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Archive for the ‘sexy breastfeeding?’ Category

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.

o-VOGUE-570

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I currently have an incoming link from Fark.com with a thread on extended breastfeeding, and it’s Fark.com so you’re not expecting much breastfeeding enlightenment and there isn’t, but then this:

baska: Can you not provide adequate comfort and reassurance without sticking a tit in the kid’s mouth?

factoryconnection: If nursing is suddenly inappropriate for comforting a child, then why should any other childish comfort be appropriate? For the record, I cannot comfort a child with my breast as I’m a guy. I’ve lived with a breastfeeding wife for the last five years (across three kids) and have seen:
1. Nothing remotely creepy nor sexual between mother and child (including our many friends that nursed their kids)
2. No “whipping out” of anything in public and even rarely in private
3. No strange behavior as a result of having weaned after 12 months of age, nor any particular air of indulgence at offering the same.

It is just so strange to see the terror with which seemingly reasonable farkers react to the thought of a 15-month-old nursing. I mean, the AWs on here that use their titties to get farkers to buy them things off their Amazon wishlists I understand; their relationship with their tits is a uniquely commercial one. But man there’s a whole lot of breathless fear of nursing on this site.

I’d like to offer a tip of the cap to those that suggested “American Suckers,” “Jugrats,” and “Battlestar Lactica” however. Those were good.

I really like seeing The Dads call this crap out instead of The Mums for a change.

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I think you know when Madonna incorporates images in her new music clip of herself pretending to breastfeed that breastfeeding is having its time.

Put your leopard skin maternity bra on and give her all your luvin’ because further evidence for the case that breastfeeding has pop cultural buzz can be found here, here, and here.

I feel like this clip for Give Me All Your Luvin’ is kinda playfully sending up the whole ‘yummy mummy’ thing. And watch for the very end of the clip where you will see that punting dolls and scoring a touchdown is also having its moment. Busy working mother imagery, anybody?

Apparently Madonna’s new album, MDNA includes lyrics she wrote referring to the “life of an ex-wife”, having “no time”, “doing ten things at once”, “custody” and “pre-nups”. I know some people find it grating when hugely wealthy celebrities talk about their difficulties with juggling work and family but I gotta say I find this aspect a little more refreshing than the rest of their  ‘yummy mummy’ caper.

I’m a looooong time Madonna fan and I also quite like M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. Undoubtedly some of Madonna’s ideas have been problematic though; whether you love or hate her here’s two very different feminist essays on her that are worth the read: Naomi Wolf and bell hooks.

Finally, thanks to the lovely Veronica Darling for the tip on the clip.

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Remember this? A breastfeeding portrait of pornographer and feminist performance artist, Madison Young that led another pornographer to accuse her of exploiting and sexualising her baby? Well, Tracy Clark-Flory has just interviewed Madison Young over at Salon on the whole controversy.

Why is the issue of sex and motherhood such a potent subject?

People obviously have a lot of issues around moms, regardless of whether their sexuality is documented on camera. Just Jane Smith having a sex life and having a kid and being out about it is controversial.

I like to make art about what’s going on in my life right now, and my child is totally consuming my life. Even when I’m not with her, my identity is affected by her existence. She’s my inspiration for basically everything that I do now. People would tell me before that everything would change when I had a kid, but I thought they meant, “You’ll never do adult film again” or “You’ll never make art again.” It’s not those kinds of things but rather why you’re doing it or how you do it.

We’re creating our own family, in our own way, instead of feeling like we have to move to the suburbs and have nine-to-fives and give up all that we are because we have a kid.

Let’s talk about the controversy over the breast-feeding image.

What was interesting was that people were projecting all these fears and hang-ups that they have onto that image. So I think there’s obviously some conversation that needs to happen around it, and hopefully we can create some safe spaces for those conversations.

That’s why when people started using the p-word [pedophile], it just seemed so incredibly loaded and dangerous. As a mom, you’re constantly worried: Am I doing the right thing? Am I giving her enough love? Should I be here talking to you instead of being with her right now? It is gut-wrenching to leave her when I go to work every day. And then you feel like you’re not doing as good of a job at work because you’re thinking, “I have to hurry home to my child!” These are things that every mom, especially every working mom, deals with. It’s really challenging on top of that when you have numerous articles and comments from strangers about how you’re not doing a good enough job parenting, because you already have your own anxieties around that anyway.

Cross-posted at Hoyden About Town.

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After thinking about Madison Young’s breastfeeding photo controversy I went in search of other glamorous images of breastfeeding. Here is what I found. I really quite like these images, the women look strong and interesting, and not that there is anything wrong with the ‘adoring head tilt down towards baby’ breastfeeding pose, it’s what I do a lot of myself, but these are kind of compelling, no?

Maybe some of you will find that a lot of these images are only adding more weight to the pressure on mothers to be endlessly sexually available as women, and I’d agree that there was a case for that here, too.

First up, Jerry Hall.

