25 historical images of breastfeeding proving that we do not naturally breastfeed under blankets. (Thanks to Heather for the link).
The standout star of New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s 2011 “New Photography Series” was Deana Lawson. An upstate New York native who’s been nesting in Brooklyn with her painter husband since they both graduated from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, Lawson is re-imagining the portrait in wildly subversive ways. Nudity and power are central to much of her work, which is often staged in domestic spaces – living rooms and parlors, or bedrooms flooded with artificial light. She manages to turn a family portrait into a visual essay on love and power with a shockingly casual, carefully posed, nude mother. Curator and critic Franklin Sirmans, who was an early advocate of Lawson’s work, has likened her to Black women photographers like Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson and also to Nan Golden and Diane Arbus.
Prude alert: image contains mild nudity so I put it below the line in case you’re at work…
“It is notable — and worrying — that young people’s presence in public places, regardless of their behaviour, was considered to be an ASB by four in ten adults,” said Hulley. “The information that adults have about young people, for example from their negative portrayal in the media, often defines them in terms of the threat that they allegedly pose to adults.”
In making a direct comparison between younger teenagers’ perceptions about particular (so-called) anti-social behaviours with those of adults — as both groups completed the same questionnaire — the research was the first of its kind, and could offer valuable pointers to policy-makers looking to foster more cohesive communities during a time when the generation gap appears to be widening, says the study’s author.
“In the context of increasing distances between generations, between ‘them’ and ‘us’, efforts should be focused on improving social connectedness by bringing adults and young people together so that adults can get a better understanding of young people and their behaviour,” said Hulley.
Just maybe, something similar happens with babies and little kids in public space. I say this because whenever the topic of babies in public space comes up you see a lot of very angry personal stories from people about how terribly disruptive little ones are in public and how completely rude and indifferent to this disruption their mothers are. This surprises me because I hang out quite a bit with mothers and babies and I don’t see a whole lot of this stuff happening. You would think I would be seeing some of this epidemic of bad behaviour. But what I see is the occasional rude parent just as I see the occasional rude elderly person, or the occasional rude teenager, or the occasional rude twenty-something person. I don’t see an over-representation of mothers with babies and small children in my experiences of rudeness in public. Maybe there’s a bit of confirmation bias going on, just maybe. And maybe that bias has its roots in misogyny..
God, I love Cusk’s writing.
Here, as elsewhere, the appearance of honesty, the willingness to “own up” to certain unorthodoxies, merely conceals a deeper strain of social competitiveness. The “good” mother, with her fixed smile, her rigidity, her goody-goody outlook, her obsession with unnecessary hygiene, is in fact a fool. It is the “bad” mother, unafraid of a joke and a glass of wine, richly self-expressive, scornful of suburban values, who is in reality good.
A review of Confessions of a Bad Mother by Stephanie Calman in New Statesman.
Enright is a patient writer. Her real triumph, as she plots her slow transformation into the mother of two children, is to capture the delicate sense of parenthood as something that, for all its frequent impositions, stems so profoundly from the self that it is almost an act of reading, of self-interpretation.
A review of Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood by Anne Enright in New Statesman.
If you wondered about whatever happened to that cute little baby called Storm who was being raised gender neutral there’s an update here. And Demeter Press, one of the best publishers for parenthood has a book being launched about gender fluid parenting practices which includes an essay by Storm’s mother. The book is available from here.
Holy hell, this is wonderful, wonderful writing but Ariel Levy’s story of the premature birth of her baby and its subsequent death is obviously also really.. incredibly heartbreaking.
But the truth is, the ten or twenty minutes I was somebody’s mother were black magic. There is no adventure I would trade them for; there is no place I would rather have seen. Sometimes, when I think about it, I still feel a dark hurt from some primal part of myself, and if I’m alone in my apartment when this happens I will hear myself making sounds that I never made before I went to Mongolia. I realize that I have turned back into a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone.
Most of the time it seems sort of O.K., though, natural. Nature. Mother Nature. She is free to do whatever she chooses.
Miscarriage, still birth, babies dying.. such important parts to include in the story of motherhood, which is why I have included the story of my own miscarriage on this blog.
At my sister’s. Cormac entertaining his baby cousin.
At my dear friend’s house for lunch. She puts on a nice spread.
(Note the dinosaur I’m having to look after in my bag. Sigh).
Vogue Netherlands has included a photograph of their model breastfeeding in a fashion spread and the photo looks great. As some of you may know, I love a non-traditional breastfeeding photo and I collect them on this blog. Mothers looking glamorous or dangerous while breastfeeding are my favourites.
But I just want to say about this photo.. that is a terrible latch, madam. Hurts like hell when a baby sucks on the end of your nipple instead of latching on properly.
I do so love Tracey Moore’s writing on motherhood in Jezebel. Here’s a link to “How to still have a drink when you have a newborn” and it is great. On nuance, risk, life after parenthood and drive-by parenting advice.