Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’
I just want to start off by saying that it is rumored that Amy Acker (the actress that plays Dr. Saunders/Whiskey) will only appear in two more episodes this season. I am really upset about this because not only is that a great character and she is a great actress, but they were getting to a really good storyline between Dr. Saunders and Topher. Sad news.
On to this week’s episode, “Instinct” (in which Dr. Saunders didn’t appear). The episode starts off with Topher explaining how he was able to alter Echo on a “glandular level” and we soon find out that she was imprinted to be the mother of a baby whose mother died in childbirth. The father blamed his son for his wife’s death and needed someone who could love him because he couldn’t. Enter Echo. She is imprinted to believe that she was gone through pregnancy and given birth to this child and is now breastfeeding him (which is where the altering on the glandular level comes in).
She soon overhears a conversation that the husband has with Adelle in which he wants Echo to leave and says he will “take care of the baby.” Echo takes this to mean that he is going to kill both her and her baby and runs away. She is caught by the Dollhouse and taken to be wiped. But surprise twist…the “maternal instinct” cannot be gotten rid of by a normal wipe and Echo escpaes the Dollhouse and goes to get the baby, even though she doesn’t have any of the memories, she just knows that he is her baby. She threatens the father with a knife, but he is able to talk her down and she gives him the baby back. Then she talks with Ballard about how she can’t necessarily remember all of the people she has been, but she can feel them.
Some bonuses, we see November again, but as the person she was outside of the Dollhouse since her contract was terminated at the end of the first season. I really liked that actress and her character. And more Alexis Denisof (Wesley from Buffy/Angel)! He plays a senator who is investigating the Rossum corporation. I heart him.
I have mixed feelings about Echo’s imprint of a mother. The man who hired the Dollhouse wanted someone who would love his son because he couldn’t. He considered adoption but ended up deciding to “hire” a mother. To me, this was basically saying that adoptive parents can never love a child as much as biological parents. From someone who is seriously considering adoption as a possible future way of having children (it’s all still up in the air), that hurts. I imagine it would hurt more for someone who is an adoptive parent. If the man didn’t think he could care as much for his baby as someone else, adoption would have been a great option rather than making someone the baby’s mother and then taking the baby away causing deep pain and suffering.
I tend to like episodes more than focus on inter-Dollhouse relations and politics rather than engagements. But this engagement particularly rubbed me the wrong way for the reasons above. I enjoyed seeing November again and there were some awkward moments between her and Ballard. But this episode was pretty much all about an engagement.
Also, what does it mean for the Dollhouse and the themes of the show if they are now capable of altering people on a “glandular level”? Now it’s not only that they are erasing people’s personalities/souls/personhood/etc., but they can now change the makeup of people’s bodies.
As a side note: I just have to say that when I watch TV shows, I often think about if the characters are real people, which ones I would be friends with. In the case of Dollhouse, I think it would Topher. He might have some moral “gray areas,” but he’s awkward and nerdy and amazing in other ways.
Also make sure to check out meloukia’s review up at this ain’t livin’.
This part of our zine focused on societal views in the United States concerning breasts. Because this was created in zine form, this section is informational and focuses on the development of breasts through stages in life and our relationship with our breasts and the breasts of others. The stages that are highlighted are adolescence, womanhood, motherhood, and aging. I’m going to try to organize this the best that I can for a post because the layout for the zine is so great but different from the layout of blog posts.
Several breast growth patterns can be troubling to the adolescent and her family. Among these are :
- Unusually early breast development
- Unusually delayed breast development
- Unusually large breasts
- Unusually small breasts
Breast development normally begins about one year before the menstrual period begins. The development takes several years .
- In the first stage (during childhood) the breasts are flat.
- Next is the breast bud stage. In it, the nipple and breast are slightly raised as milk ducts and the fat tissue begin to form. Also, the areola begins to enlarge.
- Then the breast starts to get bigger. Often this happens initially in a conical shape, and later on in a rounder shape. The areola begins to darken.
Statistics show that by age 13, 53% of adolescent girls have self-image issues about their breasts, and by age 17, 78% of girls are considered unsatisfied with their bodies .
The following are questions about breast development from teenage girls :
- “Puberty seems like it is working except it is skipping the breast stage! Will my breasts get bigger and how much longer do I have until they stop growing?”
