Tag Archives: feminism

Really? It sounds like you already feel a little guilty

Sorry — You Can’t Guilt Trip Me About Bottle Feeding My Kids.

This post appeared on Jezebel today. The same argument appears over and over again in different forms all attempting to justify bottle-feeding as an equal choice to breastfeeding or in some way less stressful. I will be the first to admit that some “lactivists” (and I honestly don’t like that word) do actually use tactics that are borderline inappropriate and often ineffective if not counter productive. However, feeling the need to shout from the rooftops “you can’t guilt-trip me!” sounds like someone already did.

To Sarah Fister Gale (author of the piece): I’m very sorry that you had such a horrible breast-feeding experience. It must have been extremely stressful, and by comparison bottle-feeding probably did seem like an easier alternative. Everyone has the right to feed however they see fit, and everyone’s experience is valid, but the entire tone of this piece is troubling to me. You’re discounting decades of scientific research from extremely credible sources, recommendations from ALL leading global  medical entities, and in essence doing the same thing that was done to you but in reverse. You may have felt bullied, and that is unfortunate, but trying to influence you to feed your child the substance that was made for them to ingest, that helps protect them from disease before they are able to be vaccinated, and helps you recover more quickly from your birth experience is not necessarily bullying though there are some who can come across that way.

I cannot understand the defensiveness that comes up from women who choose to bottle-feed. Yes, you made that choice…make it then. If you feel defensive is it possible that you feel guilty? One of the first ingredients in formula is corn syrup. How is that in any way healthy for an infant?  Especially a premie. I can’t imagine what it’s like to deliver a premie, but the benefits of breastmilk for them is especially noticeable and may have been the source of your doctor’s apparent annoyance. This post, while possibly validating some women who had a similar experience, probably also scared some others who were on the fence.

Breastfeeding is amazing. Yeah, it hurts sometimes. Yeah, you are the kids’ sole source of nourishment. But why can’t women find that empowering instead of limiting? YOU are your child’s lifeline! YOU are capable of supporting that child the same way you did when it was in your womb. If you make the choice to bottle-feed, cool. But please don’t try to make it sound in some way righteous. I was bottle-fed and I have a Ph.D., so yeah, people who say that formula-feeding will cause your child grievous harm are not necessarily correct. Saying that breastfeeding is the only way to bond with your baby is also incorrect, but it sure helps. My main issue with this argument (that is regurgitated in different forms all the time) is that trying to say that formula-feeding is on par with breastfeeding IS simply incorrect, and formula companies have been getting in trouble for making that claim for decades. Is it hard? Sure. But how is it easy to get up in the middle of the night a heat a bottle? And if husbands or others tell you they feel left out, give them diapers or tell them they can burp the baby. Feeding is not the only way to bond with a child.

I combo-fed my second child, and it almost broke my heart. The first time I bought formula I cried. I looked at the ingredients and put it back twice, but I was in so much pain because of her poor latch that I felt like I had no choice. I didn’t know what resources I had available to me for support. I didn’t realize that there were several people I could go to to help me with the issues I was having. But, in order to move past the guilt, regret, and sadness I felt, I have now made it my mission to help women understand what resources they have available and to be one of those resources. Yes, breastfeeding requires a commitment, but I do not understand the ridiculous notion that it is somehow “anti-feminist” or “being strapped to your child”. Hanna Rosin is the “feminist” who is most often credited with the argument that breastfeeding is a step backward for women, but she is definitely not the only one. How is nourishing the child we chose to bring into the world “anti-feminist”? How is doing the most we can to insure our child’s health and well-being a step backward?

We need to reframe the argument.  Breastfeeding is power. Breastfeeding is something that only women can do. Breastfeeding is the absolute best source of nourishment for a growing brain and body. Breastfeeding is normal and beautiful. Change the message. Claim your God-given power to see that your child has the best start in life. Sure it’s hard! But didn’t you just have a baby?! THAT was hard!

