April 30th, 2012
The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women
By Katie Allison Granju
I am really surprised by how willing you are to give Elisabeth Badinter a pass on the clear conflict posed by her substantial financial ties to Nestlé. Since my last dispatch, I discovered that not only does Elisabeth Badinter’s billion-dollar PR and advertising company represent Nestlé’s infant formula products, but Publicis also appears to be the go-to agency for the infant formula industry’s other major players as well, including Abbot Laboratories (Similac) and Mead & Johnson (Enfamil).
The fact that the author of a major new book asserting that breast-feeding “enslaves” and “undermines” women also personally holds controlling interest in the agency of record for the three companies that collectively control much of the infant formula market share in the United States is glaringly disturbing. I don’t find your counterargument that Badinter has been expressing the same point of view about “naturalist” parenting for the past 30 years to be persuasive. Why? Publicis has been charged with marketing Nestlé to the public since at least 1984, and has been promoting infant formula on behalf of Abbott Laboratories since 1997. Just as her views on breast-feeding may not be new with this book, neither is her revenue stream as the result of marketing infant formula.