The Horrifying Problem of Boobs!

Specifically, women boobs. No, not “man boobs,” commonly associated with overweight men or “manboobz” as in the derogatory term associated with a male feminist, or the former name of this fantastic blog.

Nope, I’m talking about this boob right here, and the millions like it all around the world.

I can hear the outrage now.

“How could you post that picture without so much as even a warning?”

“Is it really so much to ask women to cover up when doing that in public?”

“Why can’t they do it in the bathroom? Somewhere private? My kids don’t need to see that!”

“Breastfeeding just makes me uncomfortable. Mothers should be more considerate of the feelings of other people around them.”

If you have those thoughts or similar ones, I’m going to make this perfectly clear:

I do not give a fuck. Not a single one.

And here is why: I spoke with a woman who recently became a mother, and she was willing to share some of her experience with me.

R: The funny thing is, I used to be one of those narrow-minded people. When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but in my life I’d only seen breastfeeding last a couple months, tops. I thought that was how it was: You breastfed for a couple months and then switched to formula.
I kept saying that I would never nurse in public, and that if I did I would
 certainly cover up because it ‘wasn’t appropriate.’

Soubrette: I don’t have children, so I thought people mostly switched for comfort reasons. I hear breastfeeding can be very uncomfortable sometimes.

R: Yes! But no one had ever explained that to me. The only thing I ever heard was ‘It’s just time we switched,’ so I had no idea!

S: So what made you change your mind?

R: But something happened when Noah was born where I looked at my body differently. My boobs weren’t sexual objects anymore they were for nourishing my son. And for the first few months I didn’t live my life the way I wanted because of being afraid to NIP (Nurse In Public)

 Sure I could have taken bottles because I had a lot of milk stored then. But I didn’t want to because that meant missing that time I had nursing him
So I just stayed in.
But with a lot of support of other moms and my husband (shocking to most), I just did it one day and never felt more liberated.
I had a little girl come up to me and ask “what’s he doing” and I told her “he’s just eating” and she looked at her mom who was smiling and said”mommy he looks so cute he’s eating!” And that just did it for me.
In review: this new mother used to feel Nursing in Public was taboo because it wasn’t an open discussion. When her baby was born, she saw her body as something other than just a body or a sexual objects. Those funbags had a functioning, biological purpose now, dammit! But, due to known societal stigma, she felt she had a choice between bonding with her son through nursing, or bottling extra milk whenever she wanted to go out.

Just add: Stroller, car seat, toys, burp cloth, and at least one BABY. What’s one more travel cooler of bottled milk compared to a complete stranger’s sense of propriety?

R was fortunate enough to have a supportive group of mothers as well as a husband who was all for the idea. She was also fortunate enough to have a pleasant experience with another mother and child who didn’t make a mockery out of her doing what evolution designed boobs to do. Not everyone is as fortunate.
When a woman chooses to NIP, she is most often scoffed at, judged, or ridiculed publicly. Someone is always asking “Ugh, is this REALLY appropriate?” or “My family and I are trying to have a nice outing, and this is really ruining it!”
If a woman nursing her baby in your presence is the only problem you can think to address, I would love to see what the world is like through your eyes. And if you’re worried about the “influence” this “inappropriate sight” might have on your impressionable children, I have points for you: 1) Your kids are exposed to way worse every day when you are not there to hover over them, and 2) if you can’t find a way to discuss the situation with your kids and explain that it is only awkward if they make it awkward, how in the hell are you mature enough to have children in the first place?

Boobs are all around us. Boobs are part of daily life. Boobs are used to promote and sell everything from sports, movies, comics, video games, cars, even freaking fast food. Someone can be okay with their wife/girlfriend prancing around in a bikini and it’s “sexy” or “bragging rights.” Guys repeatedly fantasize and go on about how they would like to bury their faces in a nice pair of breasts.

But the minute you fill those ta-tas with milk and let a kid feed on them, that lady needs to cover up or do it in the bathroom because ohmygoshthisissonotappropriate people can SEE you! Sorry folks, but you can’t have it both ways.

