Celebrity chef and fifth-time dad-to-be came forward to urge women to breastfeed. He makes some strong points, but some women are frustrated with his stance.
Jamie Oliver may have been well-intentioned when he touted the virtues of breastfeeding. He may even have been well-informed—but not all women are happy with what he said.
"If you breastfeed for more than six months, women are 50% less likely to get breast cancer. When do you ever hear that? Never," Oliver said. We could not find confirmation of that statistic.
"It's easy, it's more convenient, it's more nutritious, it's better, it's free," the fifth-time dad-to-be continued.
But women came forward to criticize Oliver's comments. Barbara Ellen for The Guardian summed it up with the following criticism: "Why are you, a male, telling me, a female, about breastfeeding? Are you a doctor, midwife, breastfeeding specialist, a secret woman? When was the last time you lactated?"
This reasoning is certainly valid, but here's the thing: Oliver has kids of his own. He probably does know a thing or two about raising children—and breastfeeding is a big part of that. In a world in which women are told to cover up and hide away when feeding their children, do Oliver's comments help or hurt?
Ellen points out that Oliver's comments reek of sexism, as though a man needs to tell a woman what she should do with her body. Breastfeeding is definitely a great thing for a mother and a baby—but some women just can't do it and others choose not to. Is it anyone's business to tell them what they're doing is wrong, especially when that someone is not your doctor, family member or even another mother?
It's especially frustrating that Oliver called breastfeeding "easy and convenient." Almost every mother who nurses her child knows that this is simply not always the case. Physically it's a really tough thing to master and newsflash: many, many people out there are not receptive to women breastfeeding wherever and whenever they need to, which means it's certainly not convenient. With all that in mind, we can absolutely see why there's frustration and criticism surrounding these comments—and it's clear that Oliver does as well.
He issued the following apology:
I'm not planning on starting a campaign around breastfeeding. pic.twitter.com/vRGi1ud8By
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) March 18, 2016
How do you feel about what Oliver said?