Breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding is public is thankfully legal in Australia. Still, regularly a public personality tries to whip up some moral panic about the supposed indecency of public breastfeeding.

Mothers have organised a public nurse-in at Martin Place today to demonstrate the importance of being able to feed in public and just how narrow-minded comments can be that insinuate that public breastfeeding is somehow shameful or wrong. Go breastfeeding mothers! Of course babies have the right to be feeding in public, just like everyone else. Otherwise, babies and mothers would be either locked into their homes or would have to go to toilets to feed outdoors.

Haven’t we passed this stage where mothers have to hide their breastfeeding? I tried to nurse in public with a burqa-like tent over me but all it achieved was that me and my baby became even more visible than before and the cloth kept falling off both of us. As they say, if you find breastfeeding in public indecent then you’ve been staring for way too long.

Breastfeeding mums protest against Kochie

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz

So wish Aaron Swartz was still alive… this is such a tragedy and his prosecution such a farce. What a wonderful human being we have lost!

“A lot of money came his way when Reddit was sold to Condé Nast in 2006, but relocation to an office made him miserable. Google offered him jobs, but he turned them down as unexciting. Political campaigning became his passion. He wanted to see everything available online, free, with nothing held back by elites or big money, and nothing censored. Information was power, as he proclaimed in his Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto of 2008, and war was needed “by stealth”, “in the dark”, “underground”, for the freedom to connect. In 2011 there was no fiercer voice against the Stop Online Piracy Act, and in 2012 no one prouder to proclaim it dead.

The JSTOR business, however, got him into deep trouble. When he went back to the cupboard for his laptop, police arrested him. He was charged on 13 counts, including wire fraud and theft of information, and was to go on trial in the spring, facing up to 35 years of jail. The charges, brought by a federal prosecutor, were hugely disproportionate to what he had done; MIT and JSTOR had both settled with him, and JSTOR, as if chastened by him, had even opened some of its public-domain archive. But theft was theft, said the prosecution.

All this added to a weight that had oppressed him for many years. “Look up, not down,” he urged readers of his weblog; “Embrace your failings.” “Lean into the pain.” It was hard to take that advice himself. He kept getting ill, several illnesses at once. Migraines sliced into his scalp; his body burned. And he was sad most of the time, a sadness like streaks of pain running through him. Books, friends, philosophy, even blogs didn’t help. He just wanted to lie in bed and keep the lights off.

In 2002 he posted instructions for after his death (though I’m not dead yet! he added). To be in a grave would be all right, as long as he had access to oxygen and no dirt on top of him; and as long as all the contents of his hard drives were made publicly available, nothing deleted, nothing withheld, nothing secret, nothing charged for; all information out in the light of day, as everything should be.”

Aaron Swartz, computer programmer and activist, committed suicide on January 11th, aged 26

New masculinity

New masculinity

I wonder what I’ll teach my son about masculinity and what sort of choices he’ll have to face in his life becoming a man.

One thing is sure, in a socially self-transforming world where nimble fingers and thinking are the main game, the masculine advantage of physical strength disappears and therefore different qualities will be advantageous.

Girls are already doing better at school and university, how will we help our sons become better men? Self-mastery? Integrity? Respect towards others and compassion in the face of adversity?

I like the below list, even though no single person could possibly achieve it all. But perhaps it’s a great list of qualities for a new masculinity?

When I found out I was going to have a son I kept asking people with sons to tell me what was great about having a son. The best reply was: ‘the world needs more gorgeous, compassionate, wonderful men of integrity and you now have a chance of helping to create one’.

My hope for my son is that he can become a content person with integrity. Someone who can make the most of his life and help others do the same. A man who can live his life with respect, compassion, awareness and will seek opportunities to grow and become as rich a human being inside as possible. Someone who can balance his own needs with that of others and can act on what he perceives as the most important thing in each phase of his life.

The New Macho

He cleans up after himself.
He cleans up the planet.
He is a role model for young men.
He is rigorously honest and fiercely optimistic.

He holds himself accountable.
He knows what he feels.
He knows how to cry and he lets it go.
He knows how to rage without hurting others.
He knows how to fear and how to keep moving.
He seeks self-mastery.

He has let go of childish shame.
He feels guilty when he’s done something wrong.
He is kind to men, kind to women, kind to children.
He teaches others how to be kind.
He says he’s sorry.

He stopped blaming women or his parents or men for his pain years ago.
He stopped letting his defenses ruin his relationships.
He stopped letting his penis run his life.
He has enough self-respect to tell the truth.
He creates intimacy and trust with his actions.
He has men that he trusts and that he turns to for support.
He knows how to roll with it.
He knows how to make it happen.
He is disciplined when he needs to be.
He is flexible when he needs to be.
He knows how to listen from the core of his being.

He’s not afraid to get dirty.
He’s ready to confront his own limitations.
He has high expectations for himself and for those he connects with.
He looks for ways to serve others.
He knows he is an individual.
He knows that we are all one.
He knows he is an animal and a part of nature.
He knows his spirit and his connection to something greater.

He knows that the future generations are watching his actions.
He builds communities where people are respected and valued.
He takes responsibility for himself and is also willing to be his brother’s keeper.

He knows his higher purpose.
He loves with fierceness.
He laughs with abandon, because he gets the joke.

This is the Mature Masculine – the New Warrior – a re-definition of masculinity for the 21st century. By no means is this list complete. You are welcome to come and add your gifts to this community. –Boysen Hodgson