If you want or are accepting of this:

Image result for girl superheroesImage result for ufc ring girl 

But have a problem with this:
Image result for BreastfeedingImage result for Breastfeeding
Image result for BreastfeedingImage result for minority breastfeeding

Then you really need to check yourself, because there’s a gaping hole in your logic.

Breastfeeding in public is not the problem.

YOU are the problem. So instead of telling a nursing mom to go “do that in the bathroom,” why don’t you take your dinner in there and, while you’re at it, work on fixing your complete inability to cope with biological functions?

And this baby does not have time for your shit.

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What is Wrong with this Picture?

Image

What I want this picture to be saying:

  1. Just because he isn’t helping out today, does not mean he does not value you.
  2. If he’s clearly tired or not feeling well, instead of yelling at him, just take care of the house like a responsible adult. If you are in a relationship built on mutual respect, this won’t be a habit.
  3. Sex is fun. Sex can relieve stress. Sex is also fun when both parties are being reciprocated. Yay sex!
  4. Not everything has to be a long, drawn-out discussion. Sometimes, we have bad days, and just want to be left alone. Give him space, because he would do the same for you.
  5. If you choose to stay at home and take care of the house, do not let anyone put you down. Feminism is about freedom of choice, and you have to choose what you want to do!

What this picture is actually saying:

  1. Fuck you if you subscribe to modern beliefs pertaining to women’s rights (however misguided we may be on the subject)
  2. If the house is a mess and his clothes are dirty, clean it, and do it quietly, because he’s had a rough day. You couldn’t possibly understand even as a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home spouse, or even as a woman with a career outside the house. Because a man will always work harder than you. Why are you standing there? You should be doing your man’s laundry and making his dinner because he had a long day.
  3. Speaking of long days, he’s gonna need you to suck him off, because that back rub just didn’t quite do the job.
  4. He’s had a bad day. So after you STFU and give him that blow job, you are expected to STFU and leave him alone. Go use your holy mouth to pray for him, because somehow, religion and prayer have to be brought into this. Because only heathen women who deny the proper system of a household ever question this attitude.
  5. Don’t let some hard-working independent chick tell you that this is a messed up attitude, because she’s probably single and bitter, and you will be, too, if you don’t stop questioning what we’re telling you.

First, and I want to touch on this briefly, because I feel it could possibly detract from this post as a whole: “STFU and pray for him?” This gives the subtle (or not-so-subtle) impression that a woman who behaves in this manner subscribes to a religion of some kind. And that women who do not follow this advice are not only bitter and single, but also anti-religion. Maybe some of you disagree with me, but I really don’t want to expand on this at this point in time, and I don’t think I’m the only one seeing that factor here. Let’s be clear: Just because you are a stay-at-home girl, does not mean you are religious, and vice-versa. False dichotomies are not cool, okay?

Now, on to the main point. A healthy relationship built on mutual respect is not built on the attitude presented in that picture. There is no positive message to glean from it. The tone is combative and disrespectful, and just overall unproductive. There is no statement of reciprocation of actions, whether everyday or sexual. That’s a huge part of what makes this picture not okay. I am told, by some who disagrees with me, that this is to be implied. Well, as I’ve just demonstrated (though admittedly with a bit–a small bit–of hyperbole, much can be implied from the language of this post.

If I have learned anything from the media, it is that people will twist your words to justify their actions. If I have learned anything about healthy relationships, it is that situations tend to work best when we clearly state our intentions. Too much is lost when we leave things to interpretation. Leave that for the arts and literature, not for interactions between people. What one reader may see as something essential and basic (the idea of reciprocation), another interprets the lack thereof as proof that this dangerous attitude about behavior is okay.

The friend who shared this picture explained that she believes the lack of assumption of mutual respect that is the problem. She often feels that career-oriented women such as myself see things like this, and automatically assume that it means “Dinner better be on the table by 5, and if not Hubby’s gonna throw a fit!” Ouch. There’s a lot of truth to that. And my initial response to her definitely gave that impression, though in our discussion I emphasized that it is the language I take issue with.

