Archive for the ‘celebrity breastmilk’ Category

You have to love art that is this big with this many breasts.

ag skywhale

And maternity and breastfeeding can still alarm. From the artist, Patricia Piccinini: “I didn’t think people would react against her as much as they have, but I think that’s interesting about us. We’re suspicious of difference, and that’s interesting in itself.

I think that she’s got a very beautiful and benign presence. She’s very nurturing. She’s a maternal creature and I think that they’re qualities that are missing in the mainstream and representations in the mainstream”.


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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.


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Pink tweeted this Instagram photo of herself breastfeeding baby, Willow. (How 2012 is that sentence? Anyway, back to the topic at hand). And here is Pink talking about breastfeeding and attachment parenting and all those current controversies:

I felt that the article in TIME on attachment parenting was unfortunately a tad extreme. I support attachment parenting 100%… And have a very happy and healthy little girl to show for it. It’s time we support what’s healthy (breastfeeding) instead of judge it.

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“The only time he cries is if he’s hungry. We all have nipples. I don’t care who I offend; my baby wants to eat. If I can’t get a cover over me quick enough, so be it.” – Selma Blair via here.

Interesting to see how many more positive comments there are on that celebrity news site than negative ones in response to this quote from actor, Selma Blair. Not so long ago Salma Hayek was breastfeeding her baby and getting absolutely slammed for it in the comments on celebrity news sites. Her baby was a little older at the time, thirteen months old, whereas Selma Blair’s baby is eight months old, but she wasn’t saying anything as assertive about it as Selma is saying here in this quote. Are the breastfeeding in public times changing? Because, being outraged about celebrities breastfeeding in publicnot enough irony in the world to cover that.


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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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As always, I have already posted a good number of these links on twitter but in case you don’t do twitter but do do links here’s them and much more –

Gets Too Obsessed with “Mommy, they are just like me”:

My oldest son is six years old and in love for the first time.  He is in love with Blaine from Glee.

For those who don’t know Blaine is a boy…a gay boy, the boyfriend of one of the main characters, Kurt.

prymface with Young Mums in 2011:

So, after the success of last years Young Mums in 2010 post I thought I’d have another go at putting together a collection of Prymface stories, events and challenges that was 2011 for young mums.

Emily of the biology files with Why growing up as an American female has left me wary of men:

Have you grown up female in the United States*? I did. I think about my experiences and how much they might have informed my current views, my sense of who I am, my wariness about men combined in complex ways with how very much I like men. I think that many men who are perfectly good people who respect women feel targeted, named, included by association when women complain about how men treat them, accost them in elevators or on sidewalks, behave too persistently in bars, and otherwise make nuisances or worse out of themselves. When I complain about these things and heartily agree that yes, all I want to do is take a walk, I don’t mean to encompass all men in these condemnations. Yet, I’d imagine that unless you grew up female, you may not have a complete understanding of why women–some women, at any rate–react this way to such behaviors.

The men currently in my life, the ones I include there volitionally and mutually, are all thoughtful people who’d never follow a woman on the street, catcall at her, or otherwise stress her out simply because she exists and is out in public. It’s not these men who are the ones of whom I’m wary. It’s the men I do not know. And there are reasons for that.

Peggy Orenstein with Should the world of toys be gender-free?:

At issue, then, is not nature or nurture but how nurture becomes nature: the environment in which children play and grow can encourage a range of aptitudes or foreclose them. So blithely indulging — let alone exploiting — stereotypically gendered play patterns may have a more negative long-term impact on kids’ potential than parents imagine. And promoting, without forcing, cross-sex friendships as well as a breadth of play styles may be more beneficial. There is even evidence that children who have opposite-sex friendships during their early years have healthier romantic relationships as teenagers.

