I really hadn’t planned on writing anything about the breastfeeding Time cover because I felt I had covered the whole breasts/shame/American prudishness angle pretty well in my Pearl Clutchers Anonymous – I See Korean Boobs Edition post - but in light of a conversation I had with my nine year-old son yesterday, I don’t think I’m done yet.
I have a kind of novel parenting style…….I actually talk to my kids, and when they have questions I answer them ,without a lot of bullshit or embarrassment. My nine year-old is very intelligent ( he’s in the gifted and talented program, and hell yeah, I’m bragging about it – the kid is SMART) and VERY inquisitive, and he can also smell bullshit five miles away. As we were surfing the channel guide for things to watch yesterday afternoon, there was a listing for a film called “To Hell and Back”, and Spawn#3 asked
“Mom, why would they name a movie with words you’re not supposed to say?”.
Knowing exactly what he meant, I probed – “What word aren’t you supposed to say?”
Spawn: “You know, h-e-double hockey sticks.”
Me: “You mean hell? What is hell?”
Spawn: “People say it’s where you go when you die if you’re bad.”
Me: “So “hell” is supposedly a place, like the store or the park or the desert or school or a movie theater?”
Me: “So saying “hell” is no different than saying “hospital” or “crack-house” or “heaven” or “McDonald’s”. People will try to tell you it is, but it’s not. WORDS, in and of themselves, are not bad. Sometimes the way you use them is bad, and some words are just so identified with the “bad” meanings that you should just avoid them all together, but words themselves are not “bad” .”
Spawn: “Like ethnic slurs?”
Me: “Yes, like ethnic slurs.”
Spawn: “And cuss words?”
Me: “Sort of. Prudish people decided that some words are bad to say because they deal with sex and bodily functions, and those are two things that stupid people believe you should never talk about. People should make up their own minds about what is appropriate for them and act accordingly. Should you use curse words at school or when you’re playing with friends? No. Should you use curse words at home or with your brothers and sisters? Not at your age, but we’re not going to spazz out and wash your mouth out with soap if you do……..taking away your Nintendo gets the message across much more effectively. ”
Spawn: “Ok. So why do people think “hell” is a bad word?”
Me: “Because it’s supposed to be where the devil lives, and the devil is bad , so hell has to be “bad” too, I suppose. I’ve never understood the outrage over saying”hell”, it’s no different than saying “heaven” or “Satan” or “Noah’s Ark’”. Guess it just makes religious people feel better, though I for the life of me can’t figure out why.”
Spawn: “Is penis a bad word? I got in trouble the other day for telling a teacher that Sean kicked me in the penis on the playground.”
Me: “No, it’s a body part, just like an eye or a nose or a finger or a toe. Some kid kicked you in the penis, and a teacher got upset with YOU for saying “penis”? What was that teacher’s name, ’cause momma’s gonna have some idiot for breakfast* tomorrow. There is NOTHING wrong with the word penis, and if anyone says differently at school or anywhere else, you have them call me and I’ll set that crap straight, son. Don’t let stupid people make you feel bad for using the proper names for body parts – it’s not your fault you are more mature than they are.”
Spawn: “Ok, Mom. Can we watch Family guy now?”
And that is a pretty fair representation of the types of conversations I have with my children.
I am NOT a pearl-clutcher…….never have been, never will be.
So when Time magazine came out with this cover, my first thought was “eh…….Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh on the cover would be WAAAAAAAAAY more offensive”.
Not so for more than a few of my Book of Faces friends………….the reactions ranged fron “that’s highly inapproiate” to this awesome gem:
“To all my friends, have a great Friday! To Time magazine, you should be arrested for child pornography.”
Because a mother breastfeeding a child is pornography.
Well, I’ll let two of the comments on that status sum it up:
“THAT is one sick picture, I totally agree with you!”
“Agree 100%. Breast feeding is beautiful to a point. Three years old is about two years and two months beyond that point.”
Oh, and this one from the local news station’s page:
“That kid is way too big to still be on the boob – this ain’t Africa!”
