Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Let's talk "sexy" for a minute. Not to each other. I don't know you that well. Let's talk about sexy.

We Americans are rather puritanical. Not YOU. Of course not YOU. But the collective us. We live in a society that functions much like a confused fourteen year old. One minute we're stuffing our best friend's mother's romance novels under our mattress, all the good parts carefully highlighted in neon green, and the next we're sitting in "sex ed" learning that sex is for marriage, and that while some people will break the rules and become lustful much earlier, those will be the folks who end up crying alone in the bathroom stall, pregnant at 15 with a raging case of VD and no place left in heaven for their soiled soul.

It's no wonder that breasts confuse us.

I wrote a post when I was pregnant sharing my joy over the fact that at the tender age of 27, I had finally sprouted some hormone induced breasts. An angry reader recently pointed this out to me, accusing me of being a hypocrite and suggesting that all of "this" (lactivism) has nothing to do with my core beliefs and everything to do with my wanting to "show off" my new curves.

I'm concerned. If I thought this was one isolated view point, I would leave well enough alone. But the confusion over the purpose of women's bodies, the FIGHT over the purpose of women's bodies, needs to stop.

So since this is my blog, and since I am the sole and rightful owner of MY BODY, I'm going to talk about it.

I am a human being. A woman. Sexual. I am a wife. A mother. Strong. Passionate.

I don't want to settle for simply feeling comfortable in my own skin, I want to (and most often do) feel ecstatic in it. I'm not perfect. I'm working to accept the stretch marks left from having babies, but they're new, and I need time. But I know who I am. Physically, emotionally and mentally. I like this person. I love her.

I am amazed by my body's accomplishments of the last several years. My body worked hard to heal and overcome endometriosis and infertility. My womb nourished and grew two beautiful babies. My breasts produce milk to feed those babies. They provide solace to those babies when they are sad. They provide comfort when my babies are sick or hurt. They provide safety when my babies are scared.

My identity, my purpose, extends beyond my role as mother. As much as I cherish, love, and adore that role, I also cherish, love, and adore the other facets of my life. My body accompanies me on every adventure. My breasts do not cease to exist when my babies aren't around. The value and functionality of my breasts does not begin and end with the ability to lactate. The fact that right now, my breasts serve a primary purpose of nourishing babies does not negate or detract from the fact that they are also (GASP!!!) sexual.

For me, that is the beauty of humanity. We are all multi-faceted. Life is not black and white. There are hundreds of thousands of beautiful shades of grey. How sad to go through life trying to force every minute detail into the correctly shaped container. Motherhood, womanhood, individuality, love, lust, sexuality, these elements of who I am rarely, if ever, enjoy a show stopping solo. They are intermingled, intertwined, and deliciously co-dependent.

Empowered women, unite. Our bodies belong to us only. We do not need to look externally for the definition of how and who we should be. Dance if you want to dance. Be sexual, be maternal, be beautiful, be all of those things, be none of those things, or be something else entirely. Wear a push up bra, wear a nursing bra, wear no bra. Celebrate your body, your mind, your spirit, and your soul.

We're human beings. It's messy. Beautiful. Complicated. We can embrace it or not.

I hope that I'll always be brave enough to embrace it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It goes so far beyond Facebook...

Standing up and demanding that breastfeeding be normalized in our society goes far beyond the issue of whether some people are uncomfortable with the sight of a mother nourishing her child in the best way possible. If this video doesn't give you chills, doesn't outrage you, and doesn't make you question the corporate corruption that too often drives our society, I'm not sure what will.

We need to demand change.

And as a breastfeeding mother who fiercely and adamantly believes that breast is best - I think it is incredibly important, essential even, to point out that this is NOT an attack on mothers who choose not to breastfeed or are not able to. This is an attack on the societal pressures that contribute to an environment where the benefits of breastfeeding are incredibly marginalized and where mothers who choose to breastfeed are often stigmatized, judged, and harassed. Despite the fact that the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, 2003 CDC data shows that in the US, only 14.2% of mothers were following that recommendation. And did you know that in 2006, the United States had the second worst infant mortality rate in the entire developed world?