Traditionally, toys were intended to communicate parental values and expectations, to train children for their future adult roles. Today’s boys and girls will eventually be one another’s professional peers, employers, employees, romantic partners, co-parents. How can they develop skills for such collaborations from toys that increasingly emphasize, reinforce, or even create, gender differences? What do girls learn about who they should be from Lego kits with beauty parlors or the flood of “girl friendly” science kits that run the gamut from “beauty spa lab” to “perfume factory”?

Greta Christina with Puritan Pundits Should Chill Out – Here Are 5 Reasons I’m Happy I’ve Had Lots of Casual Sex:

The phenomenon of women who have sex for its own sake seems to baffle many people. It’s widely believed that women have sex for love, commitment, poor self-control, to manipulate men, to please men, to make babies, to sooth their low self-esteem, and just about any reason at all other than their own pleasure. (While men, of course, are rutting horndogs who just want to stick it in the nearest wet hole available.) Sex, according to this trope, is by its nature a commodity that women possess and men are trying to obtain… and the phenomenon of women who are “giving it away,” who are defying these assumptions and treating sex as a pleasurable interaction between equals, is making the media piss all over themselves.

Good News with New Dominionists: Meet the Christian Couple Behind the Right’s Most Viral Videos:

When we first meet at a mutual friend’s birthday party, I have no idea who they are. She describes her politics as “Ron Paul-Christian,” and he says he would never support Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey in national politics because his obesity reflects a “character flaw.” A friend pulls me aside for context: “I wouldn’t talk about politics with them. They are serious,” she says, “and extremely influential among young conservatives.”

Later, I am shocked to find out that Molotov, 32, and Patricia, 31, aren’t just known among young conservatives; they regularly pop up on media watchdog sites like Right-Wing Watch and Media Matters. The Mitchells’ company, Illuminati Pictures, makes savvy use of social media to communicate their blend of right-wing Christianity and Tea Party politics. Their video, “I Invented the Internet,” garnered millions of views and introduced the Obama birth-certificate conspiracy theory to the wider conservative world. In that video, Molotov calmly demonizes what he calls the “black liberation theology” he associates with Obama.

Sady Doyle with What to do about the nanny?:

The What To Do About The Nanny genre has rules: It will citethe author’s own life as a cautionary example of what feminism hath wrought. It will touch upon the lower orders–community college students, single black mothers, the nanny–and explain how they’re relevant to the upper-middle-class. It will be about “gender,” but focus on the ladies’-magazine variety of female concerns: motherhood, marriage, dating. And it will shame upper-middle-class women for their ambition–and simultaneously imply that they, the women who can afford nannies and have seen the inside of rambling Cape Cod beach houses, are the only people literate enough to care about women’s progress.

Emily Manuel with Why does the media still refer to “Bradley” Manning? The curious silence around a transgender hero:

Despite this mounting evidence, Manning’s lawyers and supporters continued to make no mention of any preference for female identification, pronouns or the name Breanna, leaving Manning’s likely transgender status something of an open secret, and posing journalists with a conundrum: either the logs are true, and then we should be respectfully following APA protocol for transgender people and using female pronouns and possibly the name Breanna, or they are false and we should not.  Whether they believed in the logs’ veracity or not (and odds are, most who believe Manning to be a hero do), I have not found a single media source who appears to have considered the possibility of writing about Manning as a woman.

Harvest Bird with The needle and the damage done:

I had mantras, straws at which to clutch, that worked for some of the time. In moments of lucidity I could laugh at their disparate origins. A partly-remembered maxim from a former counsellor: that the ability to cope with uncertainty is a sign of mental health. Viv Richards, murmuring to the interviewer in Fire on Babylon that “I always backed myself”. Back yourself to raise this baby, I murmured in turn, not actually saying a word but imagining myself speaking through gritted teeth. The universal message of my colleagues, that they thought us best equipped among parents to take care of a child with the disability the numbers offered us. People wouldn’t consistently say that just to be nice, I reasoned, even in a workplace culture that prizes niceness above many other things.