- “Hi. I am 15 years old. My breasts have started grwoing but not like my other friends. Can you please give me a solution to make them bigger.”
- “I am 16 years old and one of my breasts is larger than the other one. Is this normal?”
- “I’m 13 and in my school girls have big breasts and it seems that I’m the only one flat-chested.”
As you can see, teen girls have self-image issues related to their breasts. The media doesn’t really help this by showing girls and women who have so-called “perfect” breasts. But everyone’s development process is different and there is no “normal” breast development.
All of the names for breasts : apples, balloons, bazongas, bazooms, bean bags, blouse bunnies, boobies, boobs, bumpers, butterbags, gazongas, globes, grapefruits, handful, honkers, hooters, jaboos, jugs, jumbos, kazongas, knockers, lactoids, love bubbles, mangoes, melons, milk cans, mounds, niblets, nippers, nubbies, orbs, peepers, pillows, sandbags, snuggle pups, sweater meat, tits, torpedoes, upper deck, yabbos, zeppelins.
Types of breast aesthetic surgeries :
- breast augmentation
- silicone breast implants
- breast lift
- breast reduction
- breast reconstruction
The average age in America for female breast implantation is 26 .
- 2004: 264,041 breast augmentations
- 2005: 291,350 breast augmentations
- 2006: 315, 616 breast augmentations
- 2007: 332,880 breast augmentations
- 2008: 355,671 breast augmentations
Women obviously don’t have a healthy relationship with the breasts if so many women are opting to have breast augmentation surgery.
“Scienctists now believe that the primary biological function of breasts is to make men stupid.” – Dave Barry, comedian 
A 2004 study of Google searches showed that the Janet Jackson Super Bowl nipple incident received 25 times more searches than the Mars Rover, and 4 times more searches than the 2000 election . Way to go, Janet! Americans agree that your breasts are better to look at than Al Gore’s!
See a map showing current public breastfeeding laws in the U.S. here.
In our world, “the sexual aspects of women and the maternal aspects of women are expected to be independent of each other…breasts are a scandal because they shatter the border between motherhood and sexuality.” – Cindy A. Stearns, author of “Breastfeeding and the Good Maternal Body” 
Does level of education affect whether or not a woman breastfeeds? Studies show that “over 70% of college graduates breastfeed, less than 15% of women with no high school breastfeed.” – Stearns 
Good news for all you mothers out there! Nursing mothers are exempt from jury duty in more than 10 states and the number keeps on rising .
The breasts lose support. Aging breasts commonly flatten and sag, and the nipple may invert slightly. The areola (the area surrounding the nipple) becomes smaller and may nearly disappear. Loss of hair around the nipple is common .
There are some interviews from aging women about their relationship with their breasts. They were interviewed in Breasts :
- “Everything for young people today is different. We were taught not to touch or expose ourselves…so I think there is a big different in how one feels about her boob.” – Lucille, age 76
- “This is the way it is and I have to cope with each age as it comes along. I wouldn’t want to change my breasts or my age back.” – Evelyn, age 75
- Begin by looking at your breasts in a mirror with your hands on your hips. Look for any bulging, redness, or general changes.
- Then, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
- Feel your breasts while you are standing up, using a circular motion with your finger pads – make sure to cover the whole breast – feeling each breast one at a time.
- Next, feel your breasts while lying down, covering the entirety of both breasts – begin at the nipple and move outward in larger and larger circles 0 from the armpit and in to the cleavage. Feel for lumps and irregularities.
We felt that being informed about breast development and breast health is one of the steps in a health relationship with your breasts and the breasts of others. In the zine, we did not discuss how society and the media can affect one’s relationship with their breasts and the breasts of others, but we did talk about this in the presentation. Society and the media can great affect the self-esteem of women, as has been discussed for a long time, and that does not exclude affecting women’s relationship with their breasts. Society and the media give women unrealistic expectation that there is a “normal” breast development, size, shape, etc.
Much of this section of the zine focused on pictures, maps, and charts. I tried to include some of them, but I could not find all of them. I was not the person in the group that created these pages so I was not sure where all of the pictures, maps, and charts came from.
 Disease Health Information: http://www.lpch.org
 Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls. New York: Random House Publishers, 1997.
 Brown, Mary D. “Breasts and Self-Image: Adolescence.” http://www.suite101.com
 Breast Names: http://www.chainletters.net
 American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: http://www.surgery.org
 Google search study, 2004.
