Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Target Sucks, But Doesn't Want Babies To.

Target employees called the police on a mother who had the audacity to nurse her child in one of their stores. If you'd like to contact Target, do it. Here's my letter:

I just read the report of Target's harassment of a woman nursing her child in one of its stores and I am disgusted.

Of course, we all know that, like WalMart, Target makes the big bucks on the backs of its employees by failing to pay them living wages and thwarting their attempts to organize a union, and by marketing and selling offensive products to girls and young women. And now, you're going after the mothers too, which is alarming since I'm going to guess that mothers are one of your largest customer groups.

Moreover, your corporate policy "respecting" mothers' rights to breastfeed in your stores is a joke*:

1. We'll take your teeny tiny dressing rooms for nursing if we feel like it, but we'll also nurse our babies any goddamned place we please because feeding one's child is a parent's right and responsibility

2. You need to remove the word "discreet" from this policy. I do not need to be told to cover my breasts when I'm nursing my child while you're selling Strip-Tease Barbie in the "Girl's Aisle." I will feed my child any damned way I want, and if you want to call the police, knock yourself out. But I think you'll be seeing a few more suckling babies in your stores and I doubt their mamas will be buying anything.

As someone who shops at Target fairly regularly, someone who is a mother and a (shock. gasp) breastfeeding mother at that, this incident will absolutely impact my shopping choices. Maybe it'll be a bit out of my way to get my Advil at the local pharmacy instead of Target, but I've also nursed my child there and no one called the police.

*"For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. In addition, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Number 19

God bless the Duggars.

Michelle and Jim-Bob did it again and by it, I mean, they hath laid in thy marital bed . . . Well, you get the idea. They're expecting Baby Number 19!

Number 19 will be preceded into Earthly Existence by her/his niece by several months as the oldest Duggar child, Josh, and his wife are expecting a baby girl next month.

While it's true I am going to watch this jesusy train wreck with the giddiness of a school-girl on speed, it also makes me wish I were about ten years younger and possessed an iron uterus. Then, perhaps, I could pump out 15 to 20 little Feminists to defeat the Duggar clan because, in my mind, this is sort of like Season 7 of Buffy and - if you know anything about me or the important facebook quizzes I take, you'll know I'm Buffy and the Duggars are totally The First! But in a fun-loving, sing-along kind of way.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Naturally, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it better than I in a recent New York Times interview:

Q: Since we are talking about abortion, I want to ask you about Gonzales v. Carhart, the case in which the court upheld a law banning so-called partial-birth abortion. Justice Kennedy in his opinion for the majority characterized women as regretting the choice to have an abortion, and then talked about how they need to be shielded from knowing the specifics of what they’d done. You wrote, “This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution.” I wondered if this was an example of the court not quite making the turn to seeing women as fully autonomous.

JUSTICE GINSBURG: The poor little woman, to regret the choice that she made. Unfortunately there is something of that in Roe. It’s not about the women alone. It’s the women in consultation with her doctor. So the view you get is the tall doctor and the little woman who needs him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

"A Woman and Her Doctor"

A Woman and her doctor . . .

Sadly, this is not the beginning of a dirty joke. (Actually, it depends on how you look at it).

Instead, it's the refrain from kinda-pro-choice folks when they're kinda standing up for a woman's right to abortion. You've heard it before. Barack Obama has said it. Hillary Clinton has said it. God, every Democrat ever to run for office with a semi-pro-choice record has said it. Here's how it usually comes up:

Interviewer: Do you believe in abortion rights?

Pol: As you know, Lou (it's always Lou or Leslie or Bob or Steve or something appropriately Midwestern), this is a very divisive issue. There are passionate people on both sides of the abortion debate - people who care deeply about their country and their God and protecting freedom-

Interviewer: But do you believe in a woman's right to abortion?

Pol: [after much hemming and hawing]I believe that this decision - the most difficult decision a woman will ever make in her life - ought to be left to the woman and her doctor.

And there it is! The phrase that has twisted up my insides like six sheets in the spin cycle. And I think to understand why, we need to break it down a little.

Let's take "Doctor." What's the first image that springs to your mind? For many people, I'd guess it's a kindly, greying man wearing a white lab coat. Look at popular representations of physicians: they're nearly always male. Listen to the voiceover on any pharmaceutical commercial: "Ask your doctor if he thinks Deherpesol is right for you." Dude again. So I'd argue that when politicians and their ilk say "doctor," they think - they mean to say - man.

