25.4.12

Things I'm Not Cool Enough to Love

I just don't get it.

There are these things that EVERYONE loves. And it's kinda like that thing that EVERYONE knew back in Elementary School where you pretended to know it too and would totally play along but were always afraid of getting caught as being THE ONE PERSON who doesn't really understand it.

And I'm sick of lying and worrying about getting caught. It's just too much stress everytime I open FB or Twitter and see these posts. I mean, I HAVE to respond, right? Cause if I don't, people might realise that I have NO FRIGGING CLUE what they're talking about. But if I respond inappropriately, well, then everyone will know I'm just a GREAT BIG FAKER.

Of course, the response seems to just be to repeat the name of the thing that's cool.

For instance:

If someone posts a picture like this
Photo Credit


The appropriate response is "OMG! Ryan Gosling." - hint: if he looks like you might recognise him from some movie and the photo is being posted by a female who is also being all gushy about him than 99.9% certainty it is, indeed, Ryan Gosling. Another clue would be if he has a smarmy hipster photoshopped phrase appearing over his picture saying something like "Girl, you go dip yourself a cool drink of well water while I pluck that chicken and stoke the fire to roast it."

If, for some reason you suspect it may not be Ryan Gosling - hint: it always is - than you can say something more generic like "OMG! Loves him!" Or you can repeat part of the photoshopped phrase with "He can" proceeding it, like"He can stoke my fire any day" or "He can pluck my chicken whenever he wants."

The thing I don't get though is, well, why the heck is everyone in love with Ryan Gosling? And how do I hire his publicist?

But it's not just Ryan Gosling I don't get. I also don't get this:

Photo Credit
I mean, I like bacon as an occasional treat - if my kids leave me any. And as a child I was totally amused by the fact that it was the PIG'S ASS that it came from - I told ALL my friends. And everytime I ate it I said "mmmmm, asssssssss," which usually earned me a slap across the head from my mother but was totally worth it. Yet, okay, childhood reminiscence aside, WHAT THE HECK is it with bacon? I don't even get the bacon obsession but what I REALLY don't get is the food-made-to-look-and-taste-like-bacon lovefest that's going on on the interwebs. Cause, yeah, bacon....it's the pig's ass (I am totally going to appropriate that phrase now to refer to things that are totally cool but you don't know why).

Anyway, I am well trained enough to realise that the expected response when a friend posts this is "OMG! Bacon!" or, if you're not absolutely certain if it's supposed to resemble bacon or not but it is definitely a foodstuff than you can say "omnomnom" (a phrase which I also don't get). And if it's like some crocheted semblance of bacon and especially if they've announced they made it themselves, you are not to respond with "what the fuck is that and why did you waste your time making it and punish my eyes with this photo of it?" The appropriate response is "Cute!" (please, do not forget the exclamation marks! Without them one may doubt your sincerity, especially if you have a tendency toward sarcasm!)

There are other things I really don't get, like
  •  those supposed "spank bank" images for women of men doing housework. (I prefer sex to clean floors, personally)
  • cats with big eyes (totally scary and weird - they already stalk you)
  • adult mouths imposed on children's faces (creepy and never done right)
  • cupcakes made to look like anything but cupcakes (what's wrong with cupcakes? They're no pig's ear; they're silk purses. Leave em alone)
  • food porn in general (food only makes me wet when I spill soup in my lap)
  • big tits - you know, the really humungous ones (is there such a thing as too big? Like if she needs to hold them up with both hands and have counterbalancing silicone implanted in her ass?)

But they're a little more complicated and require more than just repeating the name of the image back. Of course, now that I've given away just how uncool I am no one is going to want to continue to read my blog anyway. BUT if you decide to take pity on nerdy ol' me than I'll write more on those other things I don't get later. I might even write seriously about them. Who knows.

One thing I do know is that I'm craving a cupcake made to look like Ryan Gosling but that tastes like bacon right now.

Not.


17.4.12

Dear Randy - and the Rest: An Apology - of sorts.

Dear Randy,

I do apologise for two things:
  1. I singled you out in my last post. After hearing the audio I realise that it was not just you that was offensive, it was the entire HitsFM morning crew. You did not deserve to be singled out. Your entire station was at fault.
  2. I titled my last post on this issue “Don’t Be a Boob.” I intended that to be merely a play on fairly innocent words. However, as was pointed out to me, it could be taken as an insult. I freely admit that I did not consider that at that time and I am fully repentant if you felt insulted by it. I have offered to change the title. I have not done so yet because there are comments about that title, and to change it would make those comments look ridiculous and put them completely out of context. If you were offended, are offended, by my use of that phrase, I will immediately change it. It was not my intention to personally insult you.
Dear Randy, Kayleigh, and Brian,

I do not apologise for saying that your comments were offensive. They were. Nor for saying they were ignorant. They were. The fact that you – and those who support you – continue to argue that they were not frankly sickens me. If someone – especially more than one person – indicates to you that you were offensive, than you must understand that you did, indeed, offend them.
Whether the intent was there to be offensive or not is not important.

