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Archive for March, 2010

From Grass to Cheese is the name of a new documentary about family farming. I learned about this film by clicking on a picture of a cow eating grass… The picture really sums it up. Cows eat grass. They make milk. We take milk and with minimal effort turn it into a variety of products that benefit us, nutritionally and otