Visual Argument Reflection

As it turns out, my argument was not successfully conveyed as I had hoped that it would be. I think that this is the result of an omission on my part and because I was attempting to make a complex argument more along the lines of feminist invitational rhetoric than purely persuasive rhetoric. The argument that I was trying to make is that infant feeding activism (as a form of visual rhetoric) is contextually dependent upon. The exigence for infant feeding activism is different in developing countries where the water supply is often contaminated and formula fed babies die of dysentery at a 25% higher rate than breastfed babies. For infant feeding activist in those countries, activism is directed against predatory marketing of formula because formula feeding increase the infant mortality rate. The most prevalent infant feeding activism in the western world recently has been focused on the right to breastfeed in public and the normalization of breastfeeding. I was trying to craft an argument that was descriptive and comparative rather than prescriptive-an invitation to consider how terministic screens shape rhetoric. Maury Brown invoked this idea when she said that “The argument is that this idea that formula is poison is widespread, but especially in poor, non-white countries, where the formula becomes seen as unnatural and aligned with corporate values.” Summer Glassie said that “The disparities between the pro-breastfeeding cultures is astonishing as it comes down to the “right” to breastfeed versus the “need” to breastfeed.” Charlie Stark recognized that there “is a large battle going on against formula and breastfeeding- though in 3rd world countries, mostly against /not/ breastfeeding.” The majority, though, interpreted the visual as an anti-formula or pro-breastfeeding argument, and it is that certainly because the activism shown is generally anti-formula or pro-breastfeeding.

I do think that the responses show that it is possible to present a verbal argument, because everyone did identify an argument, and the majority agreed on the nature of that argument. On the other hand, it seems that argument is understood as being primarily persuasive (perhaps because rhetoric is generally thought of as an attempt to persuade others to a point of view. It seems less likely that complex arguments that invite consideration can be easily conveyed. I think that it would have been possible if I had done a better job of constructing the visual.

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