 Stearns, Cindy A. “Breastfeeding and the Good Maternal Body.” Gender and Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, (June 1999).
 See #11
 Spandola, Meema. Breasts. Berkeley: Wildcat Canyon Press, 1998.
Has anyone else seen Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family? I first got hooked on this show last summer while working at a camp. The teenage girls would sit in the lounge and watch this, so I started watching it with them.
In case you are unfamiliar, here is the basic plot. Amy is a 15 year old girl who gets pregnant at band camp (yes, that one time at band camp). She’s surprised she’s pregnant because she didn’t even know she was having sex until after it happened (abstinence-only at work?). She’s not interested in dating the father, Ricky, and instead starts dating good guy Ben (who wants to marry her). Ricky is involved (as in they have sex but aren’t really in a relationship) with Adrian, who befriends Grace, the resident Christian virgin, who is dating Jack. Grace and Jack get into many disagreements about having sex. Amy’s parents are getting divorced. So, that’s a very broad overview. There’s obviously a lot more that goes on, but I think this overview should help you understand this post and the problems that I have with the show a little better.
This is by no means a good show. I have a problem of getting weirdly addicted to bad television, which is why I watch this show, as bad as it is. And just because I watch it doesn’t mean that I don’t have problems with it. When I started watching it with those teenage girls at summer camp, I asked them why they liked it so much. Their response: “It’s so realistic!” Whoa there!
Now, into the second season of Secret Life, Amy has had the baby (John), her mom is pregnant (and it’s unclear if it’s her husband’s or her boyfriend’s), Grace and Jack have had sex, Grace’s dad died and she thinks it’s because she had sex (don’t even get me started on that one!), Ricky is becoming responsible, and Ben is still dying to have sex.
While I think it is great that ABC Family has a show about teen pregnancy, it is not a realistic representation of this situation for a lot of people. In the most recent episode that aired on Monday, July 20, Amy (who has by now had her baby, John) complains to her mom about not being able to go to Italy with her boyfriend, Ben, for the summer. She claims that she is an adult now solely because she has a baby and can make decisions for herself. Mind you, she is still 15 (almost 16), does not have a passport, wants to go without her baby but doesn’t have anyone she trusts (she wants her mom to do it) to watch the baby. A. What 15 year olds parents are going to let them go to Italy for the summer with her boyfriend who is going to stay with family and B. I bet a lot of single, teen parents wish their biggest problem was not being able to go to Italy for the summer.
When the teen girls told me they liked the show because it was so realistic, I asked them how many of their friends or people they knew were pregnant and had boyfriends who they were dating for a month who have pledged their love and desperately wanted to marry them (to the point of trying to get fake ids to elope)? Their answer: none. So, how is this realistic? While I’m sure this is the reality for some people out there, I really think that this show is romanticizing teen pregnancy.
When you look at the differences between Secret Life and something like 16 and Pregnant on MTV, you can plainly see the romanticization that happens in Secret Life. In 16 and Pregnant, the struggles of the teens are very clear (even though I wish they would show a little more of after the baby was born, maybe they’ll go back to the same teens in a later episode…). Some of them deal with absent fathers, economic struggles, non-supportive or controlling parents, and social ostracism.
While Secret Life does show some struggles that Amy goes through, recently she just seems to be concerned with her social life and John, her baby, falls through the cracks, at least in her mind. Amy is just coming off, at least to me, as whiny and ungrateful. Her parents, especially her mother, are supporting her immensely through this and trying to help her take responsibility, but she won’t have any of it. In the first season she was mad because she didn’t want to give the baby up for adoption (which is completely reasonable) but was expecting her mother to provide free day care while she went on with life as normal. In the second season, she is heartbroken that she can’t go to Grace’s dad’s funeral because she can’t find a babysitting not because she wants to honor and say goodbye to her father, but because everyone else is going to be there. Seriously?
I don’t mean to negate any experiences that teen parents might go through, even those similar to what happens on Secret Life. Maybe I have no place saying any of this because I was not a teen parent. But just because I wasn’t a teen parent, doesn’t mean I can’t at least have an opinion about the show. Has anyone else seen this show? What do you think about it?
