08 April 2007

evening out my karma

It's funny, just when you think the whole world is against you, one little email change your outlook. My good friend and colleague from Melbourne Uni, Sarah Langford, also a PhD student and self-proclaimed radical feminist and empowered birth activist sent along this encouraging comment to turn around my karma and it couldn't have come at a better time. You can read all about Sazz's work on her website http://sazzlangford.tripod.com/index.html or check out her blog http://www.sazziesblog.blogspot.com/

Great reply Meredith. I also liked your last entry about that television show, and if you were at all angry I felt it was justified. I really love your willingness to shout down the misogynistic culture we live in which decrees pregnancy, breastfeed and all things relating to the female body as unattractive. We desperately need more feminist voices out there that are prepared to celebrate wimmin's bodies.

And just personally I wouldn't mind a federal mandate ;) (At the very least it would send a strong message to the public about how important breastfeeding is) No. In all seriousness, I think more support for breastfeeding is always great, so that those wimmin who can breastfeed get as much encouragement and help as they need to fully enjoy what I've heard is an incredible (exclusively female) experience. And so that more wimmin who might otherwise have decided against it, give it a go.

I think you summarised the issue beautifully when you wrote:

"After all of the hard work that lactation organisations do in trying to promote breastfeeding as a positive and healthy experience, network television has to mess it all up. Sure, breastfeeding is not the most positive experience for all women (obviously) but the suggestion that even the idea of feeding a child should turn someone off of parenthood is such an unbelievably irresponsible notion to plant into women's minds."

(one wonders if your aggressive reader who replied actually read this section, as you clearly state that breastfeeding is not all smiles and sunshine for all wimmin).

And you're right, the last thing our society needs is more breastfeeding bashing from popular culure. It is indeed irresponsible of that television show to reduce such an important, complex, exclusively female, challenging, and rewarding experience to a joke about wimmin's desirability for men *rolls eyes*

Incidentally for World Breastfeeding Week last year I wrote a blog entry about the importance of breastfeeding, and the most interesting text I read when writing it was Sheila Kitzinger's "The Politics of Birth". She spoke about the sexualisation of wimmin's breasts, and how she believed part of society's level of discomfort or disgust in breastfeeding is tied to the idea that breasts are supposed to be the sexual property of men, not the food sources of babies. I thus entitled my blog entry "World Breastfeeding Week: Take Back the Breast" http://sazziesblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/world-breastfeeding-week-take-back.html

See:Kitzinger, Sheila, The Politics of Birth, Elsevier, Edinburgh, 2005, pp.33-43.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.