What is an article that influences the reader in one way or another and could you answer the following questions below regarding that article: What are the biases in the article and how do they...

What is an article that influences the reader in one way or another and could you answer the following questions below regarding that article:

What are the biases in the article and how do they perpetuate the social norm of our society?

Does the article stereotype, discriminate against race/ethnicity or reinforce gender roles?

Does the article reinforce the status quo, refer to social class etc..?

Asked on by lkballer24

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

I chose a current news article with the link posted below this answer.  Simply click on the link to read the article which is called "Dad Supports Breastfeeding Wife in Head-Turning Photo."  Also, let me say that, although the article speaks from an American vantage point, the photo is actually of a couple living in Jerusalem, so that gives an interesting twist to the "status quo" idea.  Further, I will focus on the American vantage point because I am guessing that is what you mean by "our society" in your question.

First, let me describe the photo (just in case you are unable or unwilling to look at it yourself).  The photo is of two open bathroom stalls.  The first stall shows a woman seated on the toilet while she is breastfeeding a baby under a breastfeeding cover.  The second stall shows a man seated on the toilet while he is eating a plate of spaghetti.  The original caption for the photo was as follows:

My baby eating is not a gross side effect of having children.  If you are not willing to eat your lunch in the bathroom, then don’t expect me to feed my kid there.

Now to your questions.  The biases in the article are absolutely "pro-breastfeeding in public" biases! Further, I would say that the "social norm" of our society in this regard is that a woman is welcome to breastfeed in public as long as she is covered because, in American society, the breasts are considered private parts.  However, this article, as well as many other gender-based articles, shows that there is controversy surrounding this idea.  How much skin during breastfeeding is too much skin?  There is a simple way that the photo and, in essence, the article, perpetuates these societal norms:  the woman in the picture is wearing a breastfeeding cover!  Unfortunately for her, even pro-breastfeeding advocates got angry at this fact. The woman, herself, says:

I don’t ever want to be inconvenienced by being asked to leave a place to go nurse, but I don’t want to inconvenience others by showing them a body part that’s usually covered.

This article absolutely does NOT "discriminate against race/ethnicity" but It does stereotype and "reinforce gender roles." Why the former?  Well, the article, itself, is an interesting collaboration between American and Israeli thought, so that allows discrimination by race and ethnicity to fall by the wayside.  However, could there be a photo that better reinforces gender roles?  The woman is feeding the child, the man is feeding himself in work clothes!  The man is providing for the family while the woman takes care of the child.  That is a common stereotype and one that is in the midst of being broken in America.  Through that stereotype, we can see the traditional gender roles that are being challenged.

The article reinforces the status quo in the same way that it reinforces the social norm as has been stated previously:  a woman is welcome to breastfeed in public as long as she is basically covered.  The irony is also that the status quo about this particular subject (public breastfeeding) is that we still fight about its nuances.  The way this article enforces the status quo is through the photo and the comments from the woman above.  The woman is even covered in the photo.  Further, she does believe that private parts should be covered. 

Finally, in reference to social class, there are a couple interesting points to make.  The man in the picture is obviously in "work clothes" and wearing a tie.  This denotes an upper-class man.  However, later in the article, the author talks about a similar controversy that began between the businesses of Goodwill and Golden Corral. Now, quite frankly, those two businesses are very seldom used by the upper class.  So, in my opinion, social class is well represented here.

Sources:

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