I have seen the “apologies” to some who wrote in. You continue to argue that people should not be offended. Well, I was. And after hearing from a number of other people who were, I decided to stand up for our rights.

What you said and the tone in which you said it was not directed solely at Mayim Bialik. You made very general, sweeping statements about women who breastfeed and especially those who do it for longer than what you  (and any number of opinionated but wrong people, as I’ve come to realise) consider “normal.”

Even if they had been directed solely at Mayim, how does that make it any better? Insult one person or insult a group of people, you’re still insulting.

If such comments had been made about the colour of her skin, her physical ability, her sexuality or any other identifiable “minority” concern it would not have been tolerated and could’ve even fallen under hate speech. But us breastfeeders are just a bunch of dippy women who don’t realise how gross we are. So we need comments like “ewww” and “there’s being attached and then there’s that…”

Those will set us straight.

In fact such statements are not only offensive but are part and parcel of a culture of shaming that takes place for women who breastfeed, and especially upon some pie-in-the-sky best age for weaning. They are sexually discriminatory. And they lead to a culture of bullying

Since responding to your comments I have been accused of any number of things. Foremost is that I am bullying you. I maintain that I did nothing of the sort. I have heard public comments made that you have received insults over this.  I did not send them. And I certainly have not seen them.

Had I seen them, I would’ve immediately contacted the person posting them and asked that they not turn this into a personal issue. After hearing Paddy Daly express on his backtalk show that you had been attacked I combed through every facebook group and tweet I could find to identify where these attacks were occurring. I didn’t find any. I personally contacted people who said you had been attacked to ask where. I received no response.

I assure you that my comments were made only in direct response to yours and that they were voiced by me because I had been asked by a number of other women to speak to this issue. A  number of other women who were also offended.

Certainly being a public figure making public comments you understand that there are times people will disagree with you. I have personally received hate mail and even haphazard death threats over things I have written about. It’s part of stating things publically, especially when you decide to take on an “issue.” That does not excuse it. But I can’t believe you were entirely surprised.

Regardless, as stated, had I been able to locate the source of these apparent attacks, I would’ve immediately called for their cessation. I don’t believe in personally attacking anyone over their opinion. I don’t support it. I will never support it. If I did I would not be myself. I would, indeed, hate myself.

On the other hand, the vast number of personal attacks against me are very public. They began on Twitter. These comments were fully sexually harassing. They were personally offensive. And they were downright nasty. At that time I checked and both the HitsFm twitter account and VOCMBacktalk were following at least one of the aggressive tweeters.  After attempting to ignore them, then asking them to stop, the barrage continued. No one defended me. No one stepped in and asked them to stop. I was left to deal with this on my own. I did it the best way I knew how, by answering like with like.

I would never had sat back and watched something similar unfold towards you.

Once I was finally able to get those comments to stop, I was asked, by other women who had been offended by your comments, if I would be calling into Paddy Daly’s show to discuss the issue. It had been made clear that it would be discussed, and these women feared that the only callers would be those that hold the same opinion as you: that what we do as nursing mothers is gross and despicable.
We’ve all heard it before. Many times. Our only surprise was that it came from such a public identity.

Trust me. I had other things to do. But I also had work to do for my community. I am a breastfeeding advocate - as I am an advocate for any other number of things. And when I am told that someone is afraid to speak but that they feel strongly about an issue, I do borrow their voice and speak for them. Because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I knew it would draw the anger of ignorant people and the attention of trolls.

So I called in to Backtalk. I was shouted down when I tried to explain how your comments were offensive. My integrity and that of my friends was called into question. And finally I was asked why, if breastmilk (not, mind you, breastfeeding) was so important for my child, well why don’t I just pump off my milk and feed it to him in a cup so that no one can make rude comments.
  • Why don’t all the gay kids getting bullied at school stop acting so gay so they don’t get bullied?
  • Why don’t black people just stick with their own kind so that they don’t suffer racism?
  • Why don’t rape victims just shut up about the whole thing so no one can accuse them of being over-dramatic or lying?
  • Why don’t the disabled stop asking for all these accommodations if they don’t want to stand out?
Why? Because to ask a member of a minority group to change their actions, behaviours, or thoughts in order to accommodate the social desirability of the majority group is oppression. It is wrong. It is disgusting. And it goes against everything I – and I thought you – believe in.