Up and Down We Go with Dear customer who stuck up for his little brother:

you thought I didn’t really notice. But I did. I wanted to high-five you.
Yesterday I had a pair of brothers in my store. One was maybe between 15-17. He was a wrestler at the local high school. Kind of tall, stocky and handsome. He had a younger brother, who was maybe about 10-12 years old. Thy were talking about finding a game for the younger one, and he was absolutely insisting it be one with a female charcter. I don’t know how many of y’all play games, but that isn’t exactly easy. Eventually, I helped the brothers pick a game called Mirror’s Edge. The youngest was pretty excited about the game, and then he specifically asked me.. “Do you have any girl color controllers?”

Phoebe Holmes with Being Retarded:

All around me, people use the word retarded without a second thought.  Sometimes, I’ll say “Um, dude, really?” and they’ll say “Oops, my bad!  But really!  I was being so retarded!”

Sometimes, I let it slide.  I realize that it’s a word that’s ingrained in our society’s vocabulary and people use it without a second thought to its meaning.

Caroline Narby with Double Rainbow: On Lisbeth Salander:

If Lisbeth is autistic, what does that mean? She’s a very visible and well-known queer autistic character, then, but what comes of that? Her role as an avenging Fury is that much more magnified, since disabled people are far more likely than non-disabled people to be victims of violence and sexual assault. Lisbeth is not just acting against the violent force of misogyny, but against ableism and homophobia. Her interactions with her odious financial guardian demonstrate the intersection of those two forces: he makes it clear that her same-sex relationships are part of her overall inability to function like a “normal” person. For a woman who is disabled or otherwise deemed “unsound,” non-heterosexual and/or non gender-normative behavior is considered part of her pathology. The very fact that she is considered mentally unfit and is therefore a ward of the state goes from being a plot device (it’s part of a conspiracy to control and silence her, connected to her father, a former Soviet spy under the protection of the Swedish government) to being “too real.” It becomes a commentary on the systemic denial of disabled people’s agency and autonomy.

Motherhood in NYC with New Worry:

Recently I’ve been very worried that I’m too old to be a mommy blogger.

I know that I look as young and stunning as the day you first read that blog, but the ugly truth is that I’ve been aging. Behind your back.

Well, now that I think about it, it’s not that I am too old, but it’s my kids who are too old. But I’ll be damned if I’m too exhausted to edit the first three sentences of this post. Old age and all.

My children are 13 and 10, so we are past a lot of the stuff that mommy blogging is made of.

Or should be.

Garland Gray with Question: Do you find whipping out a boob to feed a baby in the middle of a grocery store is appropriate?:

1. YES. Also, lawful. Also, God gave us all eyelids and necks for a reason. Close the former or turn the latter.

2. Do I care if my child sees another woman’s breasts? NO.

Annie Urban with Moms Want to See Breastfeeding on Sesame Street:

Comments on recent posts on Care2.com about breastfeeding certainly show that the need to normalize breastfeeding is urgent. Too many people still compare it to urinating (breastmilk is food, not waste) or to sex (nursing is feeding, not sexual activity). In response to the “what if a child sees THAT?” questions from those against nursing in public, most breastfeeding advocates will argue that is exactly what needs to happen. Children, both young children and teenagers, need to see babies being breastfed. If parents take the time to explain to their children that breasts are used to nourish babies, then perhaps boys and girls will understand that breasts are not simply sexual objects.

All it takes is reinstating a few simple scenes like this one from the 1970s to help children understand how babies are fed.

Since welcoming her sons Miles, 6, and Frederick, 3, actress Mayim Bialik seems to have become the celebrity voice for attachment parenting.

The former Blossom star is open about her parenting decisions, from extended breastfeeding to co-sleeping, and now she’s set to share her experience as a mom with the masses in a new book titled Beyond the Sling.

