You’re correct if you’re put off by that Time Magazine breast feeding cover

If you haven’t yet seen Time Magazine’s most recent cover, welcome back to earth from your extended journey to some other galaxy, far, far away.

To bring you up to speed, here’s a copy of the famous (or infamous) cover for you to enjoy:

The Mom pictured on the cover has promised to stop breast feeding her son before he reaches college, perhaps even before he reaches high school.

Yes, I’m lying.  She’s actually planning on weaning him sometime around kindergarten.  That, of course, is three to four years after most American mothers wean their babies.  And by “most American mothers,” I truly mean “most American mothers,” not just “those American mothers who breast feed.”  In America, almost 75% of women breast feed their babies for some period of time during baby’s first year, with or without adding solid foods to the diet.

Breast feeding is a good thing.  Moms come equipped with a natural processing and delivery system that is always ready to provide baby with a wholesome diet, one that comes complete with all the required nutrients and immunizations, and that is invariably served at the perfect temperature.  From Baby’s point of view, everything is just right:  taste, feel, smell, and cuddle factor.  From Mom’s point of view, there’s no bottle shlepping, no messy formula, and food is instantly available when the baby’s in an uproar.  Moms also theoretically loses in pregnancy weight faster when they breast feed (I certainly didn’t).  Best of all, Mom gets a chance to sit down and put her feet up.

So what’s the big deal about the cover?  I’ve already established (at least to my satisfaction) that most American women breast feed and it’s a good thing.

The big deal, of course, is twofold.  First, that kid is no baby.  Assuming healthy dental development, a normal digestive system, and reasonable coordination skills, he’s perfectly capable of eating the same food as the rest of us.  Second, that Mom isn’t bonding with her son as she stares militantly at the camera.  Nope.  Instead, she’s telling you off, you narrow-minded, prudish, salacious American you.

My understanding is that the point of the article, which I haven’t read since it’s behind a pay wall, is that Dr. William Sears has managed to convince a lot of American women that they have to hyper-bond with their child, a system that requires co-sleeping and endless breast feeding.  I was not a Sears acolyte.  I stopped breast feeding my two when they had some serious teeth in their mouths, figuring that they were telling me they were ready for something that didn’t scream when they bit down. Co-sleeping left me awake in an agony of fear that I would roll over and smother the poor things (something that, Sears & Co. forget was a common cause of infant mortality in pre-industrial Western society.)

I’ve been following Facebook discussions in which the usual crowd, after roundly castigating evil right-wing Republicans for their prudishness about the cover, go on to cite approvingly to Third World (i.e., pre-industrial societies) as role models for up-tight Westerners to follow when it comes to extended breast feeding or even ordinary breast feeding.  I made no friends when I waded into this debate to point out a few obvious things:

First, as I noted above, Americans breast feed in vast numbers, so it’s no use trying to pretend that conservatives are offended about the article just because they want all babies to drink formula from plastic battles (complete with profits going to greedy corporations, of course).

Second, women in poor countries have limited birth control options.  If they want to avoid delivering a baby every ten or twelve months, breast feeding can slow the process.  It’s by no means a perfect birth control mechanism, as many women will attest, but there’s no doubt that it does interfere somewhat with a mother’s fertility.  Mom’s over-bond with one baby so that they won’t have to have another one.  American women have other birth control choices.

Third, women in poor countries may have limited options for feeding their children solid food.  Even if there’s food around, poor sanitation often means that those women who wean early watch their children die quickly from food-borne diseases.  Where food availability and sanitation are issues, extended breast feeding may be a very reasonable option.  Last I looked, we Americans don’t have that problem.

In other words, I think the arguments people are making up to defend the photo’s apparent message (namely, that American women should emulate pre-industrial cultures when it comes to breast feeding) are silly.  The photo itself isn’t actually silly, because it’s a photo, not an argument, but you’re right if you think it’s offensive.

