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Experts Are Concerned Terms Like ‘Chest-Feeding’ Are Dehumanising Women

Experts Are Concerned Terms Like ‘Chest-Feeding’ Are Dehumanising Women

Ten prominent women's health researchers from around the world believe inclusivity can be harmful.

A group of language experts have issued a concern about the rise in gender-neutral or inclusive terms.

Changing 'woman' to 'person' when discussing pregnancy and switching out 'breast' for 'chest' are some of the ways that companies or organisations are trying to be politically correct.

It's aimed at ensuring people who are trans, gender non-binary or fluid feel included in conversations about parenthood.

However, there is a worry amongst some experts that this move to be progressive is actually harming women.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 'prominent women's health researchers from Australia, the US, Europe and Asia' have submitted a paper that will be released this week.


In the document, they believe these new terms are 'reducing protection of the mother-infant [bond]' and are 'disembodying and undermining breastfeeding'.

"Desexing the language of female reproduction has been done with a view to being sensitive to individual needs and as beneficial, kind, and inclusive," they say. in the paper.

"Yet, this kindness has delivered unintended consequences that have serious implications for women and children."

Co-author of the paper, Jenny Gamble, said parenthood and giving birth are fundamentally 'sexed' issues, not gendered.

That means people can be whatever gender they would like, however their sex does matter when it comes to giving birth.

The former president of the Australian College of Midwives said (via The SMH): "Confusing the idea of gender identity and the reality of sex risks adverse health consequences and deeper and more insidious discrimination against women.

"Sex [a reproductive category], gender [a societal role], and gender identity [an inner sense of self] are not synonymous but are being treated as if they are.


"The trend to erase the use of the term women or redefine it has started to sweep the world.

"Pregnancy, birth and early motherhood are fundamentally sexed issues, not gendered. Pregnant and birthing women and new mothers and their infants have unique vulnerabilities and also require protection."

Some of the progressive terms being suggested by different institutions include changing birthing women to 'birth givers, birth persons, birthers, birthing bodies, birthing families, birthing parents, birthing people, labourers'.

Breast feeding can also be called 'body feeding, breastfeeding/chestfeeding, chestfeeding, feeding from the body, human milk feeding, lactating'.

The suggestions have outraged many from around the world for eliminating the role mums and dads do when producing a child.

However, the terms haven't replaced their original words or phrases and have simply been offered as an alternative if the speaker wants to be as inclusive as possible.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News