These days I’m a pretty hearty soul. I have a fair degree of equanimity that has been hard-won. Still, I’m only human. And as I pen this I’ve just returned from a lunch date with old family friends. I found myself, quite suddenly, stuck in a corner (literally and figuratively) while these old friends argued toward me about

Would Steven Spielberg adapt Herge’s racist views (“of his times”) expressed in Tintin in the Congo to make a movie in 2012 and market that movie to kids?

Of course not. No one would see it. People would be horrified. Herge’s racist views are universally recognized as the aberration that they are. Why is Herge’s “dated” sexism celebrated in a loyal adaptation from one of our most acclaimed directors?

The continual viewing of stereotypical representations of both males and females cannot help but have an impact on the way that children develop their own ideas about what it means to be a boy or a girl.

Rachel Fudge with a review of Rad Dad:

Although this new collection features work by some undeniably cool cats—like iconic punk rocker Ian MacKaye, hip hop chronicler Jeff Chang, and skater/photographer Mark Whiteley, to name just a few—what makes the titular dads rad is not their tattoos, subcultural street cred, or half-pipe prowess. It’s actually way more radical than that: These are men who are deeply invested in questioning and challenging what coeditor Tomas Moniz terms “the social stereotypes of fathering that for so long have been used to justify gender-specific parental roles.” If that sounds a wee bit dry or self-righteous, don’t stop reading. The contributors may be earnest, but didactic they are not.

Womanist Musings with Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls:

Any Black woman can tell you a multitude of stories of overtly racist things said to them by their White girlfriends and this video montage hits quite a few of the most common.  It start the talented and outrageously funny Franchesca Leigh Ramsey. For those White people who are shocked by this video, yes, White people do at times say the most racist things.

A bee of a certain age with Raising feminists:

My partner and I are rearing three wonderful girls. We’re doing our best to help them to develop enquiring, critical, engaged minds, and a sense of justice, and a desire to be good people, who care for themselves and for others. But much as I would like to, I don’t think I can raise them to be feminists.

The reason is straightforward. If we are able to help our children to become independent thinkers, then feminism is a choice they must come to on their own. My guess and my hope is that each of them will develop her own commitment to feminism, but it must be their own commitment, not mine.

Echidne of the snakes with A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet:

Now here’s an interesting take on the question whether a divorced woman should be allowed to keep her ex-husband’s last name. It’s not her name but his name! He only lent it out for the duration of the marriage!

Set this against the background of the still-dominant tradition that women should relinquish their last names at marriage and you come to a very odd conclusion where a woman’s last name is something that should change back and forth, depending on what man defines her family membership.

And another from Echidne with New York Times. I’m Pointing the Finger at You:

I’m very annoyed by the kind of articles, quite common in the so-called women’s sections, where the writing seems to have gone like this:

1. I have a plot idea! We are going to say that all women now wear false eye-lashes.
2. I’m going to find some data that seems to back up my argument that this is a trend. Anything will suffice! If the sale of false eye-lashes has doubled in Dinkytown (from two pairs to four pairs, say), then I have data for a trend!
3. But most of the piece will be interviews with women who wear false eye-lashes now and how that is a statement of feminist intention and something that they really want to do. (These are real women, probably, telling their stories. The crime is that the stories are used as evidence to prop up the idea of a trend, even though anecdotes can be found on almost any behavior if one searches.)

The Guardian with Top artists reveal how to find creative inspiration:

I definitely don’t have rules – I’m pretty disorganised. In fact, I often have to guilt-trip myself into sitting down to write. It is so easy to let your life get filled up with other stuff – cooking, cleaning, going to the bank, looking after your baby. These everyday things do come through in my songwriting, though. Most of my songs are defined by a sense of loneliness, of isolation, that I probably get from spending a lot of time on my own.

