Tag Archives: feminism

Sports Hosts Slam Mets Player for Taking Paternity Leave: “There’s nothing you can do, you’re not breastfeeding the kid.”

New York Mets player Daniel Murphy missed the first two games of the season after birth of his first child. Murphy’s wife was in Florida and happened to go into labor during opening day. He flew to her side to be present for the birth.

Murphy’s three-day paternity leave is quite standard for Major League Baseball players; Federal law allows fathers to take up to two weeks off work.

Not news, right?

If only it were that simple…

Many sports commentators are criticizing Murphy for his choice to take off more than 24 hours.

Mike Francesa is a popular sports personality for New York radio. He was quite surprised when he learned that Murphy opted to take paternity leave:

Some highlights…

“I don’t get it… I don’t know where it started to be honest with you… I’m going to guess that it started with natural childbirth… because it started being in the old days- guys weren’t present. They were, you know, in the waiting room when they had births. Then they went to this natural childbirth stuff, so the guys were part of it. So they were in the room and they were there and everything because they were part of it. And then everybody wanted to be there, which I understand.”

Then…

“I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you’re a Major League Baseball player. I’m sorry, but you do … Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple days, you know that.”

And finally…

“One day, I understand. Go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player, you can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help … What are you gonna do? Are you gonna sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”

Then, former NFL quarterback and current radio host Boomer Esiason chimed in with fellow radio host Craig Carton about Murphy’s controversial paternity leave.

Carton used breastfeeding in his reasoning as to why Murphy should get back to work immediately:

“You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball … there’s nothing you can do, you’re not breastfeeding the kid.”

Esiason sounded as if he were defending Murphy at first. “He has legal rights to be there if he wants to be there.” He said. However, he was quick to defend his own misogynistic position.

“I would have said C-section before the season starts; I need to be at opening day. I’m sorry- this is what makes our money, this is how we are going to live our life, this is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I’ll be able to afford any college I want to send my child to because I’m a baseball player.”

Money and expensive institutionalized education. Wow, he certainly nailed down the important things in life.

As for Murphy? He told ESPN it was absolutely the right decision:

“I got a couple of text messages about it, so I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I didn’t hear about it,” Murphy said about the radio hosts comments. “But that’s the awesome part about being blessed, about being a parent, is you get that choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay for an extra day — that being Wednesday — due to the fact that she can’t travel for two weeks.”

He then added:

“It’s going to be tough for her to get up to New York for a month. I can only speak from my experience — a father seeing his wife – she was completely finished. I mean, she was done. She had surgery and she was wiped. Having me there helped a lot, and vice versa, to take some of the load off. … It felt, for us, like the right decision to make.”

 

Way to go, Murphy!

 

All-Girl Choir Will Break 1000-Year-Old Tradition This Saturday

Schoolgirls to end Canterbury cathedral tradition of male-only choral singing

Gareth Fuller/PA

On Saturday, Canterbury Cathedral will end the century-old tradition of an all-male choir when an all-girls choir makes their debut at Evensong.

Canterbury is considered the home/mother church of the Anglican Communion, which has over 85 million members, and has currently been attempting to redefine the role of women as well as other underrepresented members of its community. Needless to say, many believe the girls’ choir is symbolic for a larger change that is on the horizon for the church.

Robin Thicke on the VMAs (Post Hijacked by Alan Thicke’s Awesomeness)

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The Teddy Bears- Terrifying…No one can argue with that.

Ah, the VMA performance by Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Juicy J.

So much strangeness for so many reasons.

Many articles have pointed out that the majority of the heat was placed on Miley. Now some are calling out Robin Thicke, but why has no one mentioned Juicy J?

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 9.42.20 PM

Did we give up on him after he offered a $50K scholarship for the winner of a twerkin’ contest?

Is it expected of him since he is a rapper? Does he get a pass?

Is it less offensive when these kind of lyrics are coming from a rapper?

