1. Gordon Belt has an interesting post about tracing his Melungeon heritage. He’s descended from Goins-es, which is a pretty good tell. If you’ve got a Goins ancestor from Appalachia, you need to learn about the Melungeons. The thing I thought was interesting here is that his ancestor was a ferryman. And you know the Hulans ran the the ferry out at the end of Bells Bend. You know I always wondered if that wasn’t a survival mechanism–live in a fairly isolated rural place, control the one easy way in or out, and protect yourself from the kinds of hassles other people who weren’t firmly white got.
2. Let me say up front that I think women should be able to breastfeed wherever they want, whenever they want, for as long as the mom and child are both comfortable with it and able to do it. This is not a comment on breast feeding in and of itself. This is, instead, a realization I had after reading Chris Wage’s post. This is like the headless fatty picture. Are there morbidly obese people? Yes. But when we’re talking about the obesity epidemic, you know, the one we illustrate with headless morbidly obese women, is that an accurate representation of who in our nation is seeing rising obesity rates and what their obesity looks like? No. It’s an image designed to disgust you (hence why you don’t get to see her face) and to, I suspect, annoy you that she’s not making herself aesthetically pleasing to you for you.
See?! See how that is a similar dynamic to the Time breastfeeding cover? Are there young, blond, fit women who are dressed like they just got back from yoga class who defiantly let their three year old stand on a chair and breastfeed out in public? Sure, I guess so. The world is big and it takes all kinds.
But when we’re talking about breastfeeding in public–and in fact, when most people are like “Oh, that baby is too big for that”–who are we actually talking about? Babies. Maybe very tiny toddlers. Mothers who don’t want to stand next to a park bench while Junior stands on it to eat, but mothers who want to sit on the park bench and hold Junior in their arms while he eats.
But, this picture is supposed to disgust you–“the kid is too old!!!!!”–and, I think, annoy you that this woman who is aesthetically pleasing is doing something with her tit other than letting it titillate you (hee). The “ew, gross” thing is easy enough to see. But the tricky thing is to see the message of “be angry! This woman whose body is for you is not concerned about what you think and thus all women who share this trait with her are like her, defying you.” But that’s actually the more problematic message, especially since most of us don’t consciously see ourselves as wanting to be the boss of everyone. It plays on something deep–the desire to control–that we don’t often have conscious awareness of.