That woman on the cover isn’t bonding, she’s advocating.  She’s so “in your face” she practically leaps off the cover, clawing at your eyeballs.  This picture can best be analogized to a porn picture.  In those, the woman, rather than gazing lovingly at her partner, turns her seductive gaze to the camera — and to the viewer beyond.  Just as porn isn’t about love, this photo isn’t about bonding with a baby.  This is one Mom’s statement about the “evils” of American culture, nicely captured on the front page of a magazine owned and distributed by vast corporate interests.  (I so love the irony.)

The uncomfortable feeling we slightly old-fashioned romantics get when we look at that exposed breast is also completely reasonable.  Women’s breasts are wonderfully utilitarian objects, in that they’re dual purpose.  They feed babies and they entice men.  How cool is that?

The smart thing, of course, and the way our culture rolls, is to keep the two purposes separate.  Sometimes we’re in Mom mode, in which case we breast feed, ’cause it’s good for us and good for the baby, but we do so discreetly.  I can guarantee you that, despite having breast fed two children, no one outside of my nuclear family (and that includes the kids themselves) got an eyeful of me.  Feeding mode is not the same as flashing mode.  Nor was I at all inconvenienced by maintaining my [physical privacy.

When we’re not in Mom mode, our societal norms applaud, indeed encourage, showing our breasts — provided that we keep the business parts covered.  Indeed, keeping the business parts covered is important, because otherwise we suddenly depart from Western sexy and find ourselves sliding into Third World utilitarianism, where the breast is constantly exposed by Mom’s simultaneously practicing primitive birth control and disease protection on their children.  Once upon a time, these pictures were exciting for the 13 year old boy, pouring over black and white photos in National Geographic, but that day is long gone. I’m willing to bet that any guys reading this post are not feeling libidinous stirrings as they gaze at the photo below.

When all is said and done, the Time cover is nothing but a publicity gimmick, and I have to admit that I’ve fallen for it — I’m discussing the cover and its meaning.  However, I haven’t gone so far as to buy the magazine and I don’t, and will not, subscribe.  I advise you to avoid the magazine as well.  Sure, a conversation is nice, but lets not get inveigled into increasing one American corporation’s profit simply because it publishes a cover that subtly denigrates America and her normative culture.

Hilary Rosen defenders look to 1960s “male chauvinist pigs” for support

I’m seeing a terribly funny new meme on Facebook, aimed at explaining away Hilary Rosen’s statement that Ann Romney, who raised five children, fought breast cancer, and has MS, has never worked a day in her life. Friends are posting things to the effect that, while parenting is “work,” it’s not a “job.” From this I gather that it’s only a job if you get paid for it.

I’m old enough to recall a time when feminists went absolutely ballistic at men who denigrated their housework by saying that it wasn’t really a “job” because they weren’t getting paid for it. In other words, women trying to defend Rosen’s statement have had to fall back upon what the famous “male chauvinist pigs” of the 1960s and 1970s used to say about women. All of which proves, once again, that there’s nothing more regressive than a Progressive.

Parenting: The most exhausting job I’ve ever had

I started working when I was 16.  Up until I had children, my jobs were all white collar. I was either a secretary or a lawyer. I found both jobs challenging and tiring (and preferred secretarial work to lawyering).  When I was working as a lawyer at a big firm, I complained a lot about the 60+ hour weeks.  I always believed that I worked hard.

Then I had children.

Being a parent is, without a doubt, the hardest job I’ve ever had. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. In addition, although I haven’t always enjoyed it, it’s also the most important job I’ve ever had. Raising our nation’s next generation and caring for two vulnerable little souls matters more in the long run than my writing a good opposition to a demand for further document production.

I wonder how many other mothers, including working mothers, are offended by the Democrats’ denigration of Ann Romney — mother of five, cancer survivor, and MS sufferer — on the ground that she’s “never worked.” The Dems can walk this one back as much as they like, but it’s out there, and closely associated with a White House that apparently underpays its women.

 

 

Obama’s election, like Harding’s, is one where we remember the voters as much as we remember the one for whom they voted

In 1920, for the first time, American women had the right to vote in a federal election.  Warren G. Harding won that election by a landslide and, rightly or wrongly, he went down as the president whose dashing good looks and insouciance so charmed American women that they put him in the White House.  Here is the dashing, insouciant Harding:

Harding’s good looks and charm have not worn well.  Neither has his reputation.  His administration is remembered as one of the most corrupt in history — and, sadly, that first batch of women voters is remembered for having put him in the White House.

Almost one hundred years later, Tina Korbe has identified a new group of voters who may well be remembered for their role in placing one of the most corrupt presidents ever into the White House.  It seems that the millennials (those young ‘uns who come of age politically in the new millennium) are no more.  Our President has given them a new name, one that, unsurprisingly, is tied closely to his own presidency:

President Barack Obama has rebranded us. To him, we’re “Gen44.” Expanded, that means we’re the generation that elected him as the nation’s 44th president. Can you say, “hubris,” anyone? It’s almost like pleading to restart the calendar with 2008 as 1 Anno Obama.

In addition to the overwhelming narcissism this re-branding displays, Korbe points out that there is a certain truth to this horrible appellation:

What’s particularly galling about this is that he’s right. To date, our record participation in his election is our defining achievement.

What women were to Warren G. Harding, Gen44 will be to Barack Obama.  Let us just hope that Obama’s administration will be almost as short-lived as Harding’s (only Obama, God willing, will be booted out via the ballot box, rather than congestive heart failure).

 

A debate about young people’s behavior at CPAC highlights our culture’s inability to distinguish between things that are sexy and things that are vulgar. *UPDATED*

I’ve got sex on the mind today.  (How’s that for a great opening sentence?)  It actually has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with a confluence of posts and statements that came my way within the last couple of days.

It all started when Erick Erickson put up a post about the way in which the young men at CPAC were lining up to buy condoms.  (This distinguishes them from the lost, morally empty young women at Shippensburg University, who line up at vending machines to buy morning after pills.)  Erick believes that you cannot simultaneously stand for conservativism and act like a teenager under Progressive indoctrination:

We can be thankful that CPAC is not like the communications war room at Media Matters. But it should be much more than that. The young men and women who go to CPAC are often present or future leaders on their college campuses and within the conservative movement. They go to CPAC and are often on near equal terms at CPAC with people much older than themselves. Unfortunately, too many treat CPAC like spring break.

More than a few of the twenty and thirty somethings who go to CPAC seem to treat it like an extension of their college days doing their best to hook up before passing out. It’s not the majority to be sure, but it is a noticeable minority.

My friend Melissa Clouthier followed up on this by noting that the young men were aided and abetted in behaving badly by the young women, who were dressed more appropriately for nightclubbing than for political networking:

Second, have women so internalized feminist dogma that they see themselves in only two ways? Butch, men-lite wannabes or 3rd wave sluts who empower themselves by screwing every available horndog man?

Neither path is a way to self-love and respect, mind you. Both tracks will inhibit future success.

Women, if you’re at a conference where you’re learning to be a future politician or wish to succeed in the business of politics, dress the part. No, you don’t have to be in a business suit with pearls. However, modesty is a minimum.

Unsurprisingly, both Melissa’s and Erick’s posts generated a great deal of heat.  (I find David Swindle’s take the most interesting, insofar as he points out that an organization that tolerates street-corner women and rutting men is still barring GOProud.)

In my mind, all of these posts tied in with something I wrote the other day regarding Hollywood’s willingness to embrace Chris Brown (to the point of awarding him a Grammy), despite his admitting to having beaten his girlfriend, Rihanna, so badly that he ended up with a felony assault conviction.  Although I’m disgusted by the entertainment world’s stand, I’m not surprised.  In Hollywood, people are commodities, and none more so than women.  The adage that sex sells turned into a slight variation called “nothing but sex.”

