History of Infant Feeding in the US

July 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

Hi AGAIN! I’m on a roll.

This is a paper I wrote last semester for my US Women’s History class. It’s a little stiff (because I was dying to graduate) but I find the subject matter extremely interesting. Also, I cite my mommy, lactation consultant Bev Solow!

Enjoy!

NARAL Event

April 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

NARAL Pro-Choice New York has been doing some great work with the Choices Series, “a six-part series of events examining the full range of reproductive choices available to women.” Next week is the Choices: Parenting event, hosted by Sistas on the Rise.

Thursday, May 7th
6:15-8:15 pm
Sistas on the Rise
835 Dawson Street
Bronx, NY 10459

The second installment of the series will be Choices: Parenting, a look at the work being done on the ground to ensure that parenting is an accessible and supported reproductive choice for all. Co-sponsors and presenters include Sistas on the Rise, Baby’s First Home, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the Red Hook Initiative.

Free with RSVP to Lalena Howard at lhoward@prochoiceny.org or 646-520-3506.

Event is open to all and space is wheelchair accessible.

Hope some of you can make it!

Really?! Tell me more about her clothing!

April 5, 2009 § 2 Comments

Seen above: Only Fashion.

Seen above: FASHION.

So, Michelle Obama has already been talked about here (in a great post by Joel), but today I found myself spurred to write about her again.

I was just minding my own business this morning, checking my email when AOL’s Sunday Style section featured an image of the Obamas with the Queen. The description said:

You’ve already seen what the First Lady wore to meet the Queen, but what about the rest of her European outfits? Click through to see her chic, sleeveless number & that colorful cardigan.

How depressing is it that I can’t, for the life of me, tell you what she’s been doing politically recently, but I can (thanks to AOL.com) tell you all about her European outfits? I’m so sick of this! She attended Princeton and Harvard, for God’s sakes! Please tell me what she’s doing other than donning a “teal-rrific” ensemble! Surprisingly, I actually already am quite in tune with the fact that she has great style. My eyes made me aware of this. You know what I can’t tell by just looking at her? The causes she’s most in support of, her opinion on the stimulus package, anything else, really!

One thing that’s occured to me though is this: What if it’s not all the media? What if a serious effort is being put forth to ensure that she doesn’t make the same “mistakes” that Hillary did as First Lady (i.e. having opinions)? The right wing and media jumped on Clinton during her husband’s presidency and recently during her presidential campaign calling her a harpy, shrill, and even Nurse Ratched. If this is the case, it may be considered a wise political move, but it saddens me so much that we may not be hearing much from Michelle for a while. After all, remember her at the Democratic National Convention?

Sigh.

I’m Guilty

April 2, 2009 § 5 Comments

Get ready for a slightly nonsensical and very therapeutic rant.

High school students are under a lot of pressure. But that’s not why I feel guilty almost all the time.

My mom works really hard. She works, providing for me and all, and she is a mom. I respect her, and women like her, so much because I know the shit she has to put up with on a daily basis. We all know the kind of guilt society places on women, particularly working mothers. My mom gets guilt from our family for not staying home, she gets guilt from the people she works with for leaving work early on parent-teacher conference night. If she works, which most of us need to do, she’s a bad mom, but if she doesn’t…well, that’s not really an option for her. It’s a pretty pervasive lose-lose situation.

Sometimes I feel so stressed that it feels like my body is breaking. A big part of this stress is because of the guilt I constantly feel. I feel guilty if I’m not doing my homework. I feel guilty if I’m running late to a rehearsal. I feel guilty if I don’t go visit my grandmother one Sunday. Almost every girl I know has expressed similar feelings to me. Of course, there are plenty of guys that are also constantly juggling three thousand things. It’s just that lately I’ve become really aware of how big a factor guilt is in running my life. What am I so guilty about?

There is constant pressure to be flawless. But what does that even mean? Sorry if this sounds like a whiny self-pity session, but it’s true, and it’s true for all of us. There are these unattainable standards that all women are expected to live up to, that just don’t make sense. I’m supposed to be smart, but not too smart or else boys won’t like me. I’m supposed to be pretty, but not too pretty, or else girls won’t like me. I’m supposed to be innocent, but naughty.

We’re faced with these unattainable standards and expectations to be flawless everyday. Obviously no one can live up to them, and yet the way they’re presented, it seems like you’re the only one who can’t. So many of the girls in the movies and on t.v. seem to fit this definition of what we’re all supposed to be. No wonder I, along with so many young women, constantly feel guilty.

Women’s Work In The New Economy

March 31, 2009 § 5 Comments

Another guest post by Joel, cross-posted at Citizen Obie.

I’ve been thinking about the issue of women work trends since I saw an earlier post here a while back about how feminists were reacting to the stimulus package, and what they thought it offered to support industries with greater representation of women (social work, education, health.) My concern was not so much with the sectors the stimulus emphasized, I believe that fomenting green manufacturing, construction, transportation, and agriculture is going to be fundamental to getting ourselves out of this economic mess we’re in and moving us towards an era of sustainable prosperity and equity. But where do women fit in this agenda? Green-collar jobs, the premier jobs of the new economy, are in construction and manufacturing (and I pray also urban agriculture,) sectors with little female representation. I’m going to assume that construction and manufacturing will remain important and vibrant for years to come, in which case my concern is how do we promote gender equity in those fields? How do we make sure that women share in the vision of the new economy, how do we de-stratify the sectors with the greatest potential for growth?

