We the Jammie Janes of InkWell are inundated with e-mail these days–’cause there’s nothing more fun than Rathergate–for our readers as well as us. We’re in blog heaven!
Here’s Inky reader A.N. with kudos for The Other Charlotte’s link to the hilarious Rather: “Prove I’m Not Queen of the Space Unicorns” (see Dan and the Space Unicorns, Sept. 17) and adds a link of her own:
“Yesterday I read another send-up that literally brought me to tears and had me laughing so hard my chest hurt. I hope you’ll share it with your readers, as I’m sure they’d enjoy it, too.Warning: put all beverages safely aside before reading. I’m not kidding:
Yes! We have Iowahawk to thank.
And here’s W.W.:
“Thirty years ago, the doubts would never have surfaced. No talk radio, no blog, and letters editors who almost never allowed a genuinely different viewpoint to surface. The screams of anguish are gatekeepers rendered impotent.”
Other readers are still critiquing my appearance on National Public Radio a few weeks ago to debate Kasey Madden, who successfully pushed for a law giving women the right to breast-feed their babies in public places without being asked to cover up. Reader A.N. e-mails:
“Listening to Charlotte Allen on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ criticize laws protecting breastfeeding moms and babies, I had to look up the organization that spawned such an elitist viewpoint. How so elitist? Who do you think can afford the rental or purchase price of adequate breast pumps in order to pump milk in private so prudish members of the public aren’t subjected to the reality of what breast are for — nurturing children.
“I’ve lived all over the world and nursed four children through their first year of life–it’s helped me calm them on airplanes, feed them where the water wasn’t safe to use, give them security when they felt threatened–all some of the many reasons people choose to breastfeed. In Saudi Arabia, a country hardly known for its feminist leanings, it is nonetheless natural to see a woman push aside some magic folds in her abaya and nurse her hungry child.
“Thankfully, I was never subjected to the shameful treatment that Kasey Madden was, sitting on a floor of a nursery in a health club, where no doubt in adjoining rooms women in thongs undulated without reprisal. If it takes a law to protect the rights of women and babies, so be it. If seeing a mom and baby nuzzling offend someone–and I don’t see how, as hungry babies tend to be selfish and keep that breast for themselves–I suggest they look the other way. It’s called freedom of choice.”
As I’ve said before, I think breastfeeding is great. And if women want to nurse their babies in public, that’s fine. But I don’t see anything wrong with asking a woman who does so to do it discreetly, via a nursing blouse or similar garment or the use of a blanket to shield breast and baby from public view. That’s not a great burden on mother or baby, and it accommodates the tastes of others, who may not wish to see (or have their children see) this intimate and occasionally unasthetic sight while, say, eating at a restaurant. I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia, but I’m virtually certain that there, as well as in many other Third World countries where breast-feeding is the norm, the women’s clothing does contain “magic folds” and other constructions that allow mothers to nurse their babies discreetly and modestly. In contrast, the laws that Kasey Madden and other breast-feeding absolutists have pushed for insist that a woman’s right to breast-feed bare-breasted in public trumps all other rights, and that’s it’s everyone else who has to make the accommodations.
And here’s reader J.P., informing us that she’s finally found an ideological home at the IWF:
“I’ve never felt welcomed by feminists, yet I’ve been attacked when I used the phrase ‘I’m not a feminist, but…” as though I had spat upon the efforts made by previous generations of women. (And if a person looks at history, even a little bit, we do have a whole lot to thank those women for.) Yet if I had a ‘non-feminist’ view, then it was because it was given me by men and could not possibly be because I thought about the issues on my own. If I wasn’t angry, then it was because I was happily dominated. he world is indeed an interesting place if the only time I’ve been talked down to and so blatantly ‘little woman’-ed was by another woman.
“IWF would have been wonderful to find when I was in college. If there was something like this 20 years ago, I wasn’t aware of it. I will be honest, though, that the National Organization for Women and the feminist movement as it existed then had prejudiced me toward anything that was identified as ‘for women.’ I’d paid enough attention to politics at a young age to bristle against the notion that ‘women’ supported one candidate or another or had ‘issues’ that were defined by gender. It felt like being told what to think. Or even worse, being told what I think. No actual thinking necessary.
“The Million Mom March irritated me the same way. I felt used without my permission, that they would count me in their cause when, in fact, I believe differently. I wasn’t quite mad enough to go out and join the National Rifle Assocation, but it was close.”
Let me assure you, J.P., that the IWF was founded by and for women just like you. We’re feminists, but not in the sense that has given feminism such a bad name that the vast majority of American women refuse to call themselves feminists. We believe in equal opportunities for women–but not in nanny-state protective programs that we think insult women by assuming that they’re frail flowers who can’t thrive without a Big Strong Government. And we think that you can be a feminist without signing on to the left-liberal program that groups that NOW and the Million Moms push. And yes, I’ve been patronized by the feminist establishment myself, and believe me, it feels just as demeaning as being patronized by a “little woman” kind of man. So that’s why we call ourselves the “Independent” Women’s Forum–and welcome, J.P.