Where are our priorities?

A society that surrounds young girls with Barbie and her ridiculous body measurements, where approximately one in four females experiences sexual violence, where breastfeeding mothers are asked to leave public places , and where a major formula company can net profits of over 9 billion dollars a year, I really wonder HOW we expect mothers to choose breastfeeding and stick to it. US hospitals are notorious for giving babies bottles even when asked not to by mothers attempting to establish breastfeeding. I've posted about my own experiences struggling to teach my preemies to breastfeed and the hurdles I ran into with lack of hospital support, and I assure you that I am not alone - not by a long shot - in that experience.

Facebook, I'm afraid, is only the tip of the iceberg. It is simply symbolic of the environment we sit in.


We have to start somewhere. We have to start everywhere.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be defined by the society I described above. To the core of my being, I believe that we are better than this.

You can learn more. You can help.

  • This earlier post lists things we can all do to are some additions to that list, many of them courtesy of your comments...thank you!
  • Baby Milk Action - helping to protect babies from unsafe breast milk substitutes and protecting breastfeeding
  • Help get Ellen on board - it may sound silly, but we NEED mainstream media support and exposure
  • Offer to become a Roots of Empathy family, or become an instructor. Roots of Empathy brings attachment parenting, including breastfeeding, into the classroom.
  • Offer to visit your a local classroom or daycare as a pregnant woman, and then do follow up visits with the baby.
  • Support the Nursing is Normal initiative: and on Facebook.
This list is a small sampling of how you can help - if you have an idea or know of a resource, please share and I will post.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This post makes no sense unless you complete the prerequisite summer reading, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

I recently joined PaperBack Swap, because I like to read, I like free things, and I like the environment. Win, win, and win. One of my favorite authors is Tom Robbins, and when you consider that my local library does! not! carry! his books, PaperBack Swap is a virtual Tom Robbins mecca. I promptly pulled ten of Kyle's books off our shelves and listed them (part with my own books? I don't know...) to get my first two credits. Within a week, my mailbox was swarming with cowgirls, beets, and insanely large badger testicles. (If you've never read Tom Robbins, I understand how this sounds).

I eagerly ripped open the packages and thumbed through the pages of Still Life With Woodpecker. It was as I flipped through that, as though I myself were the lustful and pleasantly psychotic heroine in one of his books, three tiny slips of paper slid out and onto my lap.

I consider myself to be quite the detective, and probably have missed my calling in life, so I never pass up the chance to do a little digging around when the opportunity presents itself. My three slips of paper presented a fantastic mystery. Each was a slightly yellowed receipt. The first, ink faded beyond readability, had this phone number scrawled on it: 325-0476. The store ink on the second had fared better over time and read:

07-01-98 SOO586 ROO3

Of course I called the number. Of course I was bitterly disappointed that it has been disconnected. I Googled "the wall springfield pa." No luck. The back of the receipt had two numbers written on it in a bouncy, curly, assumingly female print along with the name, Suzin: 659-5851 and 532-4253. I didn't try calling Suzin. Even if I were to assume the appropriate area code, what would I say? Hi Suzin. Did you once give your number to a Tom Robbins fan who frequented "The Wall" in Pennsylvania?...You're not sure?....Who am I?...No, please don't call the police....No, no, I am not stalking you...Just a little detective work...

The third slip is my favorite. Also from The Wall, but earlier in the year, dated 3/24/98. This one has Liz C.'s phone number scribbled on it: 522-7356. Apparently our mystery book sender is quite the ladies man. But perhaps I need to think outside the box a bit more. Because the third receipt also had this scrawled on it:

I'll use a canine
for an airbag
use a gopher for a stool
I'd use a dolphin
for a suitcase
if I traveled with
a pool
I'd use a kitten
for a pillow if it
didn't cause no strife
I'll use my doggie for an
airbag if I thought it
would save my life

I'm not kidding.


And I wonder just exactly what sort of fare was peddled at The Wall back in the late nineties.