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(Some Not Suitable For Work links included in this post).

Not long after her baby was born, Madison Young, an adult actor – also an artist, film director, gallery director, and activist – put on an art show titled Becoming MILF at Femina Potens, a gallery she owns specialising in queer, trans and non-gender-binary art. In the show she apparently questioned the way mothers are both stripped of sexuality and conversely, also made a fetish. Her exhibition included breastmilk milkshakes and a baby quilt made of burp cloths and “porn star panties”.  Yes, thought-provoking.. and impressively energetic, too. How is this new mother managing to do it all?

I’m brand new to motherhood.  My little girl is only eight weeks old right now.  I’m sure that sharing my life with my daughter will inspire, influence and affect my work in different ways as she gets older.  Right now, as the mother of a newborn, one of my greatest challenges is time.  I’ve always tried to balance more than is humanly possible in a day but now I have a tiny little being who needs and demands my attention 24/7.  I’ve had to really prioritize what areas of my life I need to be giving my energy to right now.  I’ll be working mostly local for at least Emma’s first year, and if I decide to take out of state or country gigs next year then it will be a family affair.  I take Emma along with me whenever I can, such as to university speaking engagements and to the art gallery, and Daddy watches Emma during the more adult-oriented work experiences.

The photograph above, modest as it is for a breastfeeding portrait, fired up another pornographer and sex work activist, Furry Girl, who accused Young of exploiting and sexualising her baby: “You are a revolting person. Your child will need so much therapy when she grows up and finds out how she was treated by you”. Young, in reply on Twitter, has been understandably shaken by these attacks: “The facts are not presented accurately and this whole thing just creating pain and danger to my family”.

According to Furry Girl two issues are at stake here – the first is that a baby can’t give permission to be included in her mother’s artwork, and the second is that Young may bring a certain audience with her to her feminist artwork. Could her porn audience see things that aren’t appropriate in the breastfeeding image? In short, Furry Girl believes they’ll be sexualising Young’s baby daughter and because of this Young is knowingly exploiting her child. (There’s something else at stake here, too, and Furry Girl must know it. Sex workers face a special kind of risk when it comes to anyone questioning their fitness as parents – they have a history of seeing their children removed from them by the state).

Furry Girl – who I retain a degree of fondness for on account of us both being vegetarian, and also, on account of her impressive achievements in activism - identifies as child-free, and many of her tweets on this issue read as classic, shitty child-free/anti-mother rhetoric:

Maybe I should squeeze out a kid, too. Being a mother apparently makes one more qualified than everyone else to form opinions on any subject

I pissed off the feminist mommy club. But since they don’t buy porn or do sex workers’ rights activism, it really doesn’t matter.

Boring: having all the hysterical leftist mommy bloggers bitching at me, Blah, blah blah….

I like reading conservative/Christian anti-feminist blogs sometimes. But no group is more hysterically pro-motherhood than modern feminists.

Outside of stupid feminist hippies, who sees breast feeding a baby as sexual? What kind of people want to see those photos? Not good people.

It is telling that Furry Girl doesn’t see the “feminist mommy club” as including any sex workers. Furry Girl’s reaction also says a lot about the difficulty we have in separating the sexual function of breasts from the nurturing role, something Young was attempting to explore in her art exhibition.

My exhibit Becoming MILF was a visual and performative journey through my pregnancy and into the throws of motherhood while still working in the sex industry. I wanted to express the challenges of balancing the life of the whore and the madonna at the same time. At the opening reception I sat in a corner hand whisking whipped topping for milkshakes while pumping breast milk, and then added the breast milk to the whipped topping. I was using traditional women’s work and the re-appropriating of my breasts for nourishment to create a dessert, encouraging gallery goers to address their thoughts on breastfeeding, breasts of mothers versus breasts of adult film actresses,  and the consumption of breast milk past infancy.  It spurred some fascinating conversations around nurturing versus sexualizing.

While Furry Girl’s criticisms of Young are apparently out of step with the rest of the kink community, they’re quite typical of mainstream anti-breastfeeding views. There is something peculiar about the way breastfeeding is seen as exhibitionism, when really, it is simply feeding a baby. It says something about the way we objectify women and about how women can’t just ‘be’, they’re always on display. It seems to be particularly troubling for those uncomfortable with breastfeeding to see a celebrity breastfeeding, someone for whom the private is so readily collapsed into the public. While it is true that Young is deliberately making her breastfeeding experience public, she isn’t exactly being ‘showy’ about it. Young’s porn and art audiences may overlap but this is not a sex show. If anything, the whole exhibition sounds achingly sincere.

I don’t know what Young’s fans see when they look at her breastfeeding photograph, but I can tell you what I see. I see vulnerability in that photograph, not a ‘Marilyn Monroe sex goddess’ vulnerability but the vulnerability of mother-shock, raw and fragile and calling upon all your reserves. I see pride, too, in her decision to pose breastfeeding. Pride in mastering a new skill and pride in her first baby. And I can’t help but relate to the excitement and creativity she is experiencing in exploring her new identity as a mother – after all, I started a blog as an outlet for my thoughts. It breaks my heart to think how exposed Young, still such a new mother, must now be feeling about all of this.

There is something else worth considering about Furry Girl’s criticisms of Young, and that is the way in which she can’t distinguish between mothers and mothering. Yes, Young’s daughter can’t give permission for being included in her mother’s artwork, neither can mine give permission for my writing. But who owns Young’s experience of motherhood? Who own’s mine? Where do Young’s and my experiences of early motherhood and our desire to explore these all-consuming aspects of our lives end, and our children’s ownership of them begin? Can Young, who describes her devotion to her baby daughter so lovingly, not be trusted to know? Does being sexual as women (or even sexually objectified unintentionally) spill dangerously over into our responsibilities as mothers? Does it prevent us from good mothering? Because incidentally, I also attract readers here from time to time looking for something apart from feminist discussion, who are instead seeking ‘sexy breastfeeding’ stories and images. (And what a crushing bore they must find it all, once here).

There are boundaries, of course, but they need not impose the complete separation of mother from self.

(Cross-posted at Hoyden About Town).

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Are any of you watching Game of Thrones? Have you seen the ‘extended breastfeeding’ scene in episode 5? (Not there yet, then look away, look away, this post is probably going to be full of SPOILERS from the first season). And if you have seen the scene, did you laugh?

Because isn’t the mother, Lysa Arryn lots of people’s bad idea of a quintessential attachment parenting type*? First of all, she’s quite mad, and I mean the full use of that word –  unstable, angry and eccentric. Then you have the fact that her parenting style seems both permissive and suffocating; her breastfeeding son (is he aged 6 or 13, the Internet is uncertain?) is a spoilt brat with a serious streak of cruelty in him because she has such trouble denying him anything. (You know, I don’t think she’s ever cried him out). Also, she breastfeeds wantonly in public and as you can see from above, she does not cover herself while she does it. And finally, she has also lost her husband, so I think you can assume that her ‘attachment parenting’ may be precluding her from having a normal adult sex life, too.

Speaking of sex, can I quickly add something general here about the sex scenes in Game of Thrones? I don’t particularly like fantasy, it’s not my genre – so I’m there for the politics, the zombies, the shots of horses galloping across expansive scenery and the HBO sex. Several men who had already watched the first season promised me that this was honest to goodness HBO television and that I could be assured of lots of fun adult content, including sex and violence. And that’s true, it is ‘adult’, which I like, but the sex scenes, what a disappointment. This is a boy’s own porn adventure. So porny, so cliché. They forgot to mention that. And I may be feminist but I can roll with a bit of objectification of women in my TV viewing and yet this seems distractingly one-sided in its focus on hetero male fantasies to me. For example, the doe-eyed white innocent being not only raped by a ‘swarthy brute’ but also later going through a college lesbian stage with her handmaid in order to learn how to better please him? And then, the most gratuitous sex scene ever happens during a scene where a male character (Lord Littlefinger) essentially fills you in on his back-story by way of a monologue delivered to camera. This monologue is occasionally interrupted by him issuing orders to two women he is training for his brothel who are having sex together in the background (and sometimes foreground). There can be no mistaking the centring of the male gaze in this scene because not only is the man in the scene entirely in control of these women – he’s fully clothed while they’re naked, and he tells them exactly how he wants them to have sex and when to change positions – but then, when in all their excitement they invite him to join them (see, hot faux lesbians not real lesbians), he actually sharply dismisses them. What a rude prat, and yet choices are so limited that he is my favourite character; I always gun for the Machiavellian types in a political drama.

OK, I get it that these are feudal times and not feminist times, and that women were often little more than breeders and sex slaves in that era but all the same, the sex scenes and sexual relationships depicted in the show could be just a little more even-handed. I mean, I can do sex and unequal power no trouble, I love True Blood. But something has going wrong when you have a cast of handsome men, as in the case of Game of Thrones, and yet none of them are filmed in such a way as to make them appear all that hot for me as a female viewer.

Or is this just me?

Anyway, now go read some analysis of Game of Thrones by people who actually love fantasy; it’s much better. Racialicious on the sexism and racism in the show (“swarthy brute” etc), and then here is Overthinking It on the sexism and ‘the rape that was consent in the book’ scene, and lastly, here is AfterElton on the only male gay sex scene so far.

P.S*. Also, don’t you love this says-so-much-about-the-world comment from here? “That’s the entire point of the scene, you’re supposed to see that Lysa is utterly deranged and there’s no better way to do that than showing her breastfeeding an 6-7 year old.”  People torturing other people to death in the show, and other people in incestuous relationships with their siblings and yet ‘extended breastfeeding’ is the sign of true derangement.

P.P.S. Game of Thrones as feminist propaganda? Try here.

(Cross-posted at Hoyden About Town).

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