And I won’t even get into the specifics of how ridiculous it is to ask a woman to spend time and money pumping just so you can be comfortable. And I'll try not to point out that you don't need to SEE a woman breastfeed to know she does breastfeed - I'm not ashamed of the fact that I breastfeed my son and I won't hide it.

As a result of the attention garnered –mostly because of the way I was attacked by your supporters -I was asked to speak on CBC radio about breastfeeding. At the time I was told that it would not be about Randy Snow. And , for the most part, it was not. It was about the comments and the culture those comments come from.

And popular media is a big part of that culture. Such a big part that people who don’t know me were encouraged to attack me because Randy Snow said he was being attacked, despite the fact that none of these people had seen these attacks. And I don’t doubt that some personal emails were received that were insulting. But I had nothing to do with that. Although the general public seems to think otherwise.

I’ve received personal emails too – ones telling me to “lay off Randy, he’s a nice guy.” And I don’t doubt that he is. In fact, that’s what I was counting on when I wrote my last post – that his decency would allow him to see how hurtful those comments were. But I never “laid on” Randy to begin with. I responded to your public comments and then I tried to clear up misconceptions about the length of time a woman should breastfeed. That is all.

For your station and your fans to say that none of this was a big deal and it means nothing is obviously a stretch of the truth. For if it hadn’t been a big deal it would’ve died. I’ve posted before about things that have offended me. They don’t always get that kind of attention. CBC contacted me because this was a story. And I accepted the interviews because as an advocate I saw it as a chance to spread a message of tolerance for breastfeeding mothers.

What it comes down to is this. This one of just a few “apology” letters I’ve seen:

What was said yesterday was in no way meant to come across as soapboxing or judgemental. What a woman chooses to do with her body and her children is entirely her choice. We would never begin to tell her what she is doing is wrong when it comes to something so personal.

The only reason it ever came up is that it was from Mayim Bayalik. Not that she isn't entitled to share her thoughts on the topic and very well could be an authority on it. It is just that she played Blossom and what we deal in primarily is pop culture.

We are actually surprised by the feedback we are getting from it. Not contructive opinions like yours but some people are being downright nasty over comments that we didn't think were in anyway controversial.

Thanks for your feedback though. It is never a bad thing to open a dialogue.
I opened a dialogue. I was attacked. During that dialogue you had a chance to see:
  1. How many women and families were also offended.
  2. How your comments are part of a bigger picture of shaming breastfeeding women for a multitude of supposed “sins.”
  3. That this is an issue of national interest, given the sharing of the news items via CBC and MSN.

You claim you weren’t being purposefully offensive? Than apologise. Because the only other alternative is that you were purposefully offensive and you’re not willing to apologise. People were offended. You’ve seen why. Your comments were hurtful and yet very recognisable to many of us. What hurts the most, though, is that you won't simply acknowledge this and apologise, but instead encourage a backlash against those who were offended.

This is the point where you say “I’m sorry.”

It’s what I would do in your shoes.

14.4.12

Comments Policy

Before I write my next post I would like to point out the new comments policy.

From now on, I will no longer respond to “anonymous” comments. Here on my blog, in my writing and other work as well as out “there” in the online world, my name and face accompany everything I say. I do this to keep myself honest. I do this to maintain my integrity. You don’t have to agree. So I have left the ability to comment anonymously open. However I will not respond to such comments and if they are inflammatory, I will remove them.


This applies across the board. If you agree with me but do so in an inflammatory way or by personally attacking another commenter your comment will also be deleted

I am sorry it has come to this, but far too many supposed adults do not have the integrity to stand behind what they say. I understand that at times, for personal reasons, people may want to remain anonymous which is why I have left the ability. But I will not tolerate abuse of anonymity.

Only once before have I deleted a comment, ironically also on a post about breastfeeding. In it, the comment author publically and personally attacked another commenter in a way I found offensive and inflammatory.

On only one other occasion before now have I stated I would delete comments. Also on a very charged issue. One in which I laid out what I see to be my role as an advocate. You might want to read that to get an idea of where I’m coming from.

Photo Credit (remixed)

12.4.12

Did You Know?

Did you know that breastfeeding protects against breast cancer? It really does. Indeed, for every year of breastfeeding, breast cancer risk is lowered by approximately 4%.