But I have solved the mystery. I think any Tom Robbins reader will agree that there's really no other explanation.

Clearly, clearly, Tom Robbins is in love with me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


For the first few months after Rhys and Quin were born, I was certain that throughout the world and throughout history, no mother had ever loved her babies as I loved mine. This thought wasnt a reflection of my opinions about other mothers, it was simply a matter of capacity and an irrational certainty that loving my babies any more than I already did would cause the universe to explode into a hundred billion pieces of sopping, heavy heart. I wasnt prepared for the magnitude of motherhood; the idea that other mothers felt the way that I felt and were able to pull it together and function was completely incomprehensible to me. I looked out at the world, feeling perplexed and at a total loss in trying to make sense of the suddenly re-written familiar. Images Ive seen hundreds, thousands of times immediately took on new meaning. Commercials about the starving children in Africa, news stories about a runaway teenage boy, television dramas about kidnappings and murders. Although Ive always considered myself a compassionate person, it suddenly seemed as though my former self must have been a cold and heartless shell of a human being to be able to stomach these ideas without urgently forming what had recently become my inescapable conclusion: somebodys baby. That is somebodys baby.

As time has passed, Ive become slightly more acclimated to the experience of being a mother. Of creating life and loving beyond the bounds of understanding. I have come to realize that as much as I love my babies, it is not only possible, but in fact quite likely that other mothers love their babies just as much. Initially, that realization stung a bit. Then the stinging turned into an emphatic, huh. And now amazement. What a collective power.

I suppose thats what knocked me off my center in the first place. Human beings. Creating them. Raising them. Loving them. The impact that we make on the world and on one another. Single influential individuals, good and evil. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Hitler. Joint movements for change. The Emancipation Proclamation. The suffragettes. The daily fabric of our world, individual lives woven together in a delicate yet inescapable chain reaction. Its not just about mothers. Its about all of us and all of our actions and all of the beautiful and mundane details of life. But right now I can only speak as a mother. I want to hold on to this moment; here, where I sit and see the magnitude of what I hold in my hands. Two babies, for whom I simply want peace and love and true happiness. Two babies, who make me want to mold the world into a place that welcomes and nurtures and is safe.

I know that in time I may become desensitized. We havent hit the terrible twos yet. I have never attempted to parent a teenager. Just as Ive slowly come to realize that the universe is not in danger of explosion under the pressure of my love, perhaps in time I will feel at ease with the fragility of it all. But for now I am here. Writing to ask myself to remember what it felt like, peering out at the world with my babies wrapped tightly in my arms.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Yesterday, FOX news out of Washington aired this piece detailing the hard work of thousands of mothers across the country and around the globe. It is amazing and exciting to see that people are starting to pay attention, and to help spread the word that breastfeeding is healthy, normal, and nothing to hide.

Imagine my surprise when I went to share the link with a group on Facebook and got this message:

And what exactly is it, Facebook, that you found to be abusive about this piece? The part where breastfeeding mothers speak up against your misogynistic and sexist policies? Or is it just women taking a stand that bothers you?

You can censor us Facebook, you can delete our photos and delete our accounts. We'll still be the ones who are right.

Cinnamon and Angel Farts

When we were going through infertility, I was certain that the cruelest truth of our situation was that I was destined to be a mother. I am human; I have my flaws. Lots and lots of flaws. But motherhood? I could see it dangling in front of me, just out of reach. My unattainable destined perfection.

And then I became a mother.

Oprah did a show about a year ago on the truth behind motherhood. She featured successful mommy-bloggers like Dooce who confessed their deepest maternal woes and suggested that no matter how bright and glossy the exterior, we all have a poopy diaper or two stuffed under the couch that we're hoping nobody notices. And they were about a year ahead of me. Sleep deprived with two colicky preemies, I watched with a vague interest and no real connection. My entire life felt like that poopy diaper desperately hidden away. The idea of shining up the surface and slapping on a smile seemed insane and potentially harmful.

Now I get it.