I am 22 years old. I have a long time before I, personally, will ever think realistically about having a baby. And right now, I don’t know if I ever really want one. I know that this gives me a certain amount of privilege and bias. And these are my fears and feelings right now, when I am not mentally, emotionally, financially, etc. able to support a pregnancy and child, who knows what they will be when I get to the point in my life when I would consider having a child.
My aversion to bearing children has many roots. There is the fear of pregnancy itself. While I think it is realistic to say that I have had this fear since high school, it became very prominent in college during my anthropology class. In this class, my professor talked a lot about fetuses as parasites, which, while very extreme, really stuck with me. Of course, she had her own opinions about pregnancy, which were obviously very negative, but what she had to say about it really influenced me and spoke to me.
Then comes my fear of bringing another child into this world when a) the world is so messed up, b) there are so many children that already need loving homes, and c) I just don’t know if I want to be a mother. Let’s start with c. Right now, I don’t know if I want to be responsible for another human being. I know that I might change my mind about being a mother as I get older or enter into a serious relationship, but right now, I can’t really picture it.
Now, on to a. There are so many things wrong with the world right now, I don’t want to be responsible for bringing a child into that. But one thing that I never really thought about, as the F Bomb pointed out, not having children can have benefits for the environment. Cameron Diaz has declared herself a “non-breeder” for the environment. This post points out, “one U.S. person is equal to 20 tons of CO2 per year and 24 acres of productive land.” So not having children can really be considered an environmental act. So, just one more reason for me to be a “non-breeder” as well.
And now, finally to b. I think, when it comes time for me to think about children, that I will seriously consider adoption. There are many children in this country and around the world that need loving and supportive homes. This one is fairly simple. Adoption is a great alternative to bearing children.
And that brings us to society’s perception of “non-breeder.” As the Huffington Posts’ article about Cameron Diaz’ non-breeder status points out, while there is progress being made, people still think there is something wrong with people who consciously decide to be non-breeders.
While there was plenty of support for non-breeders, there were the inevitable comments like “isn’t [it] natural for women to have children?” and “as women we are or should be born with a natural instinct to have children”…
…It’s a shame, for both our planet and reluctant potential parents, that too many people still see having children as something we all should do, or should at least want. When UK journalist Polly Vernon wrote an editorial about not wanting kids, she discovered that “voluntary childlessness is an unacceptable crime to cop to” and she was “denounced as bitter, selfish, un-sisterly, unnatural, evil”…
…Recent research shows that a childless status could even hurt the careers of childless women. Lancaster University professor Dr. Caroline Gatrell found that some employers see female staff who don’t want children as lacking “essential humanity”.
Throughout the article, there are many examples of the prejudice against non-breeders. Because I am only 22, I have not run into this prejudice too much, but I anticipate it. Even without a lot of this prejudice, I still feel like sometimes I am missing the “mom gene.” But I guess I’ll just have to get used to that.
*Note: In no way am I diminishing that amazing-ness of mothers. I think mothers take a lot of crap from society and from fellow feminists, which is not cool. Everyone has a mother and wouldn’t be where they are now without their mother’s influence (or lack of influence). Because I do not have children, it is not my place to talk of what mothers go through, because I do not know. This post is simply about my opinions about my body, my life, and my decision to have or not have children. In no way am I saying how other people should or should not feel about their decisions about child bearing.
Bitch was the first that I saw that commented on this cover. Mandy Van Deven at Bitch was not pleased that Ms. appropriated Hindu religious iconography, especially when they didn’t seem to do their research…
The multiple arms on a god or goddess represent their strength and ability to multitask, and the multi-armed representation is not one that is appropriate for a human form, as the pose is intended to convey that these abilities are super-human. Another question that begs to be answered is which god or goddess is this woman supposed to be depicting? The number of arms in this cover (8) is quite uncommon. This seems to demonstrate a lack of knowledge on the part of the cover designer about depictions of and difference among Hindu deities, as well as confirms this use for solely aesthetic purposes.
It is a shame that a) Ms. didn’t do their research to at least appropriately represent a Hindu god or goddess and b) that the appropriation of South Asian religious imagery is so common in the United States today.
Choices Campus Blog then responded to this article on Bitch. Laura at Choices Campus Blog defends the Ms. cover saying…
In fact, the cover reads “Mom 2.0: She Blogs, She Tweets, She Rises up!” There is no indication of religion, but instead Ms. is trying to point out the many responsibilities that the modern woman (or mother) has, between balancing a typical “mom” with a career.
