When it comes to mothering and the so-called “Mommy Wars,” the one debate that will seemingly never die is the one centered around breastfeeding. I’ve written extensively about breastfeeding in the past, and in my day job I work on finding accessible ways to educate pregnant women about breastfeeding, in the hopes that they’ll at least be open to trying it out once their baby is born. I’m of the mind that “breast is best,” but I’m also painfully aware that we as a country and society do not make it easy in the slightest for women —particularly working women or those from lower socio-economic backgrounds— to breastfeed. I was a big fan of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week and I try and support women who want to breastfeeding but lack resources/information/help. I also try to support and provide information for pregnant women who aren’t sure about whether they will nurse or not. And, when possible, I help connect parents who want their babies to have breast milk with mothers who have an excess supply. I also will not shame, harass, or harangue a woman who chooses to or needs to formula feed their baby for whatever reason.
I will, however, call out someone who uses faulty logic as reasoning for not nursing her hypothetical future child. Karla A. Erickson’s “Explaining Why, Next Time, I Won’t Breastfeed” was a recent op/ed in the Iowa Press-Citizen that purports to use breastfeeding as the cause of uneven and unequal division of labor when it comes to parenting. Keep reading »
“So? What are you having?”
Throughout my pregnancy, that was the number one question I received, tied only with: “How are you feeling?” At first I was polite about it, telling folks that it was too early to tell, but that we weren’t finding out anyway until the birth. After I passed 20 weeks, I attempted to answer all the Nosy Nellies as diplomatically as I could. I said that we would be happy with either a boy or girl, as long as the baby was healthy. Yet as my belly expanded, my patience shrank and I found myself coming up with more creative ways to answer the increasingly frequent queries over “what” we were having. “Fingers crossed it’s not a kitten!” was one of my favorite go-to replies.
And, for those keeping track – no, we did not have a kitten, but rather a beautiful baby boy. Still, the questions kept coming. Since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl (and because, you know, colors are for everyone), my son wore a rainbow of onesies, which only seemed to confuse folks. Multiple times a day I would have people question why my son was wearing purple. Or pink. Or even yellow. I did not get the same stares or questions when he donned his blue, green or brown onesies. Our society, one that is heavily entrenched in traditional, stereotypical gender roles, seems to want to plug children into these boxes as quickly as possible — even before they’re born — and that can be both frustrating and confusing. Keep reading »
My brother grew up with four sisters in the house. I know, right? Come to find out, there’s more to having a bunch of sisters than just growing up to be a ladies’ man. A new study published in the Journal of Politics has found that boys with sisters are more likely to grow up to be Republicans and also to do less housework. You might think that being exposed to more girls early on might prompt a boy to be more egalitarian — but apparently you would be wrong. Keep reading »
Here’s this article entitled, “The Flip Side Of Being A Female Breadwinner,” another one of those what-does-it-all-mean pieces (yes, there’s an evolutionary psychologist quoted, if you’re playing Navel-Gazey Trend Story Bingo back at home) that takes one person’s experience and blows it up in hopes of making a statement, vaguely tinged with some kind of shame about not doing things properly, about the way women and men live and work now and the way things should be, or ought to be.
The ultimate conclusion of these kinds of pieces? Life is complicated, and no you can’t have it all, and no, we have never heard of anyone who is not a white, middle-class woman because if we did we would have to approach this topic with actual thought and nuance and situate it in a socio-historical context that took long-term economic and political trends into account, and that would be harder than drawing simplistic conclusions about culture and gender roles according to a self-selected sample of friends and “experts.”
I don’t think there’s a “flip side” of being a female breadwinner because I don’t think there are exactly two ways to be a female breadwinner: a way in which everyone is happy in a world of gender roles gone topsy-turvy, and a way in which everyone is swimming miserably upstream. Women — particularly single mothers, particularly women of color- — have been “breadwinning” for years. Keep reading »
Just in case you weren’t clear why we still need feminism to break down the sexism of culturally-prescribed gender roles: MTV announced yesterday it greenlit a new reality TV show called “Guy Court” which will straight-up judge bros on their bro-itude. Explains Yahoo:
In the half-hour comedic courtroom series “Guy Court,” which will premiere in fall 2013, the laws of manhood will be upheld as some familiar MTV2 faces will determine the guilt or innocence of a variety of cases in accordance with Guy Code. Each real life case will be judged, defended and prosecuted with the perfect combination of comedy and justice. Keep reading »
Professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reese is promoting a new memoir, My Foot Is Too Big For The Glass Slipper, which hops on the bandwagon of a somewhat popular theme for memoirs-by-strong-ladies these days: she says her life and marriage have improved by being “submissive” to her husband, pro surfer Laird Hamilton. Keep reading »