This Woman's World

at the intersection of feminism, motherhood, and life


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I tend not to pay too much attention to the latest studies involving breastfed vs. formula fed babies; I’ve made my choice, and it is what is it. However, there was a Dutch study published in the journal Pediatrics, from the American Academy of Pediatrics that I want to talk about. Actually, I don’t want to talk about the study; I want to talk about the headline:

Prolonged and Exclusive Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of Infectious Diseases in Infancy

Lets turn this around a bit, shall we?

Formula Feeding Increases the Risk of Infections Diseases in Infancy

Two sides of the same coin, really, but the distinction is very important. The first headline implies that formula feeding is the norm, and that we accept a certain risk with that norm. It implies that the baseline for infant health is derived from formula fed babies.

The second headline sets breastfeeding as the norm and sets the baseline at healthy.

Why is the wording important? Well, because the inferred meaning of language can be insidiously persuasive. When formula is used as the norm, then breastfeeding becomes abnormal. Things that are abnormal require justification, garner stares, and are marginalized culturally.

I don’t think any parents should have to justify the choices they make about feeding their infants, but I also think that when formula feeding is presented as it is in this headline, it becomes the standard. And the standard should be the safest and best. And since breastfeeding is the safest and best – as the study shows – the headline should reflect this.


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July 21, 2010 at 7:45 PM


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I’m not sure why shit like this even gets media attention.

I had no idea that short skirts cause natural disasters. That’s some crazy power.

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April 19, 2010 at 8:16 PM


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I came across this today on a blog:

“I am not a feminist in the offensive sense of the word.”

Whaaaaa? Feminism (and therefore a feminist) has two faces? The offensive face, and the nice face? And this writer wants to make sure we understand that she is associating with the nice face?

Makes me think of  the qualifier; “Not that there is anything wrong with that…” Well, if there wasn’t anything wrong with it, you probably wouldn’t be talking about it.

Okay, so maybe it’s not perplexing. It’s disappointing.

Feminism is undermined (with wild effectiveness) by schism created and maintained by popular culture. The patriarchy loves, “I’m not a feminist but…,” along with statements like the above. The distancing from the movement, so as not to be perceived negatively.

So, if the writer isn’t a feminist in the offensive sense of the word, what sort of feminist are they?

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April 15, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Things that are pissing me off:

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Ben Roethlisberger is accused of sexual assault AGAIN. When I was a kid, every.single.time I got caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing I would whine, whine, whine. Like it was the END OF THE WORLD. And my dad would look at me and remind me that for every time I got caught, there were at least 10 times I didn’t. So how many times you think he’s gotten away with it?

The French Association Fromages de Terroirs is a group of artisan cheese makers seeking to reverse the decline in the purchase of  their cheeses and has launched a campaign to put the sexy back in cheese. By producing a calendar that depicts, wait for it…wait for it…scantily clad women suggestively nibbling on various (ostensibly) artisanal cheeses. (To see the calendar check The Economist) Un huh. ‘Cause we all know seeing the naked ladies makes us want to buy the thingzzz.

And finally, AirTrans Airways has put an advertisement for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue on one of their planes, causing the Association of Flight Attendants at AirTrans to voice objection. An excellent move, in my mind. The airline’s response went something like, “Sorry you’re upset, but we think we put a family friendly image on the plane.” Hmm…thanks AirTran for reminding us that objectification of women for commercial gain is totally “family friendly.” (hat tip to Spare Candy)

That’s all I can take for one night.

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March 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Why it’s important

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I’m amazed at how many women I meet who would sooner shave their heads than assert themselves feminists. And I’ve been feeling somewhat impotent in the face of this. I want everyone, and especially the women I know, to own the label.

What the hell for, though? I expect there are any number of people who value, and propagate feminist ideals without calling themselves feminists. So what if they live it, but don’t want to openly associate with this movement, or ideology? Wouldn’t it be better to have everyone act with feminist goals in mind than be worried about everyone calling themselves feminists?

I assume that women whom I perceive as feminist (“Women should never be discriminated against or oppressed because they are women! Duh.”) but who are unwilling to call themselves feminists are afraid of being uncomfortable. They’re afraid to be ridiculed or dismissed because they are feminists. They’re afraid people will perceive them in ways they don’t want to be perceived. They are afraid to own an oft-maligned label. (Gosh, thanks Rush!)

I think, though, that some amount of discomfort is necessary in order to affect change.

Of course, this speaks to a different question: what does a feminist look like? I’ve seen a bunch of blogs recently asking this question, but they’ve tended towards the more conservative, religious types.

Why are/aren’t you a feminist?

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February 16, 2010 at 9:36 PM

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Al Franken & Choice

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From Al Franken’s speech to NARAL:

“Because the forces on the other side are persistent, single-minded, and even violent. A woman’s right to choose is never fully won. It must be won anew every day, every year, every Congress, and every generation.”

You know what I like about this speech? There’s no equivocation. There’s no suggestion that compromise is necessary (Obama, are you listening?) There’s only the absolute understanding that abortion must remain legal, and choice must be protected. There is freedom to choose, or there is not.

It really is that simple.

Maybe I’ll move to Minnesota so I can vote for him next time around.

(thanks to Mom’sTFH for calling my attention to the speech)

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February 12, 2010 at 9:30 PM

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This was the 4th snowfall this winter. We usually see one, maybe two. This was the second consecutive weekend with snow. We’ve had 30 60+ inches since December. The norm is somewhere around 15″.

It’s snowing again tonight.

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February 9, 2010 at 11:48 PM

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