Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Gender Violence

Babies are people too!

One last comment on the USSF – Fabulosa Mujer, who I had the pleasure of meeting and spending some little time with watching musical fountains in Atlanta and just hanging out, posts her thoughts on the forum. One particular unpleasant experience she had with some “another world is possible, another America is necessary attendees” was over her taking Baby Fab to a workshop

One moment I have to highlight, even though I’m conflicted about giving these couple of incidences more of my time and energy than deseved, it is about the structure of anti-family friendly activist spaces and the ageism AND sexism behind shit talking to parents, usually mothers about caretaking small children in public. As mentioned already by BFP I fought with my unshaken presence a few hostile but loud Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary attendees about the audacity of taking a small child into a workshop. I got the look, the “ssshhh” and the calm your child and take her out of this room, she’s too young to be here remarks

As Fab goes on to say, most people were helpful and welcoming but still the experience leaves you with a bad taste especially when some so called progressive social form another world people are so hostile to children, women and families. Fab’s story reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years back which received some reactionary anti-baby, woman hating responses…….Mama’s Tendo’s Story
was a very short piece about the right to breast feed in public.

Here is the first comment –

Well, I know that every mum has a right to feed her kid but I don’t understand why women have to breast feed their kids in public. I’m also female and I can tell you that it is a very disgusting thing to watch women breast-feeding their kids in public. I think it is something that women should do in the privacy of their homes

It gets worse as the next comment in response to my statement that breast feeding is natural, begins by associating breast feeding with shitting and pissing and then having sex……..

“Why should mothers have to go scurrying to their home or to the toilet of all places to do something that is so natural.” Isn’t passing water and defecating also “natural?” And yet they are not done in public. What about sexual intercourse? For most people that is done in private as well. Yes, babies need to be fed, but doesn’t that mean the mother needs to adjust her life to the baby’s schedule, not to her own personal convenience?

Jannie of Startle the Echoes has the last word – unfortunately she’s not blogging anymore – she ask’s the question

Are women really filled with so much self-hate that the mere thought of seeing a breast is found to be disgusting? I hope not.

But its not just about self-hate but the right we as women have over our own bodies and the right of our children to be nurtured and cared for by us – if that is what we choose, while we try to negotiate our lives and our work. If you can afford a baby sitter or trust one, great but there are many of us out there who cannot and or choose not too and are not going to lock ourselves in doors because the sight of our children or breasts offend some people.

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  1. This vexed me so, when I started having children…..
    I breast feed all my kids and I did it anywhere and everywhere…could not be bother what anyone had to say…why should I feed my child in a toilet? Will you eat your dinner in the loo? I would say- Funny, it was my own ppl that had more of a problem with it…trying to be “cultured” they lost their culture….
    The more women breastfed in public the more the “public “will have to get use to it…
    My children are a blessing, and if you are not “comfortable” with them around- my advice is to shut your eye!

  2. Back in the late seventies and early eighties, I breastfed my two children until they quit (my son was almost four!) Part of the loveliness of it was that I wasn’t tied to a stove or refrigerator to prepare a bottle, especially during the first year. My particular La Leche League group members believed in “baby-led weaning,” so you can imagine the public fall-out. Not only was I breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere, but the child might be three years old. People would say, “How long are you going to breastfeed that child?” and I would respond, “Oh…until he grows up and goes to college” or some other such silly answer.

    Now, older and without small children of my own, I sometimes find myself frustrated by the natural sounds children make. I have to firmly take myself in hand and remind me that these are the future I purport to be so concerned about. In a world where everyone accepted the raising of children as a collective responsibility rather than the “job” of one mother overseeing one or more specific children, this attitude could not arise and the “problem” would not exist. Babies and small children are not the difficulty. Our sped-up, fixated, self-centered culture (at least in the U.S.) is.

  3. fab

    thanks for writing about this sokari

    changeseeker: you hit it right on the nail with this statement:

    “Babies and small children are not the difficulty. Our sped-up, fixated, self-centered culture (at least in the U.S.) is.”