And if it's not a wadded, soiled cloth diaper under my couch, it's the fact that I'm writing this while slowly sipping a shot glass full of maple syrup because I'm feeling too responsible to drink anything really serious at 9:52am but dammit my babies are sleeping and if that's not a reason to celebrate and imbibe on sweet condiments, I don't know what is.

I'm a year behind on the uptake, but I'd like to join the collectively pleading voices from that Oprah episode and ask WHY WHY WHY is it that so many mothers make this business look like cinnamon and angel farts?

Motherhood may be wonderful, and I believe it is, but it is also beautifully and recklessly real. I feel like life should suddenly come equipped with air bags and seat belts and a very serious helmet. For me.

I'm not the mother I expected I would be. I call Kyle and beg him to come home from work early. Demand, even. I try to reason with thirteen month olds. "This behavior is NOT ACCEPTABLE!" It is inevitable that at some point in the day, somebody will get hold of their toothbrush and demonically chase after Bella in a desperate attempt to brush her teeth. She will be having none of that and thus will settle for having her tail lavishly brushed with a toddler sized spin brush full of baby Orajel tooth cleanser. The meal I've spent thirty harried minutes lovingly preparing will be thrown over the side of the high chair. I will swear. I will grit my teeth and mumble and grunt and in the midst of it all will not be able to resist kissing those cute and chubby and defiant cheeks as I walk by. Somebody will vomit in my car. I will let that vomit dry using the excuse that it will be "easier" to clean up that way. My babies spend half their life looking like baby hobos with food smeared on their faces and banana gumming up their hair and I will leave it there because really? I don't have the energy to fight over that and besides, people spend a lot of money on strikingly similar spa treatments. I hold on for dear life and offer a snarky laugh at the timid and perfect mother I thought I would be.

This mother, this real life, breathing mother, is a human being.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


A few days ago, I wrote about Rhys and Quin's time in the NICU. It's not the first time I've written about it, but it is the first time that I really went there and wrote about it. On some subconscious level, I've played through snippets of our NICU days a thousand times. The scene that plays most often is us leaving the hospital for the night. Tucking the thin flannel hospital blankets around my tiny babies and leaning in to kiss their faces. Whispering how much I loved them into their sweet and soft little ears. Begging them to be okay. To grow. To understand why, when they woke up that night, I wouldn't be there to scoop them up into my arms.

It's easy to get lost in the right now. And in most ways, what a wonderful place to be lost. My babies are walking. I watch them take these beautiful shaky steps. When they hear music, they immediately start to dance. I sit in awe and just stare at them - their pureness - just experiencing and reacting with wonder and honesty and joy. When they're not fighting over every toy they own, they fall into the moment and lean their heads together, laughing from the core with wild abandon.

All of this makes it easy not to look back. Easy to carefully tiptoe around when it falls across my path. And then I went there. And I wrote it.

I cried.

The details are sharper than knives. I remember the sandy winter grit on the NICU floor. The white board on the wall introducing my babies: "Hi. I'm Quin. Today I weigh 5lbs 1oz." "Hi. I'm Rhys. Today I weigh 5lbs. 6oz." Little dry-erase stars carefully decorating the empty space. Reminding us that this is happy. The incessantly beeping machines. The computer printouts the doctors showed me, neatly charting the dates and times when my babies had momentarily stopped breathing. The nurse who clucked at me, "don't worry dear. We'll get them as high functioning as we can. Easter Seals will work with them." The day I found out that Quin had several unusual cysts on his brain. Sitting alone in the rocking chair that day, holding him and crying. Big salty tears falling on my little sleeping baby. The withdrawal babies down the hall, crying in agony. Trips to the family room. Peeling back the foil lids on plastic containers of cranberry juice and chocolate milk. Believing I would never feel nourished again. Bringing Rhys home. Leaving Quin behind.

In and out of days, I know all of this happened. I thought I had scars.

A scar happens after the flesh heals and the scab falls off.

I wrote it. Hastily and quickly. Without caution. In my haste I caught my scab on the words. It ripped off.

Underneath, to my surprise, is open and raw.

I'm bleeding and bleeding and bleeding.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Let's get Ellen to help!