The little images that I get from sitting alone in my apartment – the way the light is falling through the window; the man I just saw walk by on the other side of the street – find their way into snatches of lyrics. I write in short spurts – for five, 10, 15 minutes – then I pace around the room, or go and get a snack.

guerrilla mama medicine with Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the President?:

Miles Davis to Nancy Reagan at a White House dinner in 1987 after she’d inquired as to what he’d done with his life to merit an invitation.

Eh this is completely wrong. He was actually quite fond of the Reagans. It was at a White House dinner however. Here is what actually happened. From his autobiography.

The photo that has to be seen to believed at UNapproachable Black Chick.

This from Something Changed and I want Jarvis Cocker to love my blog, too.

further down the rabbit hole with Comments on Disability Does Not An Unfit Parent Make:

I am a disabled parent, physically and mentally. A disabled parent of a disabled child, no less. I will live the next ~12 years, longer if I choose to have more children, worrying that my child will be taken from me by my TAB ex-partner who is constantly looking for ways to denigrate my parenting, or that my future children will be taken from me by authorities who believe that my partner (also disabled) and I are unfit parents. It’s fucking terrifying. It frightens me more than almost anything.

In a garden.. somewhere with Division of labour:

I have long believed that a happy partnership means that both partners have to contribute fairly equally to the household and that no one should be left with the worst job of all: monitoring the other’s contribution.

To make this possible I think a fairly clear division of labour can help to reduce the amount of boring negotiations over household chores.

This is roughly how we have come to divide ours (for now, obviously things will change as kids grow etc)…

Vanity Fair with a look back at two decades of leading men in their magazine.

really, really, really trying with This was the best summer ever, the seagull gushed..:

“This was the best summer ever,” the seagull gushed, watching her as she dangled her legs off the edge of the pier.

“Could you tell me why that is,” she wondered, looking at the water in which the seagull was reflected. His reflection was broken into thin, detached ribbons of seagull.

He looked at her like he was confused. It was his way of saying no.

Brea Tremblay with The Best Time I Went to a Sheena Easton Concert:

Even a hint of “Happy Holidays” made Mom crazy, because we were Evangelical Christians.

Though, admittedly, we were pretty terrible at it. We were lazy, we were undisciplined, we abandoned abortion protests for bagel runs. That’s probably why my folks tried to pass by obsessing over the details. Growing up, my little sister Brittany and I weren’t allowed jeans, TV, music, or the Sweet Valley High books, because Mom thought the girls on the cover looked slutty.

Then we moved to the suburbs when I turned 13, a teenager in a world aching to corrupt and seduce me, and my parents suddenly got very worried that I’d rebel against the deprivation by shooting Nine Inch Nails into my veins or something. To head me off, they got way too enthusiastic about what they believed to be safe, secular pop culture.

Adrian Chen with Other People’s Facebook Photos of You are the Worst:

What makes the hideousness of other people’s Facebook pictures of yourself so jarring is the contrast with the perfection of your own, painstakingly curated pictures. In the pictures I posted, I look like the hip, millionaire co-founder of a chain of smoothie restaurants where the gimmick is you can order ahead with an iPhone app.

And if you want to die and go to vintage heaven.. then introducing the Thompson Family.

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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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Remember how bad it used to be.. when you were first a mother and you had a very difficult little baby and you were going out of your tree? Yes, yes of course you do.. and so there is this from Pretty All True:

