Wednesday, January 03, 2007

 

The Nature of Culture

An academic post: how do I explain breastfeeding as socially constructed as natural? Well, that part seems easy. We live in a culture that tells us what is natural and what is unnatural. Formula is unnatural. Even when comprised of 100% of ingredients that are found in nature. But it's like I've always wondered, "what ISN'T found in nature?" Who and what is deemed more natural and glorified? And why? There are still questions about health, and too many feelings on "both sides" to express. But why are there 2 sides? Why is it EITHER healthier or LESS healthy? How in the heck are we going to study the pro's of inmunities and what they do to bodies 70 years down the line? How are we going to quantify the fewer ear infections of breastfed babies, especially when much of the problem may or may not be the antibiotics given to FF babies, not the infections? Why aren't we afraid to talk about what we don't know, can't know, and can't study? Because that terrifies me.

Did 70's lesbians advocate for breastfeeding so heavily because they were so closely aligned with radical feminism, philosophically bent on celebrating all those things "feminine" and therefore all those things deemed "inferior"? And is my resistance to the cult of breastfeeding today derived from my late 80's queer impulse against the gendered and sexes naturalness of what is somehow deemed inherently female? After all, there are breastfeeding men, it's true. Then why do women feel more womanly through breastfeeding? Why not more...goatlike? After all, goats breastfeed. It's a very goaty thing to do. Some women do it, yet it's an innately womanly thing to do and not a goaty thing to do, though some goats breastfeed too.

Simplistic answer: the social construction of natural womanhood. Lesbian feminism. And me over here in this corner with ACT-UP trying to relive the queer glory days of breaking down any and all sex/gender/sexual system through mall kiss-ins and posters on NYC busses. And throwing down our bodies in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Damn, I would have made a great androgynous 80's queer. WHY oh WHY was I stuck in Mr. Foley's 5th grade classroom instead? Getting laughed at for my glittery gelled hair. What a loss.

The question of the day: why didn't lesbian feminism shift to more queer ground when radical (straight) feminism seemed to?

Comments:
Question of the day- Where is the baby?
You and I are passing each other 400 miles away on this topic, so I don't know the answer to your questions because they are something that never have and never will apply to me. However, if Mel doesn't want to breastfeed, then DON'T! She will still be a woman. She will probably still be a lesbian. She will bond with the child and the kid will probably not die a horrible death from ear infections by his fourth birthday. You just have to wash more bottles. That part sucks. A lot. But then you don't have an 18 month old child doing head stands with his feet on your face while grunting and pinching your other nipple. But hey, if THAT doesn't define womanhood, what does?
 
I felt like a farm animal. I hated every single minute of breastfeeding. I quit at about 4 months. Maybe 3.5.
I'd do it again, but really only because it made me skinny again.
I'm not winning the mother of the year award, am I?
 
This was way to involved for my simple little mind. I chose how I did because that is always what I knew that I would do when I had kids, and really didn't care what anyone else's opinion was. I feel that people should do what is best for them, and not what others think that they should do. But that's just my simplified version of the world.
 
She'll still be a woman if she breastfeeds? But will she still have a healthy spleen with all that upside down kicking? Aw, come on, I don't want to give her spleen massages.
Yes, our previous lack of a dishwasher has led me to go to environmental hell (where I'm sure there is a special place just for me) for using drop-ins so that we don't wash bottles. Samn it, why must the poor be responsible for the planet? Dishwashers for everyone! I'm starting a march for this cause. I love our new one too much. I would nurse on it if you said I could keep it forever.
 
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