Monday, June 25, 2007

Bare breasts interest the tabloids

Well, it is not news that the tabloid newspapers are interested in bare breasts. Here in the UK, The Sun newspaper set the standard, if that is the right word, with page 3 ‘topless models’. The phwoar factor that newspapers such as The Sun and ‘mens magazines’ promote and the low rates of breastfeeding, particularly in disadvantaged communities, means that many boys grow into men only ever seeing breasts as sexual objects. So perpertuating some mothers' reluctance to feed in public or even at home in front of family members.

These thoughts come to mind as colleagues in the Philippines report on a stunt outside the Supreme Court last week. On the 19th June the Ministry of Health and the pharmaceutical companies submitted final evidence in an oral hearing. The Ministry of Health is trying to defend baby food marketing requirements which the Supreme Court suspended after a legal challenge by the pharmaceutical companies and pressure on the President from the US Chamber of Commerce.

We launched an international campaign of support last November. See:

You can read an article from today’s Manila Times at:

It opens with the stunt at the Supreme Court:

---Quote begins
There are now more people whose eyes are open about the hazards of infant formula as a substitute for breast milk. Women with painted torsos bared their breasts outside the Supreme Court to dramatize their advocacy for breastfeeding and their protest against milk manufacturers’ attempt to block the implementation of the Revised Rules and Regulations of the Milk Code prepared and released by the Department of Health.
---quote ends

Your support for the campaign helped generate front-page newspaper coverage in the Philippines. See:

Apparently the stunt in front of the Supreme Court caught the attention of even the tabloid press in the Philippines and has been picked up in reports around the world. It was more tasteful than it may sound.

Here is the opening of the Philippines Sun Star:

---Quote begins
THE photo was more eye-catching than the story. Why would it be not? It was of women of various stages of aging publicly baring their breasts. Baring is hardly an accurate term because the women had bodily painted themselves, putting art and slogans on their chest. So the paint was a camouflage for drooping bosoms, especially for those of the spunky 72-year-old lola.

The women, 21 of them and presumably all mothers, partly exposed themselves outside the Supreme Court building to show their support to the Department of Health’s strict regulation on infant formula milk advertisements. The breast demonstration came a few hours before the SC was about to hear the oral arguments on the Milk Code, which bans ads for breast milk substitutes for babies up to two years old and aims to promote breastfeeding.
---quote ends

Thanks to the campaigning over the past months, this story is now being picked up around the world, particularly in the US. Here is the Philadelphia Daily News story, based on an Associated Press report.

What’s that? You want to see the photo? But the point was to draw attention to the story.