I countered that the two of us, as a pair of strong, opinionated women in healthy relationships, often take our situations for granted. It’s not so different than ignoring an issue of poverty or inequality when things are looking fine, from your point of view. But then I look at the media, and I see the double standards of sexualizing and demonizing women. I look at the news and I see varying degrees of extremities of harmful treatment of women, whether it is here or worldwide. I have to wonder: Is what I see as a harmless joke or a pithy and sassy defense of my lifestyle being used as justification to treat women as second-class by someone else? Maybe. Maybe not. I still think Women’s Rights has a long way to go before we have the freedom to choose what we wish to do with our personal lives.

Finally, this is another plea to the internet to please get with the picture of modern feminism. It focuses just as much on gender equality and issues of masculinity as well as emphasizing a woman’s choice between a career and staying home. Writing those off who disagree with this picture as “bitter SINGLE brawds” just de-values whatever point you may have been trying to make. That’s the other part that makes this picture not okay.

And, just for good measure, I want to reinforce this: Making the assumption that a stay-at-home woman is a “stupid housewife who doesn’t value herself” simply because you work for a living doesn’t make you any better than the people judging you as a career woman.

Do please keep in mind the nature of what is being circulated through media, and how it can be used for or against your fight for equality.

This post as been edited for minor grammatical content

Marriage: Why I’m undecided

‘Tis the season for wedding buzz! At least according to my newsfeed. Everyone seems to be either married, planning a wedding, or engaged. But not me, despite the many questions my boyfriend and I have recieved. The fact of the matter is I don’t know if I ever want to get married.

Not because I don’t believe in commitment. Not because I am uncomfortable with spending the rest of my life with someone. But the very idea of marriage both puzzles me and makes me squirm. No, not about the pretty dresses, the father-daughter dance, the declaration in front of the people closest to you, or any of the other aesthetic aspects that make people so excited about getting married. Before you get your undies in a bunch about how much work you put into your ceremony and how special it is/was to you and your spouse, I say aesthetic because, while personal, your ceremony can be however you wish it and it will have no legal bearing on you. It’s what happens afterward that makes me cringe a little bit.

Let’s just outline it briefly:

  • Your assets become joint
  • Major financial decisions will be contingent upon both you and your spouse’s credit
  • Your spouse is automatically entitled to everything in the event of your death, unless you specify otherwise
    • To change your beneficiary to anyone other than your spouse on your retirement, both of you must sign off on the decision

In short, everything is shared and the majority of your decisions are contingent upon both of you, as opposed to just looking at one of your credentials.

If you get divorced (I know, I know, no one plans on it. But let’s pretend, for one moment, that there’s a chance you could end up in that some 50% who DO. Humor me):

  • Without a pre-nuptial agreement, pretty much everything is up for grabs.
    • That means your pension too, ladies and gentlemen.
    • Everyone goes in with the best intentions, but best intentions don’t eliminate most potential for nasty divorce proceedings the way a pre-nup will. That means you have to pay a lawyer for THAT too.
  • Without a copy of the divorce decree or a marriage to someone else, your retirement beneficiary will still be your ex-spouse.
  • Housing is a messy ordeal
    • Easiest case, you sell the house and move on separately after splitting proceeds.
    • Hardest case, you go through a huge legal ordeal trying to figure out who lives where, what names will stay on the house, who has to pay for it, etc.
  • Don’t even get me started on custody of children. Either human or furry.
  • You will be spending more money. There’s really not a choice in that matter.

My question is this: Why should we subject ourselves to that? My boyfriend and I have done just fine taking care of ourselves until this point, and the only thing that changed is we now live under the same roof. And, according to my research, Common Law has been abolished in this state for several years now, so there will be no “oops we’re technically legally married and we didn’t even apply for a license” situations going on.

Whenever I express doubt or concern about marriage, I’m typically met with one or both of these responses: “It’s about the commitment” and “It makes things easier.” But from where I stand, no, it doesn’t really make them easier. At least not in the way I would like them done. I have found in the past that blanket statements and decisions don’t sit well with me. It’s just not how I am. It’s not about ease, it’s about quickness.

