Abstract

Using feminist theory, this study focuses on discourse around breastfeeding on Twitter. Using a mixed-methods approach, I first examine the use of the hashtag #breastfeeding on Twitter to identify the networks driving the discourse. The discourse analysis was completed to explore how feminist principles and mothers’ agency were represented in tweets related to breastfeeding. The results, based on (N = 2,818) tweets, show that discourses are seen as breastfeeding as “natural” and “primary,” bottle feeding as second best, sexualization versus the natural functions of the breast, breastfeeding as a provocative act, mothering as a public or private nexus, breastfeeding related product placement, breastfeeding as protection for baby or mother, support and education for breastfeeding, breastfeeding as it pertains to insurance, and intersectionality. Also, the network analysis found that the discourse was driven primarily by non-profits and health organizations.

Publication Date

5-10-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Student Type

Graduate

Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)

Advisor

Ammina Kothari

Advisor/Committee Member

Laura Shackelford

Advisor/Committee Member

Andrea Hickerson

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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