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What Loose Women Is Missing

I’m all for powerful women. Women with opinions, career women, ballsy women and, above all, women supporting each other which should make me a fan of the ITV lunchtime chat show Loose Women but something about the topical programme just doesn’t do it for me.

For the average mum or middle aged (or older) woman, Loose Women will most likely fit the majority of their opinions and topics of interest but as there are no panellists representing students or even women under 30 years of age (the youngest panellist being 34-year-old Jamelia), there is a certain generation gap, almost like a time lapse in opinion as some of the panellists views are still slightly out of date with modern ideas. In today’s episode (May 28), breast vs. bottle-feeding was the topic of discussion among the loose ladies. Following the publication of a report detailing that around 40% of women who bottle-fed their children said they received verbal abuse that made them feel guilty and ashamed for not breastfeeding, most of the panel including Judy Finnigan, Jane Moore and Andrea Mclean supported a woman’s right to choose and condemned these new so-called “pressure groups” who verbally abuse women who bottle-feed. But Nadia Sawalha took a slightly different stance.

When discussing her own experiences with her children, Nadia told the audience that she was glad of the pressure she received because it pushed her to overcome the difficulties of getting her baby to latch on. Encouragement to breastfeed is a positive thing but by implying that pressure should be applied to new mums who are trying to adjust to having a new-born and the countless concerns that go along with it, Nadia, and by extension the show itself, is sending out the message that, yes women should feel guilty and like less of a mother for not breastfeeding which is incredibly damaging to the new mums and young women hoping to start a family in the future. Of course, breast is best and the health benefits to both mum and baby are huge but women should never be made to feel inadequate, guilty, ashamed or like a failure if they are not able to or simply choose not to breastfeed.

This is not the first time Loose Women has stirred up controversy as Judy Finnigan during the Ched Evans rape case said that the disgraced footballer should be allowed to return to his career after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman because it was “not a violent crime”. The last time I checked, rape, in any circumstance, is an act of sexual violence and should never be excused and the panellist received a huge backlash on social media for her insensitive comments.

On a show with this type of debate set up, there will always be disagreements but these stories show that Loose Women is lacking a panellist who represents truly progressive ideas and the point of view of a young woman because although most of the panellists appear to be fair, just and broadminded, there are still some prejudices and old-fashioned ideals that shine through on this chat show.

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