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Sesame Street Breastfeeding Controversy

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by LinkiePie<3, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Don't... just don't make me have the urge to look up Sesame Street characters that have breasts. :sigh: I don't want to be one of THOSE fans....
  2. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well technically they all would, but yeah let's move on, lol.

    I agree that this is something more suited to a human character. It doesn't have to be a regular character, just a woman with a baby, shouldn't be too hard to find!
  3. Cindy

    Cindy Moderator Staff Member

    I get that I truly do. And that's exactly why the educators behind Sesame Street have always wanted a diverse human cast (race, sex, ability, etc.) to teach tolerance at an early age. That's also why they have targeted obesity. Start healthy habits young. And for those things sending an early message works. But I don't see the issues surrounding breastfeeding in public on the same level as say discrimination or eating too much candy. It's not until puberty does the breast become a sexual object - and let's be honest, this is why some people object to breastfeeding in public, they think it's offensive. The child Sesame Street viewer sees the breast as one of two things 1) something mommy uses to feed baby brother/sister or 2) just another body part.

    I agree, making public breastfeeding more mainstream is a good thing and what's more mainstream than television? That way children, teens, adults and the elderly all see it for what it truly is: feeding a baby. And if Sesame Street adds a cast member who breastfeeds her baby during the show I'm all for it. I just think that this so called "push" as the article states is a little misdirected. Why aren't they asking for shows like "Up All Night" about a young couple and a baby, or a pregnant character Pam from the Office to have more breastfeeding scenes? Just think of all the misconceptions that could be broken by showing adults on adult TV shows doing something as natural as breastfeeding a baby.
  4. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Yeah I get what you're saying; the discomfort is something you find in the adult world. And that kind of gesture by adult TV shows could help mothers feel like someone was finally speaking for them.
    Cindy likes this.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I always felt the healthy habits bit was damage control for having McDonalds as a sponsor.

    Aside from that, I completely agree... some things are for young children to know, others aren't. Breastfeeding seems like something adult parents could talk about, and I kinda have a feeling that if they talked about it retroactively, like "That's what Mommy did to you" it may confuse kids who were bottle fed.

    Still, the problem isn't the subject matter, it's the show. More specifically the tone of the show currently.

    However, I can see Sesame Street talking, not so much breastfeeding, but rather about how baby animals get milk from their mothers, and liken it to breastfeeding... sort of as a "humans aren't all that different from animals" type biological/nature lesson.

    Still, we just don't have the luxury of Big Bird asking what grown ups are doing unless it's directly related to a curriculum based plot line. And that would mean it has to deal with science, trial and error, nature, healthy habits, multiplication and more complex math concepts... all that stuff. The likening human breastfeeding to how calves get milk from the mother cow is as close as the curriculum would get.
  6. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    As a bottle fed kid, I was confused for it two seconds but I got over it! Lol. Being confused is part of learning and there's nothing wrong with that. That's WHY you are taught things so you won't be confused anymore. It's kind of funny how terrified we are of "confusing" children as if their little brains will explode. Kids are tougher than they look and they can take a little confusion.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I don't think most kids would be confused, but then again, Sesame Workshop gets over analytical on things...

    Still, everything just brings me back to Sesame Parenting being a more suitable place. Like a "bottlefed vs breastfed, the choice is up to you, the first time parent" type deal. The curriculum and tone of the show currently just doesn't seem to have a very organic way to fit it in... but then again it's like they just have to talk about Yoga now when there's really no call for it. Though, I guess it's something kids do at upscale Mommy and Me classes. I also didn't care for the making sushi segment, because it was just white people and it didn't go into the cultural significance or where it comes from. Seems like the gritty little realistic city street has, like every gritty little city street, been overtaken by Yuppies. I'd be shocked if Ernie and Bert's rent didn't shoot up.
  8. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Was this posted here yet? It's SW's official statement on the issue on their Facebook page:

    So, it's basically what Drtooth said; they COULD talk about it, if it were part of their seasonal curriculum.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the show is SOOOOO annoyingly based on a forced focused curriculum now. And some of that curriculum is growing up. Breastfeeding could be talked about, retroactively. Sesame is more about the transition from being a baby to being a big boy/girl. Like that Elmo dumps the pacifier initiative they've had recently.
  10. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    It's a sad culture we live in, where kids in America are taught that it's ok for Muslim villages to be wiped out yet a woman breastfeeding in public(or two men holding hands) is horrible.

    Seriously, what is more natural than a woman breastfeeding? Politicians talk about what is "natural and unnatural", well shoot...that's about as basic and natural as it gets.
    Kids these days are being forced to consume Monsantos GMO hormone filled milk,
    high fructose corn syrup, ammoniaized pink goo "meat" products, pulverized chicken goop, etc...but a mother's breast milk. Yeah that's unnatural. "Breastfeeding is bad, contraception is bad. I should go roll up my jeans, put on some do wop, and get ready for it to be 1955 all over again.

