Monday, November 16, 2009

Formula Fed America

I learned about a new documentary called Formula Fed America on Twitter last night. There were lots of retweets of the link flying around, but I believe the first person to post the link was Anne from Dou-La-La.

Of course my first reaction to watching the trailer was, “Yes! Finally someone has made a movie about the dangers of not breastfeeding!” I am hoping the movie is going to be very accessible and informative without being so preachy as to be a turn-off to the average viewer. I am hoping it will be the breastfeeding version of Ricki Lake’s “The Business of Being Born” and will make a huge splash and be covered in the media.

I am tempering my excitement a bit for now. The website has sparse information on the movie so I have no idea when it will be in theaters or if it’s going to be straight-to-DVD or only available in huge markets. In addition to that, the trailer makes me a bit nervous.

Notice that it features three moms talking about their breastfeeding experiences and three doctors talking about the importance of breastfeeding. All of them are white. I’m concerned that the entire movie is going to lack diversity and breastfeeding will continue to be seen as something that only white women do when we know that’s not true. I hope that they don’t show lots of women of color formula feeding. I hope that the racial and cultural barriers to breastfeeding will be discussed. I hope that women of color won’t be completely absent from this conversation because our babies have the worst health outcomes in the United States and we’re dying of breast cancer and diabetes and obesity and heart disease at higher rates, too.

I hope this movie comes to my area soon. I will definitely be front and center to see it, but I’ll probably be holding my breath a little the whole time.

I emailed briefly with Leslie Ott, one of the makers of the film. She told me that they are still conducting interviews and hope to wrap the film in February. The film is still unedited and anything related to promotion is not yet set in stone. I have sent her some follow-up questions that I hope she'll have the time to answer.

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