Imagine that she is sleeping during the day and screaming all night long.  Imagine that she is the most difficult baby in the entire world.  Imagine this because it is true.  Imagine that she refuses to be on any schedule that she herself has not set, and that any attempt to change her schedule is met with fierce endless screaming.  Imagine that part of her desired schedule is that she nurse every 90 minutes.  Imagine that she is the worst nurser in the world, and that it takes her about an hour to eat.  Imagine that the end of one meal marks the beginning of screaming for the next meal.  Imagine that my boobs are in agony.  Imagine that I have not slept for more than 90 minutes at a stretch in perhaps three weeks.  Imagine that I have been sick and feverish with mastitis for the second damn time since this baby was born and that I am just now recovering . . . again.  Imagine that this motherhood thing is taking me on a rollercoaster ride through hell.  Imagine that I am at turns depressed and then manic and then violently angry and then sobbing and then hysterical.  Imagine that I sense I am about to be sick, possibly very sick.  Imagine that I am at what I believe is the very end of my rope (although as it will turn out, I am capable of hanging by a slenderer thread than I dream possible for a much longer time than I dream possible).  Imagine that Mark has decided that he perhaps lives in 1952, and that the best approach to fatherhood is to continue going about his life as though nothing has changed.  Imagine that I am so insane and hormonally whacked out of my fucking mind and sleep-deprived and determined to be perfect that this seems perfectly reasonable.

Imagine how incredibly close to snapping I am.

Imagine that Mark goes about his business, completely oblivious to my precarious state, pleased that being a daddy comes so naturally to him.

Imagine how very close to death Mark is.

(Also, this from Pretty All True, because I like laughing at my partner’s expense, too).

And thanks to Maelle for the links.

There seems to be quite a backlash happening against the film, I Don’t Know How She Does It. This from Michele Weldon in the Chicago Tribune:

So now is not such a great time to roll out a comedy about a nanny-employing, jet-setting female executive who can’t seem to appreciate her good fortune. It is also grossly inappropriate to reignite the cooling, decades-old Mommy Wars, a media-fed battle that pits stay-at-home mothers against their out-the-door sisters who are trying to pay the mortgage and tuition while pursuing professional dreams. Millions of us are grateful to work hard and pay the utilities, medical and grocery bills while sating our ambitious sides. Millions of mothers — and their spouses and children — who are out of work wish they had that opportunity.

Link via Deborah. (Live in the USA and you might like to do a writer’s retreat with Deborah Siegel, too).

Who says all gamers don’t get it? (Because hey, Bill is a gamer and he is pro-feminist). Geordie Tait’s open letter to his ‘someday daughter’ about gamer misogyny:

I know, you’re a gamer, you’re an angle-shooter, you voided a black pool of nihilism down your own unsteady leg at age 16, and you’ve been floundering in it ever since. Well, here’s a cause that doesn’t require you to attend any rallies or put up any posters. It’s more ubiquitous than politics, ethnicities, or economics, and it reaches right to your computer screen. You can contribute to this cause simply by tempering your own words and behavior and thinking twice about the language you use on message boards, the products and depictions you support, and the jokes you tell.

Resist the belief that you know everything about the issue already. Feminism is an actual field of study. As with any field of study, it should be entered with an absence of preconceptions. If a woman has strong feelings about women’s issues, it doesn’t mean she spends all of her time sharpening her castration tools. Talk to women about what’s important to them. As you learn more, you’ll understand more, in the same way that a budding engineer might gradually grow to understand a complex blueprint. If your first instinct when you hear the word “feminist” is to say “those man-haters want equality, but they still want me to pay for everything, hurf durf!” then you currently have as accurate an understanding of feminism as a confectioner would have of a Titan II missile schematic. You know those congressmen who say that Grand Theft Auto IV is a “crime simulator” that is “training new felons?” That’s you, and feminism.

I know you can do better.

The response to Alyssa Bereznak, even as a show of solidarity behind one of Magic’s biggest names, was embarrassing. We looked like a bunch of jackasses. The quick jabs were crude and malicious, and the longer responses were all carbon copies of the same whiny “shame on you, give geeks a chance, you might enjoy Mage Knight!” mantra. Nobody seemed to gain any additional perspective as time passed, either, with late-to-the-party buffoons gleefully diving in for b-word number 43,293.

Link via Josephine Tsui at the f word.

This is wonderful. Balancing Jane confronts a medical student over his racism when he assumes her bi-racial daughter is adopted (part 1 and 2):

Then, he checked her grip and said something that confused me: “Is she adopted or what’s up with that . . . (without pausing for my reply, he looks up, sees my face, which I suspected was somewhere between amusement and anger and stumbles on awkwardly). . . and, um, and you said she was in daycare, right?”

