It’s a sad, oft-repeated story: breastfeeding parent goes to family-centred community space, baby gets hungry, parent feeds baby. Using breasts.
Then some sanctimonious asshat complains about it because they can’t (a) avert their own fucking eyes or (b) mind their own fucking business or (c) reconcile their own juvenile fascination with BOOBIES with the tragic reality that sometimes breasts aren’t for you …
And instead of reminding that busybodied douche to avert their eyes, mind their own business, get over their issues and oh, also there’s a law which protects breastfeeding parents from discrimination …
The facility decides to throw the breastfeeding parent and their children out, and not even give them a refund.
And then, once they get snapped for breaking the fucking law, the local government body which operates the facility pretends that the breastfeeding parent was just confused, or made a mistake, or maybe even lied for attention, because honestly as far as they’re concerned:
“The staff member was concerned about the comfort of the breastfeeding mum and offered her access to the centre’s mothers’ room or alternatively a chair for the convenience of both mum and baby,” the council statement says.
Yes, Moreton Bay Regional Council, that’s exactly what happened. I’m sure your staff member was just looking out for the parent, just offered her a chair, and then like a total bitch she chose to take offence and create a scene, probably for the sweet sweet newspaper dollars.
There’s been a flurry of articles recently about the extreme or bullying lengths some health professionals are apparently going to in order to make parents breastfeed rather than formula feed.
I am absolutely sure that some people are dickheads about this – every “health” cause has its unwavering zealots who refuse to understand that not everyone can be crowbarred into their worldview.
But as someone noted on Twitter some days ago, whenever an issue like breast vs formula suddenly becomes THE HUGE ISSUE OF THE DAY you may find yourself wondering where these stories are suddenly coming from. And what clever person at which PR firm coined the term “Breastapo“.
It’s definitely not okay for anyone to feel bullied – and especially triply not okay for infants to go hungry – over this issue.
But it’s definitely interesting how not a single story on the matter has even hinted at why we have placed emphasis and resource into encouraging breastfeeding.
Not a single story has covered the fairly shitty history of the formula industry. None have mentioned the ongoing Nestle boycott, for example. None have so much as said, “These policies have come out of the fact that a lot of people who could breastfeed their babies were pressured not to, even to the extent of formula companies giving them free samples which leave them dependent on formula once their milk dries up.”
We do have words for people who get you hooked with free samples of their product, after all.
But no. Every story, every reporter, has just acted like out of nowhere, the Ministry of Health and nurses and midwives all got together one dark Sabbat night and said “let’s shit on new parents! Let’s make their lives harder! Fuck yeah, they’ll do what’s good for them and they’ll like it!”
Like I’ve said, I have absolutely no doubt that there are bullies and zealots and people who are fucked-up enough to harass new parents.
All I want to know is why this just now became the big issue. And why none of our so-called “journalists” seem to have asked any actual questions about it, or put it in any kind of context, or given their readers and viewers any kind of background.
Besides the obvious “because they just copypasted a PR release from a formula company”.*
Meanwhile, the formula industry’s stellar ethics are on display (not that anyone held a gun to our PM’s head and made him sign a can of formula and pose with it for the cameras).
*After all, that privilege only gets extended to Bendon.
Welcome to the 40th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. I am your stunning hostess, Queen of Thorns, “QoT” to my friends and “single-handed destroyer of progressive NZ politics” to my trolls.
I’m entirely enamoured of the fact that 40 in Roman numerals is XL, so I’m putting our plus-size Antipodean bloggers up first:
New study shows correlation between fatness and selling one’s soul to Satan
Definatalie writes about re-learning her love of cycling. sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump talks about Why I Don’t Diet and Fixing the Relationship with Food. Bri at Fat Lot of Good sees that fat-shaming is now getting aimed at four-year-olds to the extent some are developing a fear of food.
sleepydumpling is on a crusade, people. A crusade for all super-fatties, deathfats, people who just cannot find clothes in their size for love nor money. Warning: utter fuckwittery in the comments. Remember, fatshion is activism. And no, fat acceptance will not in fact kill you.
There’s been discussion lately about the role of the fatosphere on people’s perceptions and lives. Dr Samantha Thomas has done a for-real ivory-tower-shaking academic paper on how the fatosphere proactively challenges fat stigma, and sleepydumpling covers the same topic in Breaking Down Fat Stigma: Shame. Sonya at Lipmag was one of the interviewees for Dr Thomas’ paper.
The body plays a huge (BOOM BOOM!) role in a lot of feminist discussion, and things always get good and heated around one fact in particular: pregnancy and how you are probably Doing It Rong right this minute.
You read a book while pregnant? You’re gonna DIE!!!
