Thursday, October 06, 2005


To honor our vacationing bitch, this week I offer Bitchfest.
I thought I'd return to the issue I threw out in an earlier thread where I asked anyone if they'd seen the post over at Bitch PhD regarding 'requirements' for assisted reproduction. Check it out here
Today Dr. B has an even better post, on the issue of breastfeeding --but it goes beyond. Now I am a mother and this issue is very dear to my heart, as is the conversation on what it means to be a feminist. here's an excerpt from Bitch PhD:
I think the breastfeeding / feminism analogy is a pretty good one. Just as the point of feminism isn't (and shouldn't be) to interrogate or judge individual women's lives, the point of breastfeeding advocacy shouldn't be (although, regrettably, it sometimes is) to judge and interrogate the decisions of individual mothers. What both should seek to do is change the public culture: to create a "pro-breastfeeding" culture, or a "pro-women" culture that supports and enables breastfeeding or, say, women's public achievement and/or paid work, while also recognizing that there may be women who can't or won't or choose not to work for reasons of their own, and mothers who can't or won't or choose not to breastfeed for reasons of their own.

I think that the reason that the breastfeeding debate is so fraught--like every other blessed mommy debate: stay-at-home vs. work; part-time work vs. full-time work; public schooling vs. private schooling vs. home schooling vs. unschooling; city life vs. suburban life vs. rural life; straight families vs. gay families; two-parent homes vs. single-parent homes; marriage vs. cohabitation; and on and on and for god's sake on and on some more--boils down to the central problem of feminism. When it comes to people in general--and especially when it comes to women, and especially when it comes to mothers--we not only find it difficult to differentiate between the big and the small....

Many of us have been whining for a while that we feel our choices are judged on either side- and often the woman who chooses not to breastfeed is viewed as vain, self absorbed, and dismissive of the health benefits. In a similar way, many women who choose to work versus those who don't in some circles are viewed as choosing materialism and suburbia and the trappings over actively parenting their tots- Again- these amount to generalizations and simplistic judgements that offer little to the discussion of choice which is paramount, and a culture of choice does not define the feminist narrowly, nor does it define how that manifests itself in personal choice. I am just happy to see somebody pointing these things the rest... mull it over. Great stuff.

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