“No. She’s not adopted.”

“Oh. Okay. And, um, she babbling and responding to her name?”

I didn’t press any further, mainly because he seemed to at least realize that the question was awkward and inappropriate. I tried to just shake it off, but the “what’s up with that” really stuck with me. What did the “that” refer to? My daughter’s curly hair? Her dark complexion? Her brown eyes?

I never know how to respond to these things. My husband and I usually grocery shop and run errands together, but when I am out alone with my daughter, I seem to get comments and odd looks that throw me off guard. Once, in Walmart, a woman walked up to me and said, “Oh my gosh! She’s so adorable! What’s she mixed with?” “Labrador,” I wanted to respond.

Put your heart in your mouth and watch a 21 year old gay soldier coming out to his father on YouTube:

“I still love you, son. Yes I still love you. It doesn’t change our relationship. Do you hear me?”

Link via Something Changed.

Such beautiful writing from novelist, Penni Russon at eglantine’s cake on crying in front of her children:

Recently you said to me “Why don’t grown ups cry? Why don’t you ever cry?”

Amazed, I said “I cry! You’ve seen me cry.”

You said, “Have I?” And again, incredulous, “Have I?

I have sat down on the floor beside you and sobbed, from tiredness or grief or anger or hunger or because my blood burned with sugar. I have cried from hopelessness, because I am terrible at motherhood, because loving you hurts. Because I used to be one thing, and then when you were born there was a tearing, a splitting, like antarctica calving an iceberg, you split from the continent and I lost a part of myself and I must bear that loss over and over. You have borne witness to two pregnancies, and overfilled I leaked tears. You have seen me cry in public, in cities all over the world, in Paris by the Seine, in London as we crossed the street, in Helsinki, in Hong Kong. I have cried because you have used up all my oxygen with your hunger and your need and your love. I have cried because you would not sleep, would not eat, would not leave, would not stay. I have cried reading you sad stories and watching movies with you on my lap. From love and from pride, from exhaustion of feelings, I have cried.

Celebrity breastmilk for the long haul. I hear you, Mayim Bialik; she is writing here in kveller about whether to wean her toddler son or not:

I never ever believed that I would be nursing a child over the age of 3. But now that I am, I believe when he is done, he will be done. I believe that he will not need to nurse before he walks down the aisle to greet his bride under the chuppah, and I believe that nursing is natural and beautiful and wonderful. I believe in being conscious of where I nurse my toddler and I also believe that there is nothing wrong with nursing Fred.

Thanks to Jane for the link.

Disappearing into early parenthood? You will come back, I promise. Gaby Hinsliff at used to be somebody promises this, too:

But it’s only now, emerging from the tunnel, that I can see which of the changes parenthood brought (and which I tried so hard initially to deny) were permanent and which surprisingly temporary. In the thick of it, you are Alice down the rabbithole, Dorothy whisked away in a whirlwind, scrabbling for toeholds in a strange world and unsure if you will ever find your way home. And I was reminded sharply of that feeling this week by the food writer Esther Walker’s post on that bewildering feeling of having turned into ‘this mum person’, some strange alter ego exiled from what used to be your life. Why, for all the billions of tiresome words written about women ‘getting your figure back’ after having a baby, is so little intelligently said about recovering your identity?
Hell, the body thing is easy by comparison: eat less, run more, and if you haven’t got the energy yet, stop worrying and wear maternity clothes for a bit longer. What would be more useful to new mothers than guilt-tripping them back into their old jeans is knowing that there is a point, however unlikely it sounds, at which one’s mojo (or the bedraggled remains of it) returns. That your identity is not lost, but still out there somewhere, waiting patiently to be found.

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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.

Image credit

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Image credit.

(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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