 “All a nigga do is sip lean and fuck hoes

(Yes sir)

Smoking with a queen

(Bitch)

And she popped a bean

(Bitch)

Call my niggas over

(Bitch)

And let her fuck my team

(Ho)”

-Juicy J- Get Higher

 

So, basically this girl has smoked whatever and just took X and they are essentially running a train on her now that she is under the influence of multiple narcotics. I’m not sure what your definition of date rape is, but calling a bunch of friends over to have sex with a person after they have gotten high on a MDMA probably would fall into that category.

 

 

Most of you know, I am a bit of rap aficionado. (How embarrassing for them that my demographic is probably their main consumer.)

 

I don’t listen to Juicy J, but I have caught myself listening to other rappers I think are extremely talented who objectify women in their lyrics, and it has only been recently when I decided that I need to stop listening to the songs that are degrading. Do you know what I discovered? I basically have taken out 90% of my iTunes playlist. That was so sad (for me, for them, for the country…)..

 

Okay, I just had to say something about that….

Now on to Robin Thicke.

 

I originally saw Robin and I thought, “That guy looks like the dad on Growing Pains…”

 

 

Well, that is because his dad is Alan Thicke, and played Jason Seaver on the show. Many of you can remember Alan as the host of Pictionary, and he had a pretty David Hasselhoff-esque singing career.

 

 

 

meme5That is the image I have in my head whenever Robin Thicke comes up in the news

 

 

 

Do you remember the public negative reaction when “Blurred Lines” came out because people said the lyrics were “rape-y”.

 

I don’t know, I’ve read the lyrics and I see how some could take it as that, but I thought the lyrics were kind of lame and they were just the same old crap getting played all over the radio.

 

BUT…here is where I think things went downhill….

 

A BBC Radio 1 reporter interviewed Robin Thicke about the potentially questionable lyrics and he stumbled around an answer that I think did a lot more harm than good.

 

When the reporter asked about the potentially offensive lyrics he said, “I can’t dignify that with a response.” And he really should have stopped there…

 

Then he added, “Only for extra religious people…” and continued on…

 

“That’s ridiculous … For me, it was about blurring the lines between men and women, and how much we’re the same. My wife is as strong as I am, if not smarter and stronger. And she’s an animal too, and she doesn’t need a man to define her. The song is really about how women are everything that a man is, and can do anything a man can do.”

 

He explained the unrated version of the “Blurred Lines” video: “I had mentioned to [the director] that I wanted to do a very funny and silly video. … And she said, ‘well, what if we have the girls take their clothes off?’ And I said,  ’make sure we shoot two versions, because I don’t want it to be sleazy.’ I’ve always been a gentleman, I’ve been in love with the same woman since I was a teenager. I don’t want to do anything that’s inappropriate.”

 

Eh….

 

If you have seen the unrated version of “Blurred Lines”, the men in the video are completely dressed (very well dressed I might add) and the women are topless and wearing nude thongs. Many have mentioned that the men being clothed evokes power and the women being nude shows vulnerability…oh and holding the lamb? I think most are reading it one way (even though they tried to claim the lamb was to touch on bestiality, which I’m not sure is a better or worse explanation)….No, I’m not sold on blurring lines… from what I saw, there were pretty clear gender borders in that video. For reference check out this parody that does the same song, but with a gender reversal:

 

Also, the video is pretty much the same except one video is clothed and in the other the women appear nude. So, when he speaks about “sleaziness” I’m assuming he is referring to a woman’s nude body? If this really was about women’s empowerment, the nude body, I would assume, would be considered empowering by the artist, not sleazy…no…

 

And I’m not sure how creating two videos makes someone any more of a gentleman. The other one that he deems “sleazy” is still being created.

 

In his defense, perhaps he wanted to create the second video in case the finished product of the first looked in poor taste and that was the sleaziness he was referring to, the potential for sleaziness if done incorrectly…Who knows…

Maybe he should have asked Juicy J for interview advice before taking any questions.

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This would be the Juicy J strip club online game

 

And to be extra fair, the “Blurred Lines” video and song alone without the commentary wouldn’t even make it into this thought-throw-up post. It was just that answer…I was not sold on it.

