- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (April 2, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743211472
- ISBN-13: 978-0743211475
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,710,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fresh Milk: The Secret Life of Breasts 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Australian scholar and feminist Giles (Dick for a Day) shows the personal is political (and vice versa) in this collection of accounts with commentaries, a look at the pleasures, difficulties and cultural attitudes about breastfeeding. She intersperses comforting images of Madonna-like mother-infant bonding with more disturbing and unexpected scenes: pus- and blood-oozing nipples, the sexuality of breastfeeding, "milkmaid" porn, nipples as technological fetish and a recipe for breast milk ice cream. Giles impressively argues that our culture's mixed message to women-breastfeed for the health of the child, but don't practice that disgusting act in public-reveals a squeamishness about the pure animality of breastfeeding, as well as an unwillingness to come to terms with its inherent sexuality. As Giles comments, "The stories in this book reach toward a wider, and a wilder, space in which breastfeeding might more freely ebb and flow." Drawn from historical research, conversations, questionnaire responses and Giles's own experience, some stories are presented straight from their sources; others are combined and fictionalized. The accompanying remarks are often as long as the stories, and readers may get confused about the identity of the narrator at any given moment. But this collection is sure to provoke deep thought and strong reactions, both visceral and emotional, from revulsion to longing, sometimes both at once.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is not your typical book on breast-feeding. Giles, author of Dick for a Day, which asked a group of female writers the question, What would you do if you had a dick for a day? turns her attention here to the lactating breast. Ranging in subject from nursing bras to breast-milk banks, the collection includes personal essays, short fiction, and responses to questionnaires. Notable selections include an essay in which a woman expresses indignation over the discovery that her baby was breast-fed by another woman at day care. Despite the ubiquity of images of (nonlactating) female breasts in the media, Giles argues that the topic remains somewhat taboo--at least in circles beyond baby showers and new-mother discussion groups. Even those venues may shy away from such topics as sexual arousal during breast-feeding, or at least be a bit shocked by the essay from an adult-film producer who specializes in "lactation porn" and whose best-sellers include The Battle of the Ultra Milkmaids and Lactation Nation. A fascinating look at breast-feeding as a personal and social phenomenon. Beth Leistensnider
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Lots of fun.
And no issue, except of course, breastfeeding itself, and how our Western society has changed it from a natural practice into a pseudo-sexual shame, precluding the continuation of age-old practices like wet-nursing and public breastfeeding. This book is a fascinating read, even for the bottle-feeder.
The collection of stories cover an incident where a woman's baby was breastfed by someone else without consent, a father who used to latch his baby onto his nipple to comfort her, a woman who pumped for months after her daughter died -- donating her milk to a milk bank, children who weaned from their mothers very "late", and men who fantasise about lactating breasts.
Fresh Milk isn't necessarily a pro-breastfeeding book. Included are stories by those who never wanted to breastfeed their babies, those who tried and decided it wasn't "for them", and those mothers who "admitted defeat" after battling hard to create a successful breastfeeding team with their baby. For breastfeeding does take two, and both the baby and the mother need to be able to work in tandem to create a breastfeeding success story.
Breastfeeding is as individualistic as women's breasts themselves, and no stories are alike. This collection of essays and interviews are all centred on people who have been touched by breastfeeding, or its absence. As the author writes, "together they extend the boundaries of what we consider normal when it comes to human parenting. They reveal a glimpse into what lactation means to us, and how it might fit more amply into our lives."
Borrow it from the library, buy it for a friend (giving it away only after you've read it first -- it's an easy one to read through quickly), or keep a copy for yourself. This book will provoke thought and discussion on breastfeeding from all perspectives, promoting tolerance and acceptance of a range of views.