Because everything that’s continuously thrust in ones face becomes boring after a while, and because Progressives as always anxious to break down traditional norms, in the last 40 years, “sexy” has been overwhelmed by “vulgar.”  For my purposes, these are the appropriate definitions for that latter term:

1. characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste: vulgar ostentation.
2. indecent; obscene; lewd: a vulgar work; a vulgar gesture.
3. crude; coarse; unrefined: a vulgar peasant.

Vulgar is not sexy.  It focuses on the basest parts of the sexual appetite.  Before the sexual revolution, American women used to sell a little sex and a lot of mystery.  By doing so, they engaged men’s higher brain, not just their lower one.  And also by doing so, they reminded men that women were whole people, not just anonymous genitalia.  If a man wanted to unveil the mystery, he had to court the whole women.  Saying “Wanna f**k?” would get him nothing more than a well-deserved slap on the face.  Nowadays, that same question gets the guy some transient pleasure, and gets the girl a place in line at the Shippensburg vending machine.

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to make any moral points here, although I think that this is a pretty sad morality we’ve handed our young people, both men and women.  We’ve got women who don’t respect themselves, and men who don’t respect women.  Ultimately, a thinking, moral man is going to think less of himself too for using these pathetic creatures.  (Okay, so I am making a moral point, but I won’t beat it to death.)

What I really want to say here can be summed up in a single picture showing that, when it comes to “sexy” (not “sex,” but “sexy”), a minute of Rita Hayworth is a whole lot more attractive than an hour of Lady Gaga:

I mentioned at the start of this post that I was influenced, not only by things I’ve read, but also by something I’ve heard.  I’m very happy to say that this statement was a spontaneous utterance from my 9th grader.  “Mom,” she said, “I like the way I dress.  I wear attractive clothes, but I never show my belly the way the other girls do.  That’s just so vulgar.”

Bless her heart, my very wholesome young lady isn’t thinking yet in terms of sex.  Instead, in a refreshingly age appropriate way, she’s thinking about what’s attractive and what’s not. She’s figured out, just by observing her peers, that when you have a 15 year old with a muffin-top parading around in Uggs, shorty-shorts, a cropped shirt, and low decolletage, it’s neither attractive nor sexy.  It’s just vulgar.

Our young women think they’re marketing themselves in the best possible way, but that’s not the case.  They’ve been tricked into selling a big-box, below-the-waste product, rather than promoting the whole, wonderful boutique package that they are.

And wasn’t it our mothers who always told us nice girls, “Why should men buy the cow when they can get the milk for free?”  Today, too many young women (including the women at CPAC) have stopped making graceful mooing sounds and are just shaking their udders.

 UPDATE:  This post isn’t even five minutes old, and I’m already updating it.  Some email comments have led me to believe that readers think I’m piling onto the CPAC attendees with this post.  I wasn’t actually intending to do that, although the posts about CPAC certainly provided the starting point.

I’m just mad at a culture that trades charm and beauty for raw sex.  Sex has its place, but in social interactions, especially amongst young people, charm and beauty are the ones that I believe provide the greatest benefit for all participants in the dance of the sexes.  What goes on behind closed doors — as long as it involves consenting adults — is none of my business.

Apropos young people, I’ll just throw one thing in here that seems relevant to the discussion:  I’ve been commenting for years about the peculiar fact that, if you go to any high school campus, you’ll see a peculiar clothing divide.  In past generations, pretty much throughout history, teenagers’ clothing had a similar “look” to it, whether polished or scruffy, innocent or sophisticated.  Now though, the girls look like street corner hookers, with massive of amounts of revealed flesh and heavy make-up.  The boys, however, look like toddlers:  their hats are on backwards, their clothes are over-sized, and their shoes are untied.  This is as true today as it was ten years ago when I first noticed this trend.

I think this clothing chasm is very, very strange, and I honestly don’t know what to make of it.  All I know is that I want my daughter to look fresh and wholesome (so far, so good on that score) and that, when my son is older, I want him to bring home fresh and wholesome girls.