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NYT: Violence Against Women Act divides Senate – politics – The New York Times – msnbc.com

NYT: Violence Against Women Act divides Senate – politics – The New York Times – msnbc.com.

Really?! Again?! I’m finding this less and less funny as the weeks go on. This legislation would extend the existing “Violence Against Women Act” which began as bi-partisan legislation in 1994, and expand it to include new programs for underserved populations including rural areas (like where I live) and Native American tribes (where violence prevention education is SORELY needed). The sticking points seem to be the inclusion of same-sex couples in the definition of domestic violence (because a man or woman could never beat up their same-sex partner…) and the allowance for battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas. Really? That’s the issue? So, “Conservatives” (and I put that in quotation marks as a signal for irony because I hate those blanket words and because I find it very difficult to believe that Phyllis Schlafly speaks for all who claim a conservative stance) don’t like gay people and illegal immigrants. I think that has been well-established through other bills and repeated shouts for a return to “family values”. (Notice that was in quotes too.)

I’m calling bull-sh!t on this. On what planet does it make sense NOT to give sanctuary to an immigrant, legal or illegal, who has been beaten on our soil? Does the bill say that they will automatically be given citizenship? If so, I sort of see the problem. We wouldn’t want people committing “anchor beatings”, now would we?! But, odds are, if someone who is an illegal immigrant was a victim of domestic violence so heinous that they would seek medical attention or police intervention at the risk of their status being discovered, they probably need it!

As far as “the gays” go (there are those pesky quotes again), regardless of one’s personal views on homosexuality, gay people are people who deserve the same protection as any other person. So basically, by excluding same-sex relationships from domestic violence coverage, the government (state or federal) is saying “We don’t really care if you get beaten up by your gay lover, we only care about victims of brutality when they are in normal, heterosexual violent relationships.”

When will “Conservatives” begin to understand that people are people and that being inclusive is a POSITIVE thing? How does being inclusive “dilute” the focus on domestic violence? How does protecting women from domestic violence in any way vilify “all men” and make “all women” victims? (Thanks for that, Janice Shaw Crouse. She supposedly speaks for “Concerned Women for America”. She definitely doesn’t speak for me.) How does being inclusive and protecting women “promote divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men”? (We have Phyllis Schlafly to thank for that. I’m sorry, Phyllis, if a woman is beaten by her husband, I think she has every right to divorce him and hate him. Of course, Phyllis doesn’t think that marital rape exists, so there’s that.) I’ve never been a victim, thank God. But the fact of the matter is, many women have been and will be. In political and economic climates like the current one, domestic violence tends to increase in frequency. Men’s power structures are being threatened, and that is often met with violence and frankly, stupidity (did you hear what Rush Limbaugh said a couple of weeks ago?!).

It really bothers me that many of the more outspoken opponents to bills like this work for organizations that have the word “Christian” or “Women” in the title. I am both, and I find this blatant attack (and believe me I don’t use that word lightly) on women’s health, rights, and well-being disgusting. If there were parts of this, or any bill that genuinely included earmarks for things that were unrelated (i.e., if you sign this you are also legalizing gay marriage), I would better understand the reticence of Republican hold-outs. But, I think if that were the case, they would shout that from the rooftops. Many Congresspeople on both sides of the aisle don’t seem to have a problem with sneaking earmarks into bills all the time, so what is it about the current Congress that is so damn stubborn and unwilling to yeild?! Apparently the Congress of 18 years ago could work together enough to pass progressive legislation protecting women from domestic violence, and they have since re-upped. Why now is this such an issue? Why is the expansion of coverage to underserved groups met with such hostility? Expanded government? Not really…the coverage group is expanded, not the government.

Come on, Republicans, wake up and grow up. This is an issue of human rights and a chance for the US to stand up to institutionalized oppression and patriarchal power structures. A chance for the US to protect the weak, no matter their sexual orientation, citizenship status, or regional residence. I know we can do it. If we are the “greatest country in the world,” let’s act like it.

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