What is it about?

Infant formula advertisements became common in newspapers and magazines in South Korea from the late 1950s, as advertisers of American and Japanese brands vied for mothers' attention to increase sales and influence over infant feeding choices. Over time, naked Korean baby boys were featured as a symbol health, vitality, and superiority of bottle feeding over breastfeeding. Babies were both gendered and racialized in the consumer market for infant formulas.

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Why is it important?

This article shows the "messiness" of transitioning from the Japanese Empire to the US-centered order during the Cold War. Multiple understandings of race were articulated in the realm of infant feeding in postwar Korea.


I hope this article helps people see how something so seemingly mundane and inconsequential as infant feeding was part of the larger transnational politics at the time. Infant feeding was never a neutral topic then and now. I hope you find this article enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Na Sil Heo
University of Pennsylvania

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Racialising Baby Boys: Racial and Gender Politics in Infant Formula Advertisements in Cold War Korea, 1950s–1960s, Gender & History, May 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.12535.
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