 

But you know what, look at how many parodies of this song have come out… was the popularity dumb luck or calculated? Look at that, it is getting late, fatigue is setting in and I’m turning into a conspiracy theorist!

 

Regardless, no matter how sexy they try to make “Blurred Lines” I cannot separate Alan and Robin Thicke in my head, so I will forever see this:

Should Women Pay More for Health Insurance than Men?

meme3Should women pay more for health insurance than men?

According to Dr. David Samadi women should be paying more for health insurance.

Why? We have breasts…

and ovaries….

and uteruses…

Oh yeah, and we are the ones gestating human babies, and are solely responsible for the perpetuation of our species.

But wait, don’t we also earn less wages than our male counterparts?

So… we make less money, but we should pay more and should be discriminated against for going to the doctor…Oh Fox News, always finding fair and compassionate people to voice their opinions…

Katy Perry and Feminism

“I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.”  -Katy Perry

I like you, but I think you may need a dictionary.

feminist |ˈfemənist|
noun
a person who supports feminism.

______

feminism |ˈfeməˌnizəm|
noun
the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I’m assuming you want women to have the same rights as men. Most people do. That would make you, by definition, a feminist.

Society has given us stereotypical ideas of what a feminist is, probably because our patriarchal society is trying to discredit women as equal to men, subtly creating the idea of a decades-old extreme (and perhaps misandrist) feminism as a current and correct model/definition for what feminism really is, and this idea of feminism is damaging to society. A good example of it’s damage is that most people seem to not know the true definition of feminism.

So, while I understand (at least I hope) why you said that, and I also understand it sucks to have everything you say taken out of context or every little blurb blown up in the media- I think this is an awesome opportunity to educate people.

Feminism=equality. 

Breastfeeding, It’s Like Eating Brussels Sprouts

There was recently a discussion about how we need to stop talking about the research on the benefits of breastfeeding so that we don’t make mothers who can’t breastfeed feel guilty…

 

Sure, we’ll just idly stand by while formula companies continue to market to women who are capable and willing to breastfeed or parents in areas of the world without access to safe drinking water. -A Generation On: Baby milk marketing still putting children’s lives at risk, Save the Children

 

What is the best defense against propaganda and divisive marketing? Research and education.

Women don’t really want or need to hear that their child is at risk for multiple diseases because they couldn’t breastfeed. The way the information is often presented to mothers is that breastfeeding is so perfect and so superior to formula that there will be catastrophic results if you don’t breastfeed (directly at the breast, of course, or your baby will never bond to you…right… )

Defensiveness Causes Divisiveness

There is such a warped view and defensiveness of both sides of this issue that it is hard to know what to believe anymore. Emotions and societal norms have skewed child feeding to the point where they have tried to vilify bottle-feeding mothers as lazy and poisoning their babies, and breastfeeding mothers as hippy-dippy and out of touch with reality. Here, I’ll give you an example:

Hanna Rosin (who is a mother) wrote a pretty ridiculous article for Slate. She was attempting to not only denigrate me, but breastfeeding in general when she pulled a fragment of a quote of mine out of context:

I will just pull out a few choice sentences from the Q-and-A, so you get a sense of what demographic sandbox we are playing in:      ”My husband is so great—he would bring the equipment in and actually do the pumping while I was asleep. It was a full family effort.”

Well, here is the actual Question and Answer she pulled from:

Tell me about becoming a mom and breast-feeding your children.
We were starting the process of adoption when I got pregnant. We weren’t expecting our biological son at all. He was born two months early, and preemies at that age don’t have a sucking reflex. The nurses in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] — kept trying to put him on formula. I couldn’t see him for three days because I was so sick. I was basically passed out from the medication they were giving me. My husband is so great — he would bring the equipment in and actually do the pumping while I was asleep. It was a full family effort. My mother breast-fed me until I was 6 years old, until I self-weaned. Her encouragement to breast-feed is why we were so successful.*

Do you see how selectively choosing those words was her attempt to discredit breastfeeding?  (The whole thing seems very Maggie Gyllenhaal and family in Away We Go, I might add. I wonder if that was her inspiration for the persona she attempted to give me?) Of course, she didn’t talk about the importance of a family rallying together in crisis to do the best they can for their own who are unable to do so for themselves. Also, why wouldn’t she mention that parenting is a family effort, or talk about how great it is to have a father comfortable enough with himself to parent any way needed to make sure he gave his vulnerable child the best chance of thriving? Maybe, that doesn’t generate as much traffic or isn’t as sensational as saying we just all can’t get enough of those lactating mammary glands. On goes the abasement of women and undervaluing of breastfeeding.

