Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Thoughts on the Infamous Time Magazine Breastfeeding Cover

By now everyone's gotten an eyeful of Time Magazine's latest cover featuring a MILF suckling a 3-year old boy standing on chair. (If you haven't follow the link and then come back here so we can continue this discussion on equal footing.) If you're like me, you had a bit of a shocked and confused initial reaction and then you scolded yourself for being shocked and confused about something so natural and then, if you're like me, you wondered WHY you were shocked and confused. That is, again, if you're like me. And so this post is all about WHY I was shocked and confused and maybe a little bit annoyed by that picture.

I've read the comments and I know why other people are shocked and confused. They see this boy dressed in grownup clothes standing in a grownup stance suckling on a grownup woman and it seems somehow sexual to them. This is not my issue. To me, this picture is not sexual at all. This child is nowhere near puberty and the pose isn't the least bit sexual. It's not even intimate except for the mouth to boob contact and that, I think is one of the things that bothers me. Because nursing is intimate.

It took me a minute to realize exactly what was going on in the picture because the pose is so discordant with the idea of nursing a child in my mind. I have nursed three children now, my mother nursed us all and I was well past the age of knowing what was going on as she nursed my younger sisters and I've never seen such a cold, impersonal, nursing stance. That kid could be nursing off of any woman off the street. When you nurse your child (in my mind) they should be in your arms. You should be looking at them and they at you, not at a camera. (Or their eyes should be closed, rolling back in that blissful state approaching the milk drunk.)  I mean seriously, if you're going to nurse like that, you might as well pump.

This picture is provocative in so many ways. This kid in his cammo pants and his mom almost look combative, challenging. And they don't look challenging to all the "cover your boobs" people; no, the message here is not to people who can't stand the sight of a breastfeeding woman. The challenge is for the rest of us: Those who do breast feed our children but under cover and in the privacy of our own homes; those who wean at 6 months, a year, even two years. The message is, "You are inadequate, you are not the mom I am." And of course, I believe that's exactly what Time Magazine is going for. I haven't read the article (I probably only will if the magazine makes its way to the free stack in the pediatrician's office.) but I suspect that's what it's about- The ridiculous contest this generation's mothers seems to be having to adhere to the most extreme parenting style imaginable.

Now I agree with most of the ideas behind attachment parenting. I always have, even before I knew it had a name (and WHY does everything have to have a name these days?), but parenting isn't a competition. Even Dr. Sears says you have to do what works for your family. My teenagers co-slept till they were 3, but only nursed for a year, until my milk dried up from too much formula supplementation - I had to work to support them and they just didn't have very good pumps in those days. I tried co-sleeping with my current little one, but my back was killing me and he just wasn't sleeping at night. I set up a crib next to the bed where we can gaze at each other and we both sleep perfectly. I feel confident that he and I will nurse much longer than a year, since I now have to work only one day a week and my double electric breast pump fills TWO bottles in 20 minutes flat - especially when I'm engorged after spending 5 hours training dogs on Saturday morning and that's all he needs for the week because I'm with him every other minute. Same mom, different infancies, different moms... well, you get the point. We work with what we've got.

But I digress.

The other thought I had viewing the this image was - she's been breastfeeding for three years and her boobs look like that? Damn genetics. Damn airbrushing.

Still not a freaking contest.

Friday, May 11, 2012

J is for Jewelry #paganblogproject

Many witches and other magic-users wear jewelry for various purposes besides simply adornment. The pentacle worn by many witches symbolizes their beliefs and identifies them to others of similar belief systems. It's also a protective amulet. Other symbols such as Thor's Hammer and the triquetra serve similar purposes, but these aren't the only types of jewelry we witches wear.

Starting with the most basic, the wedding ring is a plain band. An unadorned circle with no beginning or end. There is also the promise ring, often with a Celtic knot design to symbolize two wondering paths that always converge, over and over through eternity, and, of course, the engagement ring with its diamond - the hardest mineral known to man. It can cut through anything, amplifies energy and is virtually indestructible - and don't we all hope our love will be the same.

Many of us also wear a quartz crystal wand on a chain. Quartz crystal wands are very useful in magic as they can be used to cleanse and charge other crystals as well as direct personal energy, so wearing one around your neck, you always have one handy if you need it. However, quartz crystals are also powerful amulets just hanging there minding their own business. They help keep the aura clear and strong, thus protecting the wearer from psychic attack and the affects of others' negativity.

Other crystals are often worn around the neck or wrist in the form of strings of beads. Depending on the size or shape of these beads and how they are strung, this can be a classic, even conservative look that also incorporates the magical energy contained within the crystals. Bloodstone makes a lovely bracelet and can be worn by women to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Beads of jet look quite elegant worn around the neck and protect against attacks of many sorts.

Some stones lend themselves well to being carved into shapes, such as rings and bangle bracelets. Agate can be worn this way to protect the wearer from contagion and poison - including the sort that comes from gossip and the negativity of others. Jade is another that can be carved into a beautiful piece of jewelry all its own for luck and love and it is said that wearing jade while gardening will increase the fertility of your garden plot.

 Many stones are cut and faceted and set into metal rubies, amethysts and of course diamonds are some examples of these. Metals carry their own magical energies as well so consciously combining stone with metal can make for a powerful amulet.

You can find alot more information about metals, crystals and other minerals in the Witchipedia's crystal section. http://www.witchipedia.com/stones-minerals-and-crystals

Remember when you are wearing your magical jewelry that it doesn't work in a vacuum. You must help it along by cleansing it and charging it when its new and wearing it with intention. You must also behave appropriately. Do not expect your obsidian bracelet to protect you in your travels if you habitually drive in a reckless manner!