking in female creative directors (only 11% of the world’s creative directors are women) and where junior female creatives repeatedly admit that there’s pressure to fit in and behave like one of the boys.
Whilst it’s brilliant to shine a spotlight on this issue, we can’t help but feel a bit deflated that once again women’s boobs have been hi-jacked and presented as objects of fun. Breast-feeding is natural. Isn’t that the message that needs to be championed? It’s much harder to articulate. It’s not as exciting or sensational. But perhaps this stunt was less about genuinely shifting perceptions and more about a photo op.