So Facebook doesn't like breastfeeding.

Let's use Facebook against itself.

I invite you to join and to invite your friends. Attention from the mainstream media will help accomplish exactly what we need: to bring breastfeeding out from the corners, under the blankets, and in bathroom stalls and back into the light.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fixing things.

How does one change the world? Or at least the parts of the world that need fixing?

Society has continued, generation after generation, because women breastfed their babies. Maybe not every woman. Maybe not every generation. But if you take the formula and bottles out of the equation, society would still exist. Take the breasts and breast milk out of the equation, and we would have never arrived at a point where we decided to see if science could out-do the human body.

And here we are. It's 2010. Breastfeeding is still met with controversy. Stigma. Enough is enough. Enough. Let's fix this. Throughout history, women have overcome amazing obstacles - bigger obstacles than this. We can overcome this obstacle. Once and for all, let's work together and put this issue to rest. Let's create a world where women feed their babies in peace, and where the act of breastfeeding is viewed as the loving, natural, necessary, and important act that it is.

Change doesn't happen overnight. It happens when a group of people refuse to give up. Dedicate themselves to taking the small and large steps necessary to make things right as many times as it takes. Organize themselves. Persist.

Here are some of my ideas. I want to hear yours. If you send them to me as comments or email, I will continue to post on this topic and include them. If you've already sent me one that I haven't included here, I apologize. I'm going to comb back through comments and pick up any I've missed.

1. Next time you see a woman breastfeeding in public, say thank you. Say good job.
2. Visit She offers a good plan for helping to "normalize" breastfeeding - she needs our support, our participation, and our help.
3. If you're a breastfeeding mother, get out there and do it in public. Our society needs to see that breastfeeding is normal and healthy.
4. Learn about the breastfeeding legislation in your state. If your state protects your right to breastfeed in public, print out the legislation and carry it in your diaper bag. Show it to anyone who questions you or asks you to go somewhere more private. If your state doesn't protect your right to feed your baby in public, contact your elected officials and ask them to help.
5. Write a letter to the editor in support of breastfeeding.
6. If you're a blogger, blog about the importance of breastfeeding, or your experiences with it.
7. Post pictures of breastfeeding on Facebook. Make it your profile picture. Emma from Montreal offers support and a challenge to all of us at
9. Talk to your children about breastfeeding. What it is and why it is important.
10. If you're a business owner, make sure that your business is breastfeeding friendly. Display the international breastfeeding symbol.
11. Visit and share your breastfeeding story.
12. Push for media attention. Write to the media you feel are influential and important. Ask them to help in these efforts.
13. Wear pro-breastfeeding clothing. Have your baby wear it. Get a bumper sticker. Visit or make your own.
14. Become familiar with the World Health Organization's recommendations on breastfeeding. Share these recommendations with friends and family.
15. Learn about the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. If you are pregnant, try to find a Baby Friendly hospital in your area. Let local hospitals know that you want them to adopt the BFHI standards.
16. Let hospital staff know that you don't want your newborn to be given a bottle, and explain why. Visit for hats that remind hospital staff that bottles are not welcome for your baby.
17. If you have a surplus in your milk supply, donate it to a baby in need.
18. Learn about the benefits of breast milk. Tell your friends. Tell your family.
19. Ask new moms if they have support with breastfeeding. If they don't, offer to be that support.
20. Speak up when you hear or see breastfeeding mothers being treated with disrespect.

What are your ideas? How are you going to make a difference?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stand and Speak

When Rhys and Quin were born, they were admitted to the NICU for several weeks. They had feeding tubes and were kept in hard plastic isolettes for warmth. It wasn't what I'd envisioned for my babies' first days in the world.

We were allowed to visit as much as we wanted, but were warned about touching them too much for fear of over-stimulation. I remember the trepidation and heartbreak I'd feel every time I'd reach my hand through the little porthole into the warmth of the isolette and feel their soft downy skin and delicate tufts of hair. I longed to pick them up and hold them close. Sometimes the nurses would come in and see me standing there with my hand on one of my babies and give me a chiding look. "They need to rest." I had to ask permission to change their diapers. They were almost 24 hours old by the time I got "permission" to try breastfeeding.

