Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Yes, I'm a feminist, but put your fucking tits away

Being a feminist, unfortunately, often shoehorns one into also be a mommy-ist. I am not a mommy-ist and I should not feel obligated to be one. The fact is, once you say someone has to be a mommy-ist in order to be a feminist, it's time to re-evaluate your views. If our society didn't have such rigid definitions of what mommy is and what a daddy is, then we wouldn't have to say things like, "You're not a good feminist because you never provide a play area for the kids at your (insert subject) meetings. You're forcing moms to stay home,"  and, "You're an age-ist! People can't control their age. You can't discriminate against them for it! You're no better than (insert genocidal dictator)!"

Yes, both of these things have actually been said to me more than once by other "feminists." 

You know what, I'm sorry your husband is a worthless piece of shit that doesn't care about you or your child enough to give you a break one night a month. I am very sorry that you and your husband can't figure out how to take turns or negotiate on anything when it comes to your child. I really am sorry the father of your child is an ass-hat. I'm dreadfully sorry you "can't" afford a babysitter.

I'm also sorry you have social grace. I'm sorry you don't understand that you and your child are not the only people that exist and have thoughts and feelings. I'm sorry you don't realize that not everyone in the world gives a shit about your pwecious wittle bundle of drool and farts. I'm sorry most people don't think you or your child are special. For all of these things, I am eternally apologetic. Nonetheless, your poor romantic and social choices have NOTHING to do with my feminist views.

The only "non-feminist" view that I take a lot of flack for has to do with breastfeeding. No, I don't think breastfeeding is (necessarily) obscene, but I don't think it needs to be *A* scene either. For understandable reasons, there are times when it should actually be obscene; such as a city ordinance that bans public breastfeeding. Then, a group of moms may organize a "feed-in" where they all stand outside and breastfeed and/or hold up pro-breastfeeding signs in front of the given political establishment. It's  form of protest. In that case, I would concur, be as "obscene" as you want.

Then, there's every other day when people are just going about their business. Like, when I'm in a restaurant enjoying a perfectly lovely dinner until some kid might actually explode if it doesn't eat right at that second so mommy decides whip out her tit and flop it on the table in the middle of dinner, in the middle of the restaurant, in front of everyone. This is where I am told, "You're not really a feminist because you think women should try to be a little more discreet about breastfeeding."

The most commonly held argument as to why I'm a bad person for promoting minimal discretion is, "There's nothing obscene about it! Breastfeeding is perfectly natural and we'd all have died out long ago if we didn't do it!"

Those that would say so to me, I say to you, "So is taking a shit, but we don't do that right on top of a table in the middle of a restaurant in front of everyone."

Why is that? It's called SOCIAL GRACE....manners, etiquette, civility, polite society. Once upon a time, people actually cared how other people felt once in a while. People would do things that were minimally uncomfortable to preserve social harmony. Examples include holding doors for others, helping others lift heavy items, allowing neighbors to borrow household items, escorting others safely to their destinations and so on.

Somehow, people began to confuse empathy with insincerity and viewed it as an instrument of oppression. Understandably, some tools of oppression were disguised as etiquette. Unfortunately, the ability to discern social grace from oppression became obsolete. Still, some remnants of this archaic form of social interaction are practiced. Many of us practice them without a second thought because they have been so deeply ingrained in our culture. Many of us don't say "fuck" in front of granny. Many of us hold in our burps and farts. Many of us leave the room to take a shit. Many of us don't talk about what stains we may or may not have found on our underwear after returning from taking a shit. Many of us cover our tits. MOST of us don't really want to do these things, but I suppose some of us have not yet evolved to the point of complete etiquette disposal and dissolution.


Call me old fashioned, but I think some etiquette is nice. It is rooted in empathy, which is a highly useful social skill that may even save the world. After all, one who can put herself in another's shoes is less likely to hurt, maim, oppress, murder, enslave, imprison another. As for me empathizing with mothers, well, I don't like showing my tits. They get cold. I don't mind covering them, even if it would mean carrying a small piece of fabric in a bag that's already full to the brim of baby items, making my baby wait perhaps one minute to eat, and making my friends and peers comfortable. I also happen to know a great deal of mothers, the minority of whom are comfortable showing their tits in public.

So, for the sake of keeping turds off the dinner table, you could at least TRY to cover your tits when you're breast feeding? It is NOT that big a sacrifice on your part, but it's a big relief on your peers. It is not a statement of oppression, of "women are dirty," of "don't speak because you're a woman," of "be ashamed of being a mother." It's a simple plea for social grace. I would never ask you to leave the room, to hide yourself in a filthy stall, or to avoid being out in public at all because you breastfeed. I will, however, ask you not to shamelessly whip your tit out and flop it on the dinner table for all to see when you're anywhere but your own home...and maybe at granny's but probably not even then....and then insist that everyone around you is oppressing you because they don't want to look at your tits, but couldn't necessarily avoid it.

Truth be told, no REAL harm ever came from someone seeing a tit once in a while, whether a baby's mouth was on it or not; but then again, no REAL harm ever came from covering a tit once in a while either. 



Image stolen from whatarememes.com, who probably stole it from someone else.
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