I thought about it even more when the news got out that the White House vegetable garden is Michelle Obama’s initiative. I love Michelle Obama, I love organic vegetable gardens, and I love children’s health and nutrition, but I was intrigued by the historic association between first ladies and health (specifically children’s health) advocacy. I wouldn’t call it anything as strong as a major concern, but what does it mean for powerful, fiercely intelligent women (in Michelle Obama’s case, a lawyer) to be relegated to work with overtones of domesticity? On the other hand, maybe I ought to rethink my own gendered assumptions about what it means to work with children and health. Maybe it is my own male bias and set of assumptions that I imply above that children and health issues might be ‘beneath’ a fiercely intelligent woman. In this case, how will we encourage (assuming we want to) the disassociation of particular fields with the different genders? And if such associations remain tenacious, what opportunities are available to women in the revolutionary restructuring of the educational and health care systems, as called for in Barack Obama’s agenda? Energy, education, and health are the major focuses of Obama’s agenda. Is it okay for energy to be a primarily masculine field, with education and (to a lesser degree) health to be primarily feminine?

Finally, here are a few articles on the immediate effects of the recession on women’s economic lives. The first is on the likely increase of domestic disputes as a result of male unemployment. It suggests that recessions, with major job loss for male-bodied individuals, breeds resentment as males fail to fulfill their ‘breadwinner’ roles, compounding the other stresses of over-worked women struggling to fulfill their roles as double-time workers and mothers. The second is on women losing their jobs and moving into the sex entertainment industry. And here’s one on the unfortunate likelihood that pregnant women and new mothers may be more likely to face unemployment, despite the illegality of discriminating against mothers. Overall, it looks as though the recession and the vast restructuring of the economy (I hope) will have major effects on perceptions of domesticity and women’s work roles. I hope some of you are as interested in these broad trends as I am. I think they definitely point to a very particular landscape in the contemporary feminist movement.

First Lady in the Garden

March 19, 2009 § 6 Comments

This is Joel‘s second guest post on Women’s Glib. Read his first post here.

Welcome news to environmentalists, the sustainable food crowd, and those concerned over rising levels of childhood obesity: the White House plants a vegetable garden.  As a climate movement head and sustainable food advocate, I am thrilled that the first family is sending this message.  Michael Pollan and many others had called for an organic garden on the White House lawn (now we just need some solar panels on its super-insulated, green roof, but I digress) and I think it is a great symbol, a living manifesto of eating healthy, green, and locally.

I am curious though, about what message it’s sending that this is Michelle Obama’s initiative (granted, the article makes clear that the garden will mostly be worked by White House staff, and Sam Kass, an assistant chef, but the symbolism is there).  Let me first say that I love Michelle, I thought her speech at the convention was one of the most moving things I saw this election cycle (and there was a lot to be moved by) and I’m very impressed by her as a woman who has managed not to give an inch, in my estimation, in her self-determined image as an incredibly strong woman and independent individual.  As a role model to women (and black women no less) and an embodiment of the ‘modern-woman-who-has-it-all’ image: she’s a mother, she’s a professional, she’s intelligent, she’s funny, she’s gorgeous, she has incredibly-well-sculpted arms. I am amazed by her story, her crafting of image, and in a less crass sense, her strength and resilience.

So what does it mean that she’s taking on this debatably domestic role?  I’m not trying to stake out a point – I don’t have one – but I am curious as to the interactions between these images and messages.  I’m glad that the Times included the line about this project being something the whole family will contribute to (including Barack), but what are the ramifications of the first lady as a figurehead, as an advocate of health (particularly children’s health) and a home garden?  The garden is as much about Michelle’s attitude towards Sasha and Malia’s (and by extension, the nation’s) diet and lifestyle as it is about the environment, probably more so.  This goes kind of beyond the garden thing, first ladies are often called on to advocate for health and children’s issues, as though only women have the authority to speak on children, and as though it’s their particular issue.  I don’t think anybody can deny that highlighting sustainable, local, healthy food is a worthy goal, but I guess in general I’m curious about the role of the first lady.  How do you behave, knowing the symbolism of your actions and image, as a strong woman in the White House but without an official executive position?

Peace y’all, it’s good to be pitching something here at Women’s Glib.

- Joel

Bristol Palin on Abstinence-Only Education

February 25, 2009 § 4 Comments

Hey folks! This is our very first guest post, contributed by Joel, who we hope will return soon. Joel is an anthropology major in his senior year at Oberlin. He’s also the creator of Citizen Obie, and Ruth’s brother. Show him some love.    -Miranda

At the risk of making more of this particular individual’s experience than one ought to, I thought it was interesting to see both Bristol Palin’s perspective on abstinence…

…and the rest of Fox’s bending over backwards to emphasize that what she really meant is that abstinence is in fact possible…

Thanks for the elucidation, Fox.

Also kudos to Fred Barnes of Fox and friends for finding the most trivializing, horrific characterization of abortion (“convenient”) possible.  Thank God, whom I happen to think may well be out there, that Fred Barnes doesn’t have to deal with the “inconvenience” of considering whether or not he has enough money and effort in him to support and do right by another child, because he is a uterus-less insensitive idiot.  Oh well, at the very least we have a progressive, black president with a mandate.

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