It wasn't what I'd envisioned for my first days as a mother. I kept waiting for their real mother to sweep in - a more competent and therefore deserving woman who I imagined would wear peach lipstick and smell faintly of mint gum. The days came and went, but she never appeared. I trudged on. Back and forth to the hospital every day, a hunched and spent shell of my former self. At night I'd set the alarm to go off every two hours so that I could wake up and pump. I'd sit in the dark of our bedroom and cry alongside the whoosh and whir of the Medela, covered in postpartum sweat and sticky from milk. Each morning I'd deposit my night's work with the nurses in the NICU, and I'd ask them to count my supply. I'd anxiously await the results, frantically calculating in my head whether I'd supplied enough milk to get both babies through the day without the nurses supplementing with formula. Formula. Nobody ever asked my permission.

When I finally accepted that the lady with the peach lipstick wouldn't be waltzing in to save us, I realized I would have to muster up my strength and figure out how to be the mother my babies needed. The NICU staff was starting to talk about removing the feeding tubes and starting the babies on bottles. Breastfeeding wasn't going spectacularly, but we were making progress. I knew I didn't want my tiny new babies to have bottles. I did my research. Talked to the lactation consultant. Talked to family and friends. Armed with a page of researched rationale, I walked in to the babies' hospital room one morning and requested to speak with the provider on duty. When the young PA arrived, I took a breath and started my rehearsed speech.

"I want to talk about how we can avoid putting the babies on bottles. I want to exclusively - "

She turned briskly to face me and cut me off. "Not gonna happen." She then opened the porthole on the isolette and reached her hand in to stroke Quin's back. She didn't have to ask anyone's permission. I watched her touch his tiny arms and legs the way I longed to. She smoothed the fuzz on his head. I tried to swallow and couldn't. Four year's worth of wanting and waiting lodged in my throat and refused to leave.

Later that day, the lactation consultant tried to console me. "Just do what they say and get these babies home. Then you can do whatever you want. Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war."

An hour later, I was sitting in a rocking chair, feeding one of my babies a bottle while every last frail thread of motherly confidence quietly withered and fell away.


It seems that Facebook has removed some of the hyper-sexual pictures of breasts that I included in Monday's post. But there are more. And there will be more. So while removing all of the sexualized images of women might make the playing field more even, that's really not what I'm aiming for. What I'm aiming for is for Facebook and for society as a whole to start viewing breastfeeding with respect instead of disdain, and with support rather than stigma.

In the past three days, over 25,000 people have visited these posts. Many have shared their support. I am overwhelmed and energized. Let's not stop here.

Facebook has offered no direct response. We need to show them that we're not going away. This matters. We matter. Our babies matter.

The woman with peach lipstick never came to save me. She doesn't exist. For Rhys and Quin, I'm what they've got. I lost a battle but I will not lose the war. These are my babies. I'm going to make the world right for them. I believe I can.


What next? Where do we go from here?

We need to keep standing up. We need to keep SPEAKING up. If you agree, share these posts. Post them on message boards, post them on Facebook, send them to your local news. Or write your own and share them here. Or on Facebook. Or wherever you feel most comfortable. Share your own mothering story. How did you fight the battle to become the mother your baby(ies) needed?

Write to Ellen. Write to Oprah. Write to NPR or Good Morning America or whoever you think has influence.

Stand. Speak. Don't stop.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If it were men who could breast feed, I'm not sure we'd even be having a conversation.

And that's really the issue here.

Because if men could breast feed, I think we'd have special massage chairs in every public establishment in the US for men to get comfortable while they sustain the next generation and laud breast milk as the global super-food.

I'm a feminist. I'm shocked by how many people are scared of that term. It scares me that so many people are scared of that term.

Things aren't equal, my friends. Sure, we've come a long way from the days of burning women at the stake. Right? But even if that is true, we haven't arrived at some mecca of gender equality. Far from it.