Did you know that girls that are breastfed also have a lowered risk - 17% according to one study - of developing breast cancer as an adult? (although apparently for first born children this lowered risk is not seen).

Did you know that on Friday, April 13th, HitsFM, of previous blog fame, will be having a Pay and Play event to raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation?

What a perfect pair, breastfeeding promotion and breast cancer fundraising! (Yes, that pun was intended)

And did you know that there are some great breastfeeding songs out there?

Like this Hip Hop Number, "Food For Thought," by Njeri Earth.

There's this one, too, though they probably can't play it on the radio as I'm not sure there's an audio recording:


Then there's the animated version of the punk rock all-mom band The Mothers song Milk Pistols, transformed into the Cowgirls (note, if requesting this song it is by The Mothers, not the Cowgirls, but this is the video)

11.4.12

Dear Randy Snow: Don't Be a Boob

Dear Randy Snow,

I could write you as a parenting columnist. Or as a parenting advocate. I could write as a breastfeeding advocate or in some kind of official role.

But I'm writing as a parent. As the mother of a three and a half year old boy, like Mayim Bialik's Fred. Like Fred, my boy also continues to nurse. In all the things I do day-to-day parenting-wise, it's the one thing I KNOW I'm not doing wrong. The one thing. Honestly.

But, apparently, you think it's wrong. I'm not sure why. I have no idea why you even had to comment on it. And why that comment had to be so judgmental and offensive is beyond me. The truth is, Randy, I didn't hear your comment. Because, frankly, I'm not a listener. But I heard of your comment and the tone in your voice as you ridiculed Mayim for continuing to breastfeed.
"In the book, she talks about how she breastfeeds her three-and-a-half-year-old son, Fred. Three and a half! What?! I just got over Alicia Silverstone's bird-feeding thing with her son, and now this?!"
UPDATE: You can access the audio here. It wasn't just Randy and it's worse than I originally reported. Scroll down to the media player: 99.1HitsFM
UPDATE2: They've taken it down. I meant to record it before they did. But, you know, life gets in the way.

But do you know, Randy, that when you said that, you didn't just ridicule Mayim. You didn't even "just" ridicule every mother out there who breastfeeds into the toddler and preschool years. You ridiculed children. Little three-and-a-half-year old children. Your ridiculed MY SON, Randy. And that's not acceptable. Not in the least.

It might seem wrong to you, that my son, who indeed is no longer a baby, continues to breastfeed. But it has nothing to do with you. Nothing at all. And unlike the standard stunned member of the public at the mall, you're a voice that people listen to. So when you comment on something that has nothing to do with you two things happen:
  1. You strengthen the voice of those who also feel appropriate commenting on things that have nothing to do with them - their judgmental opinion is now "celebrity-endorsed."
  2. You  feed into a systemic cultural practice of judging - especially parents - on things that are a matter of personal choice.

And the third thing you do? Watch this video clip of my little boy. Pay careful attention to the 55 second mark.







You make my son question something he loves.

Read that again, Randy. And let it sink in... you made a little boy feel sad.

My son loves breastfeeding. It's not the only thing he loves, but, yes, it's in his top-ten for sure. He loves the bonding time with me. He loves the "deelicious" milk. He loves how it soothes and relaxes him.

And I love it too. The part I especially love is knowing that I am doing everything humanly possible to grant him a long and healthy life. My milk didn't suddenly lose its health benefits and antibodies or even its nutritive value when he turned one or two years old. It's all still there. And given that he has a disorder that means that tumours can grow in his body anytime anywhere and breastmilk is the one known safe anti-tumorgenic substance I can give him, guess what? I'm not going to stop. No matter what you think or say.

But my son is sad. He's sad because people like you see fit to comment on something that he loves. They tell him he's too old for it. Or that big boys don't need it. Or even that it's foolish. People say these things to my son and it confuses him and saddens him.

And now you, a public figure, have said it. And I can't let that go. You hurt my son. You hurt the other three and four and five year olds that may have listened to your show and heard your painful words. You hurt the mothers who are trying only to do what's best for their child.

I'm not going to pay a lot of attention to what you said, Randy, because frankly I never do. We don't listen to HitsFM. We're pretty much CBC people, occasionally K-Rock, and when we want to dance in the kitchen while making supper, we tune into OZFM.

But a lot of people will pay attention. It saddens me that in a province with lowest breastfeeding rates in the nation, where our government and health authorities are working tirelessly to promote breastfeeding, someone like you can undermine all that work with a single, thoughtless, throw-away statement.

To them, all I can say is "who is Randy Snow." And what right does he have to dictate what you do? My kids understand it, I hope your audience does too...