    No wonder Europe laughs at us.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I can't begin to talk about how annoying the prudishness in this country is, and how we're all basically stuck in this far far far right mindset where like 2% of people who want to live in the dark ages have to control everyone else. I don't even wanna go into Lush Limburger's hypocritical statements about contraception when that drug addict sexual deviant jumps from bimbo to bimbo.

    But I must add, this wasn't an anti-breastfeeding controversy. Far from it. It was basically a request to have breastfeeding addressed on the show. And that doesn't make sense when you look at the show now. Ignoring the fact they have to have 10 minute shows inside the show and all that time Elmo spends mugging the camera, they don't make a street story that doesn't either talk about nature and science or isn't a parody of a movie from a year ago. Where would you fit that in? And most of the audience just started eating solid food for the first time. All that would be is a nostalgic throwback anyway. Sesame's focus is on growing up and moving on.
  12. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Just because these kids were breastfed doesn't mean they understood what it was (far from it). And frankly I don't even recall a time when I remembered being bottle fed (the equivalent of breast feeding). Part of growing up is going back and understanding things you didn't know before.
  13. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    One wonders if bottle-fed babies feel the same "naturalness".
    That one nearly made my tea come out my nose. :p
    See?
    I mean, granted Mom was in grade school when SST came out, but the fact that milk came from cows made her and my aunt swear off milk (all branches of my family tree are rural) for years (according to them).
    I taught 4th grade several years back. It was fun watching the disgust as you tell them toothpaste is made of Plankton's corpse. :p
    Just because WE see things as natural and know how stuff works doesn't mean everyone's got the memo.
    You're one too? Sweet! Maybe we can form a club! :D
    Kids ARE being influenced. I had a 13 year old 4th grader reduced to tears because she was reading some little booklet about puberty and the 8 year olds were harassing her about her "nasty" book. I realize some of it may be a developing sense of personal privacy, and I fail to see how boobs are gross but snot is not, but I've been around enough children to know there are some issues that need to be addressed.
    Maybe we need "Sesame Street Playground" (ridiciously young) and "Ultimate Sesame Street" (relatively more "hardcore"). LOL.
  14. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    It was surprising because it was new. And I forgot about it a minute later. And so would most kids as long as their parents don't make it a big thing. Being bottle fed is not the issue. ;)

    More and more I agree with the experts that say there's no benefit from very young children watching TV and it could actually be harmful.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    But my main point is that there's NO organic way to bring it up in the show anymore. That's much more a reflection of the series currently than society. Well... a little society in their treatment of kid's shows.

    Like I said before, unlike the 1970's episode, the current show has no luxury of having Big Bird or Elmo walk up to an adult and ask what they're doing because it's not part of STEM and not a parody of The Hunger Games or something. And need I even say that SS's main demographic isn't quite the same age group?

    Still, it seems something that's more a debate of parents than for kids. It's not that I wouldn't care to see it addressed... it's natural and shouldn't be demonized, and every place should have a designated area for that sort of thing... but how does it fit in with the zip bang series we have now? Maybe Murray can talk about it.
  16. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    Someone (I think it was you Cindy) brought up the Buffy breastfeeding clip. But there was also Maria breastfeeding Gabi clip. It was a little girl watching Maria breastfeeding Gabi & they were pretty much having the same conversation Big Bird & Buffy had years earlier. It ended with the same comment about breastfeeding: "That's nice."
  17. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    I'm sure that episode of "Murray Had a Little Lamb" would raise a few eyebrows...

    Murray: "We're going to...BREASTFEEDING SCHOOL!"
    Ovejita: "Escuela de la lactancia materna!"
    Murray: "Yaaaaaay!"

    Seriously, the Buffy/Big Bird and Maria segments done back in the day got it just right. They just explained what it was in a simple manner kids could understand. Big Bird asked what a kid would ask. The research was done beforehand just like any other segment at the time and it worked.

    I've wondered about the aim of the show myself...there's 10 minutes of words like "amphibians" or "feldspar", a quick mention of a letter or number, then before you know it, Elmo is talking about shoes for 15 minutes. Uh...who is Sesame Street's audience? If it's for the "Elmo's World" crowd, then how the heck are these kids gonna know all these engineering or science concepts that would go over their heads? For slightly older kids, learning about camouflage might be interesting. But they'll roll their eyes at the animated Cookie Monster with the octopus or Elmo singing the word "hands" to the tune of "Jingle Bells".

    Then there was that weird bit with the plastic bag sculptures inflating and deflating from the city subway grates....what was that all about? (episode 4219).
  18. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Especially when it's still up in the air as to whether very young kids even benefit from TV. ;)
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I've been saying that for some time now. The show is ALL over the place and doesn't know if it's for pre-preschoolers or kindergarteners who want to learn about science. I remember how a few years ago, everyone was complaining about how the show was"dumbed down," and while there are segments that still have that in affect, I call shinanigans on that as they're teaching some very complex math and science topics now. They NEVER did multiplication before. Science stuff was confined to small things like ice is water and vice versa. Now they expect kids to know all the different sounds birds make.

    Who is the show for now?
  20. mimitchi33

    mimitchi33 Active Member

    Bring back the breastfeeding!


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