In a 2007 primary debate, Barack Obama said, "I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don’t make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy." Yep, he took it even a step further. He took the doctor and raised it a family and a clergy.

First of all, why is abortion a decision that requires a doctor's consultation (i.e., approval) in a way that other procedures don't? Of course it's a medical procedure, and you need a doctor to perform it. But we rarely hear about the need for women to consult with their doctors before getting pregnant, a condition which puts significantly more strain on a woman's body than an abortion. We never hear women being warned to run it by Mom and Dad and Aunt Mary and her Rabbi before she pops a Benadryl. And there is virtually no discussion about men having a heart-to-heart with Doc - or Father O'Pederast - before having a minor, elective surgery. It's clear that need for professional, male consent to a woman's medical decision is due entirely to the fact that women's capacity to make decisions about their own bodies is not recognized or valued.

While suggesting that a woman flip through her Rolodex to make sure that everyone in her life is on board with her personal medical decision, another thing that everyone, including Obama in the quote above, loves to say about deciding to have an abortion is that it's never casual, that it's always hard, gut-wrenching, a decision that changes a woman's life. Except, of course, that sometimes it isn't. No one likes to talk about the uncomfortable reality that many women have abortions and then do no spend their remaining years castigating themselves or lighting birthday candles on their due date. That's not to say that many women don't struggle with the decision or spend years questioning whether they did the right thing. But the doubt and uncertainty doesn't make that woman better than the woman who doesn't have either.

I'd say it's time for politicians to stop saying they're comfortable with the decisions "women and their doctors" make, or that women need to take a poll and a swig of Holy Water before making a medical choice, or demanding that women have a super, really, no-joke hard time choosing abortion. In fact, I think it's time they shut up altogether, except when they're voting "Aye" to protect women's reproductive freedom.

Next up: How I feel about "Pro-Child, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice"

Here's a hint: It pisses me off.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I guess this isn't my usual post because I'm not really angry.

Okay, that's not true. I'm always angry about something. Like Lynne Cheney on the "Today Show" pimping heart defibrillators (yes, I do see the irony). Or the fact that Obama won't quit acting like a weak and pathetic Democrat, and push through some real, down and dirty socialized healthcare plan already. Or the idea that millions of kids are going to spend the summer slurping corn syrup-laced "sports" drinks and eating soy and corn syrupy snacks, more commonly known as Doritos. And Oreos. And Fruit Roll-Ups. And Cheeze-Its. And if they do actually eat a piece of fruit, it probably comes from another country, used up a whole bunch o'carbon to get to their lunch bag, and is so juiced with pesticides that it turns their little innards neon green.

But now I'm going to focus on the positive, which is, as always, my baby!

My baby turned two yesterday. I can't actually believe it. It seems like yesterday when my midwife told me I'd need a cesarean . . . when Ruby's daddy and I hit up Tasty Top for a little soft serve the night before she was born . . . when I was so delirious with sleep deprivation that I thought I'd never function as a mama.

But now my tiny baby is a big, bad two-year-old! ("Bad" in the Michael Jackson sense . . . well, not the current Michael Jackson. The old one. Pre-whitening cream and indictments).

Yesterday, we took Ruby to a butterfly museum (or as I like to call it, "The Most Depressing Place on Earth") and she chased around these little quail, exclaiming so sincerely, "I want her! I want her!"

There was a fish pond full of koi, or as Ruby liked to call them, "The biggest fish I ever seen!"

A huge butterfly landed on her dad's hand and Ruby was more impressed with the butterfly admission stamp underneath the real live thing. What? She's unpredictable.

Over the weekend, we had a couple of people over for her birthday and when I was cleaning up, she ran up behind me, grasped both of my legs in a tight hug and said, "Thank you so much for the presents, Mama."

I am the luckiest mama. I have the sweetest girl!

I'm welling up. I'm always welling up.

I LOVE YOU BABY! Happy 2nd Birthday and many, many, many (at least 100) more!

love, Mama xoxoxo

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Is it just me or do bad things seem to come in eights these days? TheOcto-Mom controversy, the latest "Jon & Kate + 8" tabloid crazy, and of course, Prop-effing-8!

I think it goes without saying that the California Supreme Court decision to uphold Proposition 8 was a bad judicial decision and, more than that, codified discrimination in the state constitution.