A lot of people worry about hospital visitation rights and financial rights, but you don’t need a marriage certificate for all that to happen. I could give my boyfriend plenty of legal privileges and power. I could make him my medical power of attorney, I can make him my insurance beneficiary, I could list him on my retirement if I wanted (though he would have to pay an inheritance tax, which I have mixed feelings on that subject which I won’t discuss right now). Of course, this won’t be happening any time soon, but my point is I could do it if I wanted to. All without being married.

When my grandparents were getting married wives were pretty much expected to stay home. Marriage laws, alimony, and other measures were put in place to ensure wives were still taken care of if their husbands left. It’s not the same today.

Staying home is optional. No matter how you look at it. If you have the means for a spouse to stay home and it won’t drive you crazy (or it’s more affordable than daycare), by all means do it. But if I have the option to work for myself, shouldn’t we get to decide as a couple whether or not we want all these legal entanglements with marriage? Why should two independent people be forced to mush their credit, assets, and retirements together like some sort of monstrous legal sandwich abomination if they don’t deem it necessary? What if you want parts of it, but not all of it?

What if I wanted to leave some of that to my father? He would be responsible for my student loan if anything happened to me, and maybe I would like to make sure he at least got something to help him out? Everyone starts with the best intentions, but what if my spouse decided not to agree to it? What legal recourse would I have, and how much would that cost me?

I suppose my point is I would like to retain some level of agency over my own life, particularly my finances, that would either not be permitted or a pain to get if I were married. And I need a better answer than “commitment,” “most people do it,” or “but won’t it be weird to not be able to call him your husband?”

Those are just my thoughts on the subject. What are yours?

Heroes and Hunger Games

I was browsing Facebook this evening after work, and came across this re-post by an acquaintance:

Th[e] question isn’t “Is Katniss a good person?” It’s “Is Katniss a hero? Should we admire her, and model our actions after her?”

No, she doesn’t kill anybody herself, not choosing to be personally implicated in a violation of the moral law, or however we’re saying it these days. That’s important – that allows us to say that Katniss is not a shithead.

On the other hand, she is thrown into a situation where dozens of people are going to die as a result of this game unless somebody does something. Her response is to look out for herself and let them die. She’s still not a shithead — she’s a teenager, she doesn’t know any of those people, and she’s got responsibilities at home. It’s perfectly understandable that she would act the way she did. But what is admirable about the course of action? When did “not being a shithead” qualify you for medals and a parade?

Is that a lesson you’d want your daughter to learn, that when things get ugly it’s cool to sit back and watch people die? Because if that’s the standard, there are plenty of gossipy, thieving, malicious, selfish people out there that ought to have trilogies written about them. I think heroes should do better than that. They should be virtuous – and while the studious avoidance of vice speaks to the continence of the agent, it does not rise to the level of virtue. And I worry that the habit of cheering whichever character (or real-life person) happens to have the camera trained on him will make it harder to ask the tough questions that let us see the difference. Worse: we may get so caught up in the cheering that we forget to ask the questions. ~ Anon

There are so many problems with this that I didn’t feel comfortable barraging someone’s wall with comments they may or may not care to hear. However, this is my blog, so I will definitely do that here.

First of all, even if you give the benefit of the doubt that “Anon” has only seen the movies, this is comprehension failure as horrible (although maybe slightly less annoying) than the people who were pissed that Rue is black. Katniss shoots and arrow into the neck of the tribute that killed Rue. She also shoots Cato in the head as a mercy killing. So, yes, she does kill.

When this is pointed out, the defense was “But it was more of a no choice killing. Something everyone would have done. To be a hero, you have to do more than what the average person would do. It requires risk and sacrifice.” So, it isn’t risk and sacrifice to volunteer on behalf of your sister, in a district where The Games is synonymous with “death?” I don’t want this to turn into an attack on the guy who re-posted this, although a lot could be said about the fact that he did, and defended it after the fact. So I’ll get back to the actual quoted passage.

“Is Katniss a hero?” No. People often make the mistake of thinking protagonist and hero are the same thing. They aren’t. Leaving aside the fact that plenty of heroic figures stand by and watch people die (someone pointed out Achilles. Thank you!), Katniss never claims to be a hero, nor does anyone overtly state that she is a hero. In any of the books or the movies. She has, unknowingly, become a symbol. A beacon of hope due to her actions and will to survive. None of these mean that she is a hero or that she has any control over how other people perceive her actions. Now, “Anon” has also said that “the studious avoidance of vice does speak to the continence of the agent, it does not rise to the level of virtue.”

