Ricki Lake, with her new documentary Breastmilk, seeks to flip the script on female anatomy with a different kind of examination of the exposed breast.
Lake, who also co-produced 2008’s The Business of Being Born, didn't time the release of Breastmilk around World Breastfeeding Week by accident, saying:
“There are so many forces in our culture that make breastfeeding a huge challenge, not the least of which is a bizarre public anxiety around exposed breasts!”
Breasts on display in pop culture, she notes, are socially acceptable. See Kendall Jenner topless Instagram pics or countless other daily examples.
Breasts used to nurse babies in public are seen as controversial, though. Even when it's Olivia Wilde breastfeeding and looking absolutely stunning.
Imagine the struggles regular women must endure. This inspired Lake, who realizes that "breastfeeding has become such a lightning rod topic.”
Her documentary, she concedes, will “definitely make waves with the general public," but the former talk show host insists it goes beyond shock value.
It's also not “a pro-breastfeeding manifesto, but more of a keenly-observed examination of the obstacles so many mothers face when attempting to nurse," she says.
"People want a clear message that is easily digested and the beauty of this film is that it shows the messy reality of the situation without pushing an agenda.”
“After our theatrical screenings there were heated conversations among the audience about what the film was or wasn’t saying," Lake says, encouragingly.
The movie posters and film itself may shock some people, with close-up shots of breasts dripping and spraying milk. But Lake insists it's all educational.
"To me, those shots feel humorous and celebratory from a feminist perspective," she says. "We hope it brings positive attention to the film and incites awe and wonder."
The mere fact that #normalizebreastfeeding is a trending topic on social media, to the filmmaker, is evidence that a movie like this needed to be made.
“My hope is that the film gives the world a deeper appreciation and compassionate insight into the challenges and joys of breastfeeding,” adds Lake.
Will it? You tell us. Check out the trailer above for a two-minute tease of her attempts to do that and tell us whether you think she's on the right track.