The current essay aims to propose a rhetorical analysis of the Breastfeeding in Public visual. It seems fair to state that the image has an aim to discuss one of the ethical issues of the 21st century connected with the opposition between the traditional morality and postmodern paradigm of consumerism. It is important to note that the image depicts a young mother, who nurses a baby in the shopping mall. The administration of the mall aims to force a woman to stop breastfeeding in order not to outrage the visitors. The ironical subtext of the visual is based on the big advertising with the image of half-naked breasts of a model, which is situated behind the participants of the conflict.
Picture 1 – Breastfeeding in Public Visual
It is obvious that the message of the visual is to start the discussion regarding the dichotomy of the ethics of consumerism and traditional moral system. Evidently, family values were fundamental for the human civilizational progress (Olsson 137). It means that breastfeeding was considered as a natural process. Obviously, it is crucial to feed a newborn in a case of urgency.
However, some people consider breastfeeding as an intimate process (Marsh 38-39). Accordingly, such individuals could criticize those mothers, who nurse their babies in public. This radical ethical principle is used by the administration of the shopping mall to start the conflict with the young mother. Nevertheless, the existence of the huge advertisements with the unacceptable image for the traditional moral values makes the arguments of the administration contradictive. It becomes clear that the secret message of the visual is to reveal the hypocrisy of the modern ethical worldview.
It is hard to identify the sender of the message. However, it could be stated that the sender tries to question the postmodern system of values, particularly the importance of the consistency in the moral decision-making. The ironic context of the message gives an opportunity to suggest that this image could be used as a caricature of modernity in some journal. Accordingly, a receiver of the message is an individual, who lives in the 21st century. There is no doubt that many people observed breastfeeding in public. The visual gives provides a chance for a receiver to reshape his or her moral worldview.
The pathos of the visual is based on the emotional opposition between the powerful figures of the shopping mall administration and the surprised face of the young mother. It becomes clear that they use their power to oppress the woman and force her to leave the shopping mall. This position of power outrages the audience due to the ignorance of the administration towards the advertisement with half-naked breasts.
The visual is credible because the criticism of breastfeeding in public is a well-known issue. Moreover, most individuals regularly visit shopping malls and observe different advertisements on the Internet. It is obvious that most of the Victoria Secret’s ads use the images of breasts to attract the customers. Therefore, there appears no doubt that the described situation is possible in any shopping mall in the U.S. or in some other part of the world.
Finally, the logical structure of the message is also very clear. The message provides two basic narratives for the receiver of the message, which are connected with the administration’s text and ad on the background. It is possible to conclude that the Breastfeeding in Public visual brilliantly copes with the primary aim and depicts the existing moral issues of the consumerism society.
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Marsh, Jackie, Brooks, Greg, and others. Digital Beginnings: Young children’s use of popular culture, media, and new technologies. University of Sheffield. 2005.
Olsson, Jan, Bolton, Kingsley. Media, Popular Culture, and the American Century. Falth and Hassler. 2010.