Women in the US are still earning on average about 20% less than their male counterparts. And there are organizations that are outraged by this - great organizations like the National Organization for Women who have been fighting the good fight for a long time. But what about the collective masses. Where are we? Have we forgotten that we can change things?

One of every four women in the United States experiences domestic violence in her lifetime. One. Out. Of. FOUR. Do you have a daughter? A mother? A sister? A friend? Look around you.

I'm not simply angry at Facebook. I'm angry that Facebook has the opportunity, as a powerful social utility, to contribute to gender equality and a better world. But Facebook is acting like a bunch of juvenile frat brothers and doing what has been done throughout the ages - continuing the marginalization of women and women's contributions to society by dosing out patriarchy in teensy, palatable doses.

I was nauseous watching this year's Superbowl ads. The Dodge Charger, amping men up to believe that they are repressed by women - Dockers chanting at men to start wearing the pants again...and I say come on already, America! In a world where patriarchy still reigns supreme - where we go to war and send our children to war, where there is rape and battery and child abuse around every other street corner, isn't enough finally enough?

Whether it's the big-deal issues like the wage gap or the "smaller" issues like Facebook removing pictures of breastfeeding mothers, we need to start standing up. We need to start speaking up. It is these issues, large and small, that work together to create a world where we are so programmed to find gender inequality palatable that we don't say anything.

And that would be scary, if we said something. If we all stood up and said something. Because change is scary. People don't like change. And if we stood up, one by one, stood together, and said "ENOUGH!" things might actually start to move in that scary, changing direction.

Stand up. Please. Stand up.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Most US states have laws protecting a breastfeeding mother's right to feed her child in public. And last time I checked, the entire nation was protected by a tiny little concept we call freedom of speech.

Apparently Facebook is above these ideals. Apparently Facebook is really quite invested in making sure that the images we see of women are sexualized rather than celebratory.

I'm told that Facebook has blocked the link to my post "Offense." (Update at 8:00pm told that people are now able to link to it again.) It was reported as violating the terms of use for Facebook. Funny. Because I reported every truly offensive picture included in that post and when I checked one minute ago, they are all still up on Facebook.

But I get it. Facebook is a private entity and they make their own rules. That doesn't mean their rules are right.

Not only is Facebook treating women in a misogynistic manner, apparently they're quite terrified of free speech as well.

Facebook, you're wrong. And the 6,700 + people who have visited my blog today seem to agree with me.

I'm not stopping here.

(And if you want to link to this post, please feel free. You can do so by copying the blog URL of, this post URL of or my original letter to Facebook at
Linking to my post from yesterday,, may or may not be allowed on Facebook.)

Monday, March 8, 2010


Facebook hasn't written back.

And Ellen hasn't called and said "yes! I will do a show on breastfeeding and fill my audience with lactating mamas who I will shower with lanolin cream and fancy nursing bras. Yes!" Oprah hasn't called either. And Tyra hasn't. And NPR hasn't. And my local news station hasn't.

And you know what? I think they're missing out on an opportunity. Because this image is still on Facebook, as the profile pic for the Big Boobs application, which has 55,842 monthly users:

Big Boobs

And this image is still on Facebook, as the profile pic for the "Tits" application with 12, 260 monthly users:


And this image is still on Facebook, the profile pic for the "T i t s" fan page, with 1,863 fans:

T i t s

And this image is still on Facebook, the profile pic for the group "Titties" with 580 members:


And I'd like to say I'm surprised. Because Facebook has a policy against sexually offensive material. And given the context of each of these pictures, I'd call them pretty damn sexually offensive. So I reported them. Each and every one. And included my letter to Facebook as my comment for each one. No response. No removal of the pictures.

But you know what picture Facebook did remove?

This one. Originally posted on the "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is NOT obscene" group, with 258,448 members.

tandem nursing

Here, where, after three years of infertility and a traumatic and pre-term birth, I finally tandem nursed my babies successfully for the first time. Facebook told me this picture was offensive. And warned me that they will delete my account if I continue to break the rules.

Hey Facebook?

Fuck you.