Here are the problems that arise from these kind of articles (which unfortunately are quite abundant online):

1. It’s anti-feminist. The author is a woman writing for a women’s section on a blog. As feminist as they feel this opinion might be, by attempting to trivialize motherhood and the idea of nourishing and comforting a child in any healthy way is terrible for the further empowerment of women in a patriarchal society. (See “It’s Time for Big Tent Feminist Parenting. No more of this divisive shit.” by Mama Nervosa)

2. It is damaging to not only breastfeeding, but all parenting in this culture. By perpetuating the stigma on a biologically and anthropologically ordinary process, she has opened the door for other people to shame parenting that differs from what they understand as “normal”. Parents are no longer parenting for the needs of their children, but rather following the narrow path that society has deemed as acceptable, for fear of contempt if they veer.

This is a problem and the consequences are quite great. We have to ask ourselves the reasons why there is such disrespect for breastfeeding mothers in our culture? Again, I think defensiveness is probably the top of the list.

A Gentler Approach

I often think back to the first three days of Aram’s life. He was given soy formula while I was incoherent in another part of the hospital trying to up my platelets, lower my blood pressure, lower my liver enzymes, and decrease my cerebral edema. The hospital put him on soy formula, which was immediately questioned by my sister-in-law, who is a pediatrician. From the research done now we know it  was probably the worst option available. Brian, with the encouragement of my side of the family, his side of the family, and one NICU nurse, decided to start pumping for me while I couldn’t. I produced milk, and Aram received it.

I often think of how our scenario could be much different. Due to our circumstances, there was a high probability I would have trouble breastfeeding. If I ended up going home with Aram on formula, I know that some of the breastfeeding research, and particularly the way it is presented by some advocacy groups, would have been hurtful for me.

The research, of course, is not geared to make people who can’t breastfeed feel impending doom for their children (and when I say can’t, that includes groups of people who are able to produce milk, but maybe shouldn’t continue lactating for various reasons that are completely individual and personal to the mother, family, and child). Research is meant to educate, period. In a perfect world, it would be presented to help women who will be discouraged by what Best for Babes calls cultural “booby traps” that do not allow a mother to embrace a breastfeeding relationship when it definitely would be right for her family.

I firmly believe that the breastfeeding rate will naturally increase and breastfeeding will normalize in our country when we stop making mothers who can’t breastfeed feel like shit.

Can Facts Be Hurtful?

You always hear “formula fed babies are at a higher risk of [long list of diseases]”

Yes, that is scary and would put me on the defensive, too. We unfortunately are living in a day and age when corrupt companies are paying for potentially inaccurate research to be presented to the population. We need to be discerning when facts are impetuously thrown our way. We should make it a point to read the actual conclusions to the research ourselves and know who funded the study in the first place. Then we should ask ourselves what good can come from this research. The point is always to improve what we have available to us now.
To make everyone understand what I mean- here is what I’m “at risk for” after having a HELLP pregnancy:

  • preeclampsia and HELLP in subsequent pregnancies
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • lupus
  • thyroid disease
  • DVT
  • multiple sclerosis
  • diabetes
  • -and the list goes on and on
Here is what Aram is “at risk for” since he was born via emergency cesarean:
  • obesity
  • childhood asthma
  • other respiratory issues
  • ADHD
  • leukemia
Most of these issues pop up soon after delivery, but others can show up later in life. You know what happened to me after reading this? It contributed to the PTSD I developed after my pregnancy and I felt like a ticking time bomb. So, I understand the fret that goes into hearing these kinds of statistics.

