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.
Following my initial “oh gods this is going to be hilarious” vibe on seeing the cover of the most recent North and South, I got a whole three columns in and I’m just bored.
Virigina Larson is a woman, you see. And as a woman, because she cannot allow you to forget she’s a woman, right, a womanly, womanish woman, she has virtuously thrown herself into the line of fire between nasty evil feminists and our eternal foes, Poor Innocent Men.
Virginia Larson, being a woman, you see, thinks as a woman that we don’t say awesome shit about guys enough. Or possibly that we don’t acknowledge men’s innate superiority enough, or possibly that we don’t own up to how we as a society socialise men into being superior self-sacrificers. It’s not actually that clear what her point is, but I think it can be summed up as:
Virginia Larson is a cool chick, guys. She’s not like other women, she loves men.
As a bit of a sidenote, part of my boredom possibly stems from the fact that I’m a geek. I’m a gamer. And I’m a woman. And Virginia Larson is by no means the first woman I have seen try to gain credit on the male-dominated, male-controlled social status ladder by bagging other women and trying to fluff men’s egos.
The main difference is that Virginia Larson is getting a cover story on a national magazine to proclaim her own man-loving awesomeness, and that since she’s the editor clearly no one’s had the spine to say “um, Virginia, your article is unfocused, incoherent and really just a bit shit, love.”
Tell you what, I’m willing to take that bullet, just like Saint Virginia has taken our evil feminist bullets for Brave Selfless Men.
You’re not a misogynist collaborator in the oppression of women because you *dared* to write an article praising men. You’re a misogynist collaborator in the oppression of women because you promote aren’t-women-silly stereotypes and act as though all women are Julia Roberts in a movie, and not Erin Kickass Brockovich, in the first fucking paragraph of your “article”:
No matter that all of [my women friends] are married to good men who trudge off to work every day, love their kids, clear the gutters and seem unlikely to suddenly declare they need a year of “to find themselves.”
You aren’t antifeminist because you challenged some Evil Feminist Conspiracy by putting a tender picture of a firefighter holding a baby on the cover. You’re antifeminist because your publication even *underlined* the subtitle, “A woman’s view” as though that actually means anything, as though you get to speak for all women, as though one woman saying “hey men are kind of cool” will absolutely shake your mythical Feminist Monolith to its core.
You aren’t wilfully fucking clueless and a bad journalist to boot because Feminists Can’t Handle The Truth and there’s some evil Women’s Committee which will censure you at their next caucus for Challenging The Party Line. You’re wilfully fucking clueless and a bad journalist to boot because you write crap like this:
“So, at the risk of digging myself into the sisterhood’s hole of no return – could this explain why men earn more than women? Because they work longer hours at more dangerous and unpleasant jobs? Because they’re more likely to accept the night shifts, hard shifts and postings to Afghanistan or Antarctica? Because men get sought-after degrees … while women get degrees in art history or media studies?”
… and apparently it doesn’t cross your mind at all to wonder if women have been restricted from higher-paying/dangerous/manual jobs, if women who do take up those jobs have faced horrific harassment, if women might be the ones expected to do the bulk of childcaring which kinda precludes nightshift work (and many women have to do it anyway and then get shit for Abandoning Their Motherly Duties), if women are told, bluntly, plainly, constantly, that they aren’t smart enough to do Real Science or if Real Science and getting posted to Afghanistan might also conflict with the fact that a shit-tonne of men, despite, how did you put it, “lov[ing] their kids”, still expect their wives to do the school pickups and grocery shopping and think of spending a weekend together with the kids as “babysitting”?
You aren’t a shit writer because you like men, Virgina. You’re a shit writer because you demand having your cake and eating it too. Remind me, are boys just “naturally” “full of fizz”, or are men “socialised” to “be disposable”? Because you don’t actually get to argue that (a) societies force men to be An Selfless Hero AND (b) men are just naturally more heroic than those dumb bitches who think they need to “find themselves”.
But I can’t really get angry at you, Virginia. This is just garden-variety misogyny peddled to increase your own value to the patriarchy. It’s a survival tactic many women have employed. Please, don’t mistake my contempt as “offence” or “oversensitivity”: for all the promise of your wanky little cover, your desperate pandering to the privileged wankers who read North & South is just another dying scream from a gradually fading system of oppression.
Really, you’ve just given me hope. Because when mainstream magazines have to publish crap like this to try to reinforce the status quo, we must be doing something right.