But the Right is always so much better than the Left on spin. Less and less do we hear about "protecting traditional marriage" and more and more, anti-equal marriage activists proclaim that the will of the people - that is, the people who voted to invalidate gay marriage - must be affirmed. In other words, Californians voted last year to amend the constitution to redefine marriage as the union between one dude and one broad and deny gay couples the right to marry, and the act of voting is sacred (see the way conservatives have framed the EFCA debate), so it must be upheld.

Yet very few people on the Left have pointed out that the people who voted yes on Prop 8 are homophobic idiots. Instead there are claims that the Mormon Church and conservatives ran such a well-funded and rabid campaign that the poor, foolish voters of California fell into their trap. Puuuuhhlease. There are lots of victims out there, but the Left loves to fetishize victimhood and turn adults who make dumb, bad, racist, homophobic, sexist decisions into pawns in a game played by two opposing political positions. Of course, to some extent, it's true. Big money and advertising work on voters (because so many voters are dumb) and the Yes on 8 campaign worked on many California voters (because so many voters are dumb and homophobic). But perhaps the No on 8 campaign would have been more successful had it raised more money and done better organizing. Just a thought.

And when did the concept and act of voting become so process-focused and detached from the results? I've never understood this position. Voting in and of itself is not good. When voters do bad things, like invalidate a minority group's (icky phrase. sorry) rights, that's not democratic action. It's just the opposite. When I see some old guy at the polls wearing an "I Voted!" sticker and carrying a handmade sign of a fetus kissing Jesus and holding a rosary or something, I don't think, "What a wonderful world full of diverse opinion! America is a rainbow!" I think, if only someone had knocked this guy down and broken his hip on the way to the polls, we'd all be better off.

So listen up you brilliant Californians: the next time gay marriage is on the ballot, it's your duty to knock over a few homophobes on the way to the polls!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Parenting Advice, Complete with the Barnes & Noble Guarantee

My baby is turning two next month and it's getting time to wean. I'm not ready to put breastfeeding in the past because of some arbitrary deadline, but because there's nothing like a semi-sleeping baby kneading your belly fat to make you want to take up binge drinking! In short, it's getting annoying. Not always, but sometimes. And the nursing can go on for hours, especially at night or early in the morning. She's not sleeping very well, I'm not sleeping very well, and when I do, visions of bras without snap-openings are dancing in my head.

So it's time to start the ball rolling in the direction of weaning.

But the thing is, despite my utter failure to nurse my baby into early adolescence (see Norma Jane Bumgarner's Mothering Your Nursing Toddler if you want to know how having a career and weaning your baby are the surest ways to leave her feeling neglected), I want to be very careful not to make her feel rejected or abandoned. I'm not going to start shouting at her to be a "big girl" or that nursing is for babies. I'm not going to hang a "Closed for Business" sign over my chest and let her cry it out. So, as with other things, I thought it would be useful to get a book about weaning geared to children her age to help her understand the concept.

Like this one for bottle-fed babies:

Thing is, finding a weaning book for toddlers is next to impossible. So when we were near a Barnes & Noble on Friday, I thought, why not check. And while FD & Ruby were reading books, I asked a salesperson in the kids' book section about such a book. After a few minutes of perusing the shelves and checking the computer, she told me they didn't have anything in stock.

Then she told me this:

"I think that once a child can go outside and play and then come in and ask for it [nursing], they're ready to stop."


Unsolicited parenting advice from bottle-feeding, anti-sling, pro-cry-it-out, anti-feminist, pro-yelling parents generally pisses me off, but when a broad at a bookstore tells me to quit nursing my kid, I see red (and not just the lipstick on her teeth).

Unfortunately, there's not a great ending to this story. I didn't pull some sweet Billy Blank Tae Bo moves on her, or give her a verbal dressing down. I didn't talk to her supervisor (blasted union background!) or even reply with the classic, "Old bag!" Instead, I think I breathed out a long "Uhhhhhhhhhh . . . yeah . . . ?"

Then she told me how, when she had her son many moons ago, she couldn't nurse him because she had no milk and he was "just fine!" Part of me thought she was making stuff up (and that her kid probably had a limp and a tick at least!), but the other part of me felt badly for her, and decided that maybe the reason she thought it was appropriate to suggest my kid's too old to wean is because she never had the chance to nurse her own baby, which I imagine is rather difficult if it's something a woman wants to do.

In other words, maybe this woman's lack of choices made her feel powerless and the only way she can deal with that powerlessness is to criticize other women's choices.

Fine, I'm a little bit of a sucker. But now I feel prepared for the next time someone decides to give me BS tips on raising my baby. I just have to practice: Old bag!