Feminethicist posts a quick note about double standards around scars – especially stretch marks. Aussie MP Andrew Laming fights the good fight for homebirths. Bluebec confronts the notion that any particular way of having babies is “unnatural”.
Pregnancy isn’t always wanted or continued, of course, and that’s why apparently I have to keep explaining that the “right to life” movement are a bunch of wanks with the intellectual honesty of a guppy.
And of course once Junior makes it out into the world it’s all downhill for progressive parents, who simply cannot win. Ever.
Buy this Mozart CD or your baby will sprout wings!
Blue milk continues to post on her presentation on feminist parenting. Part 4 covers “what is feminist parenting?” and Part 5 looks at the difficulties with being a feminist parent. She also talks about the idea that some parents are too sexy to breastfeed – and provides a challenge with a follow-up post on glamorous images of breastfeeding. Another post discusses pro-feminist fathers.
Breastfeeding also shows up as a really nifty shorthand for “crazy woman” in the Game of Thrones series, as discussed at Hoyden About Town.
Bee of a Certain Age talks about learning to love after having her children.
Our kids just aren’t getting a break: Lessons to be Learned covers the Toddlers and Tiaras phenomenon and blue milk looks at high fashion’s role in sexualising girls. Feminethicist has been having some fun challenging the heteronormativity when people play joke-matchmaker with babies.
Unsurprisingly, I did not take kindly to Family First’s insinuations that some families are just “obviously” worse than others.
For further reading, Mindy at Hoyden About Town has reviewed The 21st Century Motherhood Movement.
Where does a lot of this crap come from? Our wonderful media, of course.
This just in: reading mainstream media could be the reason you’re really angry all the time
Feminethicist is just thrilled by a camera app that makes your romantic partner look tolerable again. I have a slight issue with bra companies’ media releases being treated as scientific fact, with a sprinkling of obesity panic on top.
LudditeJourno, posting at The Hand Mirror, covers Michael bloody Lhaws’ preference for referring to poor brown people as “feral” and coleytangerina at The Lady Garden gets freaked out by news of a “cougar attack” … then a tad depressed.
Emma at Lip asks where the strong women are in literature. Kate Barker discusses anti-feminist imagery. Cara at Life is a feminist issue talks about our media ban on reporting suicide, and whether that’s really looking all that effective.
MJ at Kiwiana (inked) tells Stuff where they can shove their scare quotes when reporting on domestic violence.
Time for something a bit more positive:
Retrospective: awesome women being awesome
Penguin Unearthed talks about Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir as part of her Travelling Feminist posts – here’s another on Norway. The Hoydens share the news that Sensei Keiko Fukuda has become the only woman ever granted the 10th degree black belt in judo. Double Antandre talks about Nancy Wake.
Another big issue of the past month has been identity, especially given Google’s being douchebags about what’s considered a “real” name (all the more aggravating because it’s based on needing “real” demographics to sell to shitbox marketers).
I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine
Chally talks about the kinds of history that go into building identity. blue milk passes on information on the My Name is Me project created in response to Google+ being douches. Giovanni talks about Google+, identity and cyberpunk.
Where does a lot of identity come from? Our “race”, social construct that it is, and religion, and culture, and all other kinds of pretty touchy issues.
Nothing witty to put here
Mindmadeup asks if Australia is a racist nation. Chally confronts racism at the bus stop. stargazer discusses how the “default is male” concept extends to commentary about Muslims. stargazer also posted about the start of Ramadan.
Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia asks “When am I trans?” and when trans people are “real”.
Love and Marriage
In happier news, Rachel is getting hitched! Of course, planning a wedding doesn’t get any easier when you’re a feminist so she’s provided a handy Guide to Feminist Wedding Planning. News With Nipples covers some tragi-comic anti-marriage-equality protests. Hayley at Equal Love Equal Rights posts on marriage equality.
Mr Wainscotting is pleased to announce the launch of Legalise Love, a group looking to get some actual marriage equality happening in NZ. Idiot/Savant has been taking an interest in our MPs’ views on the subject: here he is on Hone Harawira and David Parker (and it’s not good news).
As Chally notes, though, we shouldn’t devalue single women.
Then there’s some perennial issues for feminist bloggers:
stargazer helped produce a session on poverty at the Human Rights Commission’s diversity forum and also blogged her speech from the forum on needing an action plan on human rights. Maia at The Hand Mirror dissects a “game” where privileged people get to pretend to be poor for a while and probably learn some Important Moral Lesson.
Deborah Russell discusses welfare in the Dominion Post.
Rape culture / violence
The Naked Philologist deals in two parts with the subject of teaching problematic material – Can you teach Chrétien without talking about rape? and You might be able to teach Chrétien without talking about rape, but I shan’t.