 

At that time, I didn’t remember that “higher risk” does not indicate anything more than simply what it is saying- our chances become greater to develop or experience what is listed. It is not a confirmation we’ll get everything (or anything) for which we’re at an increased risk.  I think of this knowledge as a bit of foresight; use it to pursue preventative measures to lower your risk for the listed health concerns.

Let’s Come Together

We need to remember that sometimes we are offered a choice in life and sometimes we’re not. Even if it was a choice there are risks and benefits on all sides. Being educated about our choices and questioning, “do the risks outweigh the benefits?” should be what we are striving for as parents encouraging one another. So no, the research should not stop, but judging and condemning one another for making decisions for their own family should.

When I think of breastfeeding, I think of it like brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are packed with nutrients that prevent against cancer, autoimmune, cariovascular and metabolic issues. People who eat brussels sprouts have been shown to be healthier than the general population. There are some people who may be allergic to brussels sprouts, or for various reasons can’t work brussel sprouts into their diet.  Are these people going to get cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic disorders if they don’t eat brussels sprouts? Of course not.  All it means is that brussels sprouts are good for you and should be added in if possible. If you won’t or can’t eat brussels sprouts, you certainly have other food and preventative measures to lower your chance of the listed diseases. That does not mean we should discredit the brussels sprouts or stop talking about the health benefits just because some people can’t or won’t eat them.

I hope we get to the point where we can see things for what they really are:

The true parenting advocates do not have the goal to condemn those who do differently, but rather to help educate and normalize something our society has demeaned, belittled, and manipulated.

 

 

*The Q and A was not the best representation of my views, not because I was misquoted, but paraphrased. Kate Pickart had her work cut out for her. We had a phone conversation where I rambled and went off topic multiple times. She had to pull what I said together into one short Q- and A. I’m surprised the finished product cleaned up so well. 

Waterlink Africa: Why is Water Life-Altering?

Clean Water Projects Image 2Did you know? $1 can give clean water to one person for over a decade.

Why is water life-altering?

  1. Unsterile water is the number two killer amongst children. Around the world, fetching water is a woman’s task. Thus, one of the most crucial health issues for women in Africa is the clean water shortage. 1 in 5 children worldwide dies of a water-related disease.
  2. Water is a women’s issue. In order to get access to clean water, women and girls must carry up to 50lbs of water every day over typically 5 miles or more. Carrying this water has shown to stunt growth in young girls which has contributed to the extremely high maternal mortality rate in these areas, but girls and women also face dangers along their way to a water source.
  3. Water improves education and economy. Education has been proven to be the greatest way to improve a community. When kids get sick from water-borne diseases, they can’t attend classes – then fall behind, then drop out. Most students suffer from severe dehydration because they try to drink as little bad water as possible. When the brain is dehydrated, it has a very hard time focusing on tasks such as school work, and chances of success are greatly diminished. There are some children who walk daily to get water and are unable to attend school, and the adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. When children have the opportunity to be educated, they can become problem solving members of the community and have a hope of contributing to their society.

Waterlink Africa

Fayye Foundation has teamed up with Waves for Water to pursue a series of clean water projects throughout Africa. The filters that will be installed use the highest filtration rates available, can provide clean water for an entire village for pennies a day, and have a high flow rate which eliminates the need to store water. The filters are self-sustaining and easy to maintain. If cared for, each $50 filter lasts for many years, providing clean water for up to 100 people a day.

waterlink Africa: a chain of friends, spanning generations, from Africa to America and back to Africa. Donor, healer, helper – each link is necessary. Waterlink Africa delivers solutions from inventors to people in need of safe drinking water in every faraway corner of Africa.

Waves for Water and Fayye Foundation are certain that everyone who lacks clean water deserves to have unlimited access via an endless chain of caring, of which each of us is a single link. Experts are confident that the water crisis will be completely eradicated in our lifetime, but the only way we can do that is by every person in the link working towards this cause.

To donate to our first Waterlink project (Waves for Awassa/Project Ethiopia) you can go here. Your tax-deductible donation has the potential to give 20,000 people access to clean water. Every dollar counts.

CW2P6515

 

 

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