Laura even shows how this recent cover is a remake of a Ms. cover from 1972.
While I don’t know that showing that it is a remake of a previous cover shows that it isn’t an appropriation of Hindu imagery and isn’t offensive, I do think it is important to look at both sides of the responses to this cover.
Bitch blog then had another post about the cover from Veronica I. Arreola, again defending the Ms. cover.
the image of a multi-armed woman in relation to motherhood is most likely as old as motherhood itself. I imagine this is why women papoosed or slung their infants to them as they worked the fields. As some in the comments of Mandy’s post pointed out, their own mothers use to say “I wish I had another set of arms!” or “I don’t have 8 arms missy!”
For Arreola, this imagery is appropriate for the multitude of tasks that mothers have to handle. Not being a mother myself, I can only imagine the demands that mother’s have one them. But I don’t think that using Hindu imagery is necessarily the most appropriate way to represent this, as Arreola does.
Afer Arreola’s post at Bitch, RMJ at Deeply Problematic decided to join the conversations. She saw Arreola’s response as lazy and even more offensive for trying to portray the Ms. cover as an octopus.
Just because something is commonly seen in popular culture does not make it an okay reference to reify. No, not even if you’re doing it to support moms. Come on. Privilege blinds, and appropriation in imagery and language is not okay if you’re on our side…
…Women can be shown to multitask with hydra heads, or with blurred hands doing many things, or… I don’t know, something. There’s no need to mock and appropriate the imagery of a religion that millions of people currently practice.
So far, I have been trying to show how others have been discussing the matter of this cover. But now it’s time for me the throw in my two cents…
This cover shows the lack of cultural sensitivity in the United States. Seeing as how people defend the cover as an appropriate representation of multitasking, oppression of religions other than certain forms of Christianity is still (obviously) a problem in the United States. Using Hindu imagery shows that people do not view Hinduism as a “legitimate” religion, instead mocking or mimicking Hindu deities for the purposes of selling magazines.
I was shocked to see this on the cover of Ms. I love Ms. and I’m sure that all of the content of this issue is outstanding, as usual. But I was surprised that Ms. fell into this trend of appropriation of cultural and religious imagery at the expense of an oppressed population. So, ultimately, I agree with what Van Deven at Bitch and RMJ at Deeply Problematic had to say about this cover. It is a gross way of representing mothers by oppressing Hindus. Like RMJ said, there are many other ways to show all of the demands placed on mothers in today’s society.
From the Huffington Post comes an article about international women calling on the G8 to “make their mothers proud” and support maternal health. Their strategy to gain awareness the day before the G8: full page advertisements in the G8 countries picturing the G8 leaders and their mothers.
The women involved in this campaign are Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Emma Thompson, Gweneth Paltrow, Yoko Ono, Wendi Murdoch, Christiane Amanpour, Annie Lennox, and JK Rowling. The Huffington Post article has some great quotes from these women about why maternal health is such an important cause.
Yoko Ono said:
“Families, communities, and whole societies, are built on the mother-child relationship. There are simple actions that G8 leaders can take to support this most vital human bond, with massive benefit across the world.”
Gwyneth Paltrow said:
“It is one of the great scandals facing our generation. While we are worrying about rising taxes, there are women dying in childbirth for the lack of a sutre-stitching kit which costs a couple of pounds. It’s simply no longer acceptable that we ignore this disgrace.”
Maternal mortality has been ignored for too long by the world’s leaders. Many countries and organizations pledge to make strides in decreasing maternal mortality, but little improvement is being seen.
In Japan in 2008 G8 leaders did pledge to fill the gap in funding for 4 million health workers. However mechanisms and funding to support this promise have not yet been developed, which has meant that since the last G8 536,000 mothers who could have lived, have died (according to WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF/World Bank)…
…Millennium Development Goal 5 is the goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015. Yet it is the most neglected of all the MDGs, with no reduction in deaths for 20 years.
I think it is wonderful that these women are taking the initiative to urge the G8 to remedy this situation. The sad reality of the world today is that it sometimes takes a push from famous, powerful people for these kinds of issues to be addressed by governments and organizations. With the G8 Summit just around the corner, it is even more important to do whatever we can to show that maternal mortality is a big deal.