A good friend of mine is a mother of three, a nursing student, and keeps a cleaner house that I ever will.
My mother has a PhD in pharmacokinetics, is a doctor of chiropractic, and teaches statistics at a university level.
What do we three have in common?
According to recent studies, people we have never met will assume we are all “less competent” because we breast-fed our children.
This article discusses a three-part study done at Montana State University that supports this claim. For some reason I can’t fathom, the majority of people who participated felt that women who breast-feed are generally less competent (whatever that means) and bad at math to boot. This both confuses and infuriates me. What the hell does breast-feeding even have to do with math skills? Breast-feeding is inarguably the healthiest option for infants (barring certain circumstances like STDs or specific drugs), and studies have shown that it can make kids smarter, yet many men and women in the United States believe that only dumb chicks do it. WTS!?! Do they think the babies are sucking our smarts out with the milk?
The comments after the original article get pretty heated, lots of women come out to defend their competence, and one person, who elected to remain anonymous, came back with, “If you think that anecdotal evidence is a reliable path to truth, then you are at least incompetent at critical thinking.” This is yet another instance where internet anonymity is probably a good thing, because I would very much like to hit that person with a brick. His comment (and I can’t help but assume “Guest” is a “he”) implies that we silly females are trying to dispute a study that shows breast-feeding women are incompetent, not a study that shows people think we are less competent.
This is a matter of public opinion and, for most of us, the only recourse we have to change public opinion is to share our stories. I know I don’t have a university research department in my back pocket that I can pull out to do a study that will prove we breast-feeders kick ass. Do you? Besides, when it comes to public opinion, statistics can only do so much. People are much more likely to be swayed by anecdotal evidence. We hear “75%” and it’s just a number, but “My friend Rebecca…” makes an impact.
So I am spreading the word. Tell us your stories. Tell other people your stories I want to take this uninformed bit of Public Opinion down.