Because only uncivilized Africans who don’t know any better should still be using their breasts as they are intended well past the 14-month cut-off point prescribed by Western sexual/societal hang-ups.
This is AMERICA, where breasts are meant for feeding ,at home and in the dark, for an acceptable 14 months before being thrust back into Wonderbras and pumped full of silicone so hubby dearest won’t start fapping to the 20 year-old coeds jogging in the park. Breasts were meant for oggling at the gym, the beach, and the club, and for jizzing on those times when you forgot the birth control and don’t really want to have a baby at the moment.
Not so much.
Damn European counter-culture free-lovin’ weirdos and third-world savages, making us look all biologically ignorant and shit.
I am not a proponent of the “attatchment parenting” extremes where women breastfeed children who are old enough to be in school and the whole family shares a bed all the time and you do that weird Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing the food thing, but hey, if it works for YOU, do it. I AM a big supporter of breastfeeding, but I totally understand that some women are uncomfortable with it, and some women just can’t do it because they can’t seem to produce enough and/or their baby has latching issues……it is not for everyone. And we need to respect one another’s choices, whatever they are. On a scale of 1-10, I’d rank long-term breastfeeding as far less damaging than corporal punishment, but strangely, most of the people I know who are outraged over the breastfeeding mom have no problem with using belts, paddles, switches, et cetera on their children, so you tell me who’s the bigger parental fuck-up?
Im’ma go with the child beaters for 500, Alex.
Comments like this have also been abundant:
“My turn to chime in…lol. Ok the only thing that gets me, is all this is, is a stunt to get this lady some notoriety nationally..Kids can be very cruel, what does she think is going to happen to the child? Talk about ridicule for this kid for MANY years to come from his peers. The Kid will need many years of psychiatric help when he gets older..NEVER put your kids through this sort of Embarassment for you own gain. It is tough enough being a kid, especially now-a-days when kids seem to be more cruel than when we were growing up. My 2 cents..I am done now. Have a great day :)”
Which is all well and good………but also a tad hypocritical. People who bring up the “personal notoriety/teasing” angle didn’t seem to have a problem with Sarah Palin using her pregnant daughter for her own gain and ignoring the certain ridicule she would face., and these same people also often don’t seem concerned about the ridicule endured and psychiatric needs of gay kids who are being legally tortured because some people think their “moral objections” trump the civil rights of others.
Jamie Lynne Grumet, Dionna Ford, Melinda Larson, and Jessica Cary are not perverts, despite what some people are saying.
Unconventional, YES, but not as uncommon as most would like to think. Most breastfeeding mothers I know have done so for at least two years, some longer. I breastfed all five of mine, and they all stopped at different points. My oldest stopped on her own at nine months, all the rest at two aside from the aforementioned gifted Spawn, for whom weaning was a REAL struggle. He stopped at three. It worked for me, and my kids are all healthy, happy, and well adjusted, despite being subjected to my disgusting fun bags for the first two years of life, so I’m going to have to say a big fat “fark you” to all the people who are hung up on breastfeeding as pornography because they can’t imagine being exposed to a breast without automatically springing wood or having a lesbian jizz-fest.
My kids are not fazed when they see a breast-feeding mother in public because they have parents who talk to them and express that breasts do NOT equal intercourse, and natural body functions are just that – NATURAL.
And if more parents would do that instead of attaching so much shame and secrecy to sex and our bodies, we’d probably see a big drop in teen pregnancies, STD’s, misogyny, and just general stupidity when it comes to sex education and activites.
You are what you teach……….and YOUR hang-ups are not my problem.
And they won’t be my childrens’ problem, either.
* Breakfast was tasty, by the way……it is inconcievable to me that I would have to tell an adult that they should be less concerned about my son saying “penis” than they are with some jackass kid kicking one, but there you have it. I provided her with some examples of bad words, and pointed out that the proper name for a human organ is NEVER among them. I am probably on that woman’s shit-list now, and I don’t give a damn. Grow the fuck up, lady.