Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘motherhood

Happy Thursday everyone!  You wouldn’t know it by looking at this blog, but I have actually had a pretty productive last three days, so that makes me pretty happy, even if I’m not where I would like to be with these grad school applications.  Here are some of my favorite posts from the past couple days.  Don’t forget to leave links that what you have been writing and reading in the comments!

Disney characters: not great role models [Equal Writes] – is this a surprise to anyone?  What I like about this post is that it also looks at the examples that the male characters are setting as well as the female characters.

Privilege conceals itself from those who possess it: of feminist epistemology, marriage, and “standpoint theory.” [Hugo Schwyzer] – this is just a great post, you should read it.

Disability and Loss [Womanist Musings] – Renee looks at how her disability has created some senses of loss in her life.

Violence Against Women and Girls Surges on TV [Women & Hollywood] – there is an alarming rate of the depicition of violence against women on television lately…what does this mean for our society?

Sorry that I have been majorly slacking this week.  Hopefully I will be getting myself turned around and back into the swing of blogging.

As always, these are some of my favorite posts from the past couple days as well as some of my weekly favorites that were already featured in Tuesday and Thursday‘s link love.  Don’t forget to leave links to what you have been writing/reading this week in the comments!!

New link love

meloukhia and Ashley have both written some great posts on breast cancer and the awareness month associated with it.

Rape is a Feminist Issue [Women & Hollywood] – let’s not forget that!

The Muppets and Street Harassment [The Undomestic Goddess] – let’s take a look at some childhood favorites!

Activist Modus Operandi: Methods of Communication [Genderbitch] – looking at activism for marginalized groups of people.

Weekly link love

Why Inclusionary Language Matters [this ain’t livin’] – when discussing feminism, it’s also important to talk about racism, classism, ableism, transphobia, and all the other -isms.

The Fifth Carnival of Feminists is up at Zero at the Bone — and I’m featured!

What if you don’t want a bundle of joy let alone a man to call your own? [Professor What If…?] – babies and hetero relationships are not a choice but a cultural imperative.

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.

3d726397b182fdf773f2a797118e3c75On 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’.

Sorry I have been kind of slacking on my weekly features this week.  The change in weather towards the chillier has made me feel like hibernating.  Hopefully I will be back in full (or at least more) force next week.  But to keep you up to date, here are some of my favorite posts over the past couple days.  As always, don’t forget to leave links to what you have been writing/reading!

The Fifth Carnival of Feminists is up at Zero at the Bone — and I’m featured!

Keep your “boyfriend jeans” away from my four year old [Feministing] – what gendered clothing and applying relationship norms to clothing means for children.

Today marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Many blogs have written some great pieces and interesting facts in honor.

What if you don’t want a bundle of joy let along a man to call your own? [Professor What If…?] – babies and hetero relationships are not a choice but a cultural imperative.

Books: Sexism in America [The Undomestic Goddess] – a great book review and look at a talk by the author.

I hope you all have had a great week!  I’ve finally started a somewhat regular work schedule, as some of you may know.  Because of this, I am asking for guest/cross posts from my readers!  Once I get used to my work schedule, I will probably be back to posting more regularly.  Right now, the weekly features should not suffer, it’s mainly the number of posts.  But I am trying to have at least one post a day outside of weekly features, but we’ll see if I can keep that up.

As always, check out the link love from Tuesday and Thursday.  This post features some of my favorite posts from the past couple days as well as some of my favorite posts of the week that were already featured in link love this week.

New link love:

What’s a Little Nudity Between Friends: Racism in the Fashion World [Womanist Musings] – by examining a specific photospread featuring a white woman and a Black woman, Renee looks at the fetishization of Black women’s bodies by the fashion world and society.

A Response to “Lady Mags” – Love Them, Flaws and All, or Leave Them? [The Other Side of the Apple] – this is a new blog that I recommend you all check out!  This post looks at what “lady mags” have to offer, both positives and negatives.

Feminism 101: On Anger [Shakesville] – anger is a pretty rational thing for a subjugated person.

Get Your Agenda Off My Body [Recursive Paradox] – required reading for cis feminists and womanists on activist based transphobia.

Want to be a hipster girlfriend? Look like a child. [Swimsuit Issue] – American Apparel’s advertisements set unrealistic expectations for women.

Weekly Link Love:

Straight Girls: Your Pretend Facebook Relationships Are Not Funny or Cute [Pieces of String] – straight girls in relationships on Facebook add to the erasure of lesbian relationships.

Feminism and Joss Whedon: Time To Talk About the Boys [this ain’t livin’] – I’m pretty much obsessed with meloukhia’s “Feminism and Joss Whedon” series. This installment looks at the portrayal of male Actives in Dollhouse.

Raising a Feminist/Raised a Feminist: A Mother’s and Daughter’s Perspective [Feministing] – a post from a mother and a daughter on raising and being raised a feminist.

Language: why “retarded” and “lame” are not okay [Deeply Problematic] – this is a cross post from Phira featured on Deeply Problematic about the problematic nature of language.

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.

Adolescence

Several breast growth patterns can be troubling to the adolescent and her family. Among these are [1]:

  • Unusually early breast development
  • Unusually delayed breast development
  • Unusually large breasts
  • Unusually small breasts

But, is anything “normal” in breast development? Our society makes it seem so, but in reality, breasts grow at very different rates and develop to have very different shapes and sizes.

Breast development normally begins about one year before the menstrual period begins. The development takes several years [2].

  • 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 [3].

The following are questions about breast development from teenage girls [4]:

  • “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.

Womanhood

All of the names for breasts [5]: 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 [6]:

  • breast augmentation
  • silicone breast implants
  • breast lift
  • breast reduction
  • breast reconstruction

The average age in America for female breast implantation is 26 [7].

Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery release in March 2009 [8]:

  • 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 [9]

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 [10]. Way to go, Janet! Americans agree that your breasts are better to look at than Al Gore’s!

Motherhood

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” [11]

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 [12]

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 [13].

Aging

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 [14].

There are some interviews from aging women about their relationship with their breasts. They were interviewed in Breasts [15]:

  • “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

Breast Self-Exams are extremely important and should be performed at least once a month in order to detect any changes or irregulaities [16]. Here are some simple steps for a breast self-exam:

  1. Begin by looking at your breasts in a mirror with your hands on your hips. Look for any bulging, redness, or general changes.
  2. Then, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

******************
Works Cited
[1] Disease Health Information: http://www.lpch.org
[2] http://www.lpch.org
[3] Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls. New York: Random House Publishers, 1997.
[4] Brown, Mary D. “Breasts and Self-Image: Adolescence.” http://www.suite101.com
[5] Breast Names: http://www.chainletters.net
[6] http://www.breastimplantinfo.org
[7] http://www.lookingyourbest.com
[8] American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: http://www.surgery.org
[9] http://www.quotesdaddy.com
[10] Google search study, 2004.
[11] Stearns, Cindy A. “Breastfeeding and the Good Maternal Body.” Gender and Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, (June 1999).
[12] See #11
[13] http://www.ncsl.org
[14] http://www.healthscout.com
[15] Spandola, Meema. Breasts. Berkeley: Wildcat Canyon Press, 1998.
[16] http://www.breastcancer.org


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?


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