Basically a nicer way of saying “She’s not a shithead. But she’s still not good enough to be called a hero,” except now you’ve brought a slightly new twist into the scenario: virtue. Funny that Anon never defines what seems to be the most important aspect of his or her argument. Only what virtue is not. So, we can conclude that Katniss is not virtuous. And, by extension, her actions are not virtuous. That’s right- it’s not virutous to spend every waking moment keeping your family from starving, even when it requires breaking the law. nor is it virtuous to volunteer in your sister’s place when it means certain death. Or at least none of that is virtuous enough. I get it. She’s not virtuous enough to be a hero, and Anon’s decided it’s his or her job to tell all the people!

But Anon seems to be forgetting that Katniss (and anyone who actually pays attention the books and/or movies) knows she’s not a hero. She knows she’s not a good person. In the second movie, she explicitly states that she does not want anyone to look to her for direction. She simply wants to survive. She knows that Peeta is a much better person than she is (in the second book, she contemplates that Peeta is the only one who does not fit among the other victors. He is better than all of them), which is why she makes a deal with Haymitch to save Peeta instead of herself, and Haymitch states “a thousand years could pass, and you will never deserve that boy.” Oh, Katniss knows better than anyone how much of a hero she isn’t. Much of the personal struggle is lost without first person narration (which is why you should all be reading the books before you go posting things like this).

“But should we model our actions after her?” This seems to be a question as to whether or not, as an audience, we should be calling Katniss a hero or thinking she is so wonderful. The question should be “how similar are we?” Katniss isn’t a hero. We don’t have to model our actions after her because we already act just like her. We try to survive day to day, concerned with our immediate surroundings. Sometimes we think about the bigger picture, and want things to be different, but don’t know how to go about changing them. Katniss understands the power of the Capitol. It isn’t until later that she understands the risks she must take, but even then, she struggles with the consequences of her more “heroic” actions. Because defying the Capitol during the Hunger Games on national television and destroying their arena as a big “F-YOU” knowing the fury it will bring about is not heroic either.

I could go into it more by discussing events of the third book, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it or do not wish to. But instead of griping and whining about “the lesson it teaches your daughters” you could try doing the responsible parenting thing, and discussing it with her, and how it reflects on human nature along with the positive and negative aspects.

But it’s so much easier to sit back and say “Katniss isn’t virtuous enough to be a hero” and leave it at that. And you can. You’ll just be all the more stupid for it. And I’ll tell you. Because I’ve decided that’s my job.

Public Declarations of Motivation are A Thing now, right?

Lately I have been stuck in quite a rut. I stopped blogging for a while because I feel as though I have nothing worthwhile to say. Quite honestly, I’m still feeling that way. I think it is because most of my posts are reactionary, and while sometimes that is necessary, it really doesn’t result in much discussion anymore, and usually only serves to perpetuate my internal anger and self-serving attitude.

Now, I know that seems to be the whole purpose of a blog, according to people who don’t blog, but I still feel pretty rotten about it.

Anyway, it seems like every few months, just as I get really disappointed with the state of my life, I’m struck with a sense of motivation and inspiration. That’s happening right now as I write this. And unfortunately, that sense of motivation that makes me feel as though I can take on the world usually only lasts about 12 hours. Then I feel it start to wane. That is also happening right now as I write this.

This time, I want to try something new. I want to latch on to this feeling like a greedy hobo all over a sandwich. But instead of devouring that sandwich in less than a minute, I’m going to take some time and enjoy it, while simultaneously figuring out how to construct my own nourishment. Can you tell I haven’t eaten dinner?

I’m not going to try and tackle everything all at once. But I am going to start tackling these goals. And maybe I’ll even write about them. Of course I’ll still rant in addition to this. A little anger now and then is a good thing!

That’s my quick update. If I don’t write in the next week or so, I’m either doing extremely well, or I fell back into the rut again. Hopefully the former. But now, I’m going to make that sandwich. Oh and the metaphor sandwich, too.