MILK, 2019

It’s purity, associated with the innocence of the child, is a token of strength, of a strength which is not revulsive, not congestive, but calm, white, lucid, the equal of reality" (Barthes, 1973, p.60)

As Roland Barthes states in Mythologies above, milk has always obtained a status of innocence. Being the primary source of nourishment for infants and children, it is immensely symbolic of purity and maternity.

However, milk’s eminence can be challenged by the evident connections it has to hostile acts, from the exploitation and mistreatment of animals, to damage to human health and damage to the environment. As well as the adverse effects the production and consumption of milk has on humans, animals and the environment, the lucid liquid has correlations to sexual activity and fetishism.

This transition from a pure essence into an adulterated substance can be manifested in various ways: its erotic physicality; subsequent representation and association with sexualised women in advertisements; and its inevitable corruption as the embodiment of innocence.

The symbolic performance of consuming milk stands as a disconnection and yearning for the notion of innocence, a desperate grasp at reclaiming one's childhood. This attempt to recover the innocence of childhood is an attributing factor to the subversion of milk’s purity.