UPDATE II:  On right on cue in terms of my comments about boys’ infantile dressing, read the first item in today’s Best of the Web, about men felling behind women in various economic/educational measures.

She’s gorgeous, if emaciation is your thing

There’s a model out there named Karlie Kloss who is being hailed as “the new Body” because the fashion world adores her figure so. You can see her pictures here, but be warned that they’re NSFW, as there’s some partial nudity.  I have three comments:

I bet her legs would look great even if they weren’t so heavily photoshopped.

Is it just me, or is there something appalling about lauding a woman as the most beautiful body in the world when you can count her ribs and cut yourself on her jutting hip bones?  It may be the standard in the fashion industry, but it’s scary to think that our daughters look at that emaciated woman and think “If I don’t look like her, I’m not beautiful.”

In becoming “the new Body,” Kloss supplanted Elle Macpherson, who once held that spot in the fashion world.  Scanning images of Elle (probably NSFW either) reveals that Elle is a woman of flesh, not bones.  Our beauty culture has transitioned from slender to skeletal.

Guys, I’m especially interested in hearing from you.  I’ll take it as given that Kloss is beautiful, but is she your idea of what a woman’s body should be?

No surprise to Bookworm that the White House is hostile to women

Back in September 2009, I posted about Obama’s obsession with getting women into burqas which is, to my mind, a very misogynistic approach to women.  I’m therefore entirely unsurprised to learn that those women who have worked in the White House claim that it’s a hostile environment to women, and that this hostility comes from the top.

Obama always signals things:  his dislike for Jews and Israel (all his pro-Palestinian friends and advisors were the giveaway), his love for socialist economic fallacies (his Chicago organizer background, his Ivy League education, and all his socialist friends), and his misogyny (that burqa obsession).   Patting myself on the back, I consistently predicted who and what this man would be, something that was pretty easy if one paid attention to what he said and did.

 

Women in combat

Over at Ricochet, there’s a really interesting post about women in combat, written by a former paratrooper.  The point that fascinated me was his claim that women aren’t leaders.  I’ve always defined myself as a born follower.  I’ll fill a vacuum if no one is leading, and I have no problem taking a leadership role when I’m caring for children but otherwise, I don’t want to be a general.  I’m a foot soldier, and a damn good one.  What amazed me is that, apparently, I’m not the only one.

It is NO BIG DEAL that a Jewish publication got rid of Hillary’s picture

There is much breast-beating amongst the usual suspects about the fact that an Orthodox Jewish newspaper deleted all female images from the Situation Room picture the White House issued after bin Laden’s death.  Hillary was one of those deleted.

The deletion was technically a violation of federal policy, but given the way in which people have been messing with the photo — everything from party hats to superhero outfits — that’s not the issue, is it?  The issue is that the Joos hate women.  Actually, they don’t.  I wouldn’t want to live the life of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman (’cause I’m not a believer at that level), but the religious rules governing them are a manifestation of true respect and not its opposite number.

But here’s the real deal:  a little Jewish newspaper that has no government affiliation can do whatever it wants.  This is not the same as a government, complete with government power, demanding that there can be no images of women in the public sphere.  If Di Tzeitung deletes female images, it does so for two reasons:  (1) principles and (2) knowing its market.  It’s allowed to do that, just the way Hustler is allowed to show way too much of women.

When we should be concerned is when Saudi Arabia deletes women, not just from images, but from society altogether; or when China and India delete women by aborting them.  Those are big issues.  Yet funnily enough, the usual suspects are almost completely silent.  Go figure.

UN Commission on the Status of Women

Everyone is commenting on the travesty that sees countries such as the Sudan and Iran on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  It makes perfect sense to me.  If the commission had been named “Commission for the Protection of Women,” or “Commission for the Liberation of Women,” things might have been different, but but it’s obvious that the Sudan and Iran are perfectly clear about women’s “status”:  per Allah’s inviolable decree, they are at the bottom of the pecking order and need to remain there.  At long last, these nations sit on the perfect bureaucratic vehicle for pursuing their “feminist” agenda.