Deborah talks about the gender pay gap and another Deborah’s predictable privileged attitude towards it. Idiot/Savant covers the Greens’ and CTU’s calling of National’s bluff: if people can just ask labour inspectors to check there’s pay parity in their workplace, maybe we should just start doing that all the time.
And finally, a little collection of random items to fill out your reading.
We can’t stop here, this is bat country!
Blue milk on potentially-problematic vulva-themed art. Geek Feminism on social media protest action. Bluebec on trusting people to make their own decisions. Maia at The Hand Mirror on the cost of being a woman in public. Chally’s thoughts on being “born this way”. A guest post on Geek Feminism about encouraging women’s participation in geekiness. Blogger at the Cast Iron Balcony on how to help the Sylvia Creek anti-logging protesters. Bluebec on polyamory and doing it right. Feminaust posts on listening to sex workers.
That’s all she wrote
Thanks to our lovely submitters, especially Chally and Rebecca who made my job a heck of a lot easier!
The 41st edition of the DUFC will be hosted at A Touch of The Crazy. As we still seem to be having issues with blogcarnival, send your submissions directly to stef_thomp [at] hotmail [dot] com. We’re four years in and going strong but we need your help to keep it awesome!
The list of DUFC contributors is woefully out of date, but feel free to peruse it in the meantime while I get some well-earned coffee.
So Stuff has a breathless report about how tits are getting bigger.
Now before you tit-bearers get your [brandname] panties in a twist, let me reassure you that these articles are Serious Journalism and not at all just slightly-reworded press releases from … who was it again?
… D cups and bigger accounting for nearly half of Bendon bras
… according to Bendon figures.
… Bendon spokeswoman Rachael Parkin
The 2010 story, wonderfully, doesn’t mention Bendon at all. But … oops:
“A D size 10 years ago was considered wow,” says braologist Carol Rashleigh.
Who was it they quoted back in 2009? Oh, right:
Fayreform “braologist” Carol Rashleigh
Of the “subsidiary of Bendon” Fayreforms, not the Staffordshire Fayreforms.
The 2011 rehash attempts, one assumes, to provide “balance” by also mentioning Triumph, which … doesn’t really make it better. in terms of that whole “this is just a fucking advertorial” thing.
Because here’s a few minor problems with taking Bendon’s marketers’ word for anything to do with the size of Kiwi knockers:
1. Bendon themselves will tell you that most NZ bra-wearers are wearing the wrong size. Usually a back size too big and ergo a cup size too small.
Bendon will especially emphasise this if you complain to their customer service department about continually being unable to find comfortable, consistently-sized bras, even when you rely on the advice of their “braologists”, most of whom incidentally have no fucking idea how to fit a bra on a fat person.
2. Bendon stock a ridiculously narrow range of sizes, and even slightly towards the edges of the bell curve you may have to count yourself lucky to find anything, which then feeds into the following:
3. “Sales figures” are reeeeeally interesting when you consider that small back/small cup bras can cost as little as $20, and larger back/larger cups of “odd” sizes like 10G or 18A, when you can even find them, will likely be part of the “plus-size” range, usually hidden at the back of the shop, and cost $50 if you are lucky.
Point being, as a fat woman I have 6 bras (and 2 emergency ill-fitting ones for when the laundry doesn’t dry.) I buy bras when I have to, and I can usually buy one, two at a time if I save my pennies (and I’m damn well off).
You think maybe those sales figures are just slightly skewed by the fact that Bendon provides fuck-all for “unusual” sizes and prices “unusual”-sized people out of the market? (If the Obesity Epidemic is real, there must be demand, and capitalism tells me that demand will be answered by supply … *crickets*)
And that’s not even touching on the thinly-veiled “OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC/BUT AT LEAST THE CHICKS ARE HOT” dichotomy. Because there’s no other reason, if people are buying more larger-sized bras, they could possibly have to do so.
I mean, “vanity sizing” is toooootally a myth. No one would ever think to make the Ds just a bit smaller so more women can feel validated by patriarchy to have bigger knockers (and seriously, why is it ALWAYS Ds? Or DDs? I’m looking at you, Letters to Penthouse.)
And our population certainly isn’t getting bigger simply out of ageing and changes in the ethnic makeup of our society.
Nope, I’m convinced. Good on Stuff, and TV3 before them, for providing such awesomely insigtful
free advertising for Bendon (and Triumph!) analysis.
PS. No, I will not try Kirkcaldie & Staines. Bendon may have shameless marketers and pet journalists but at least I’ve never seen their salespeople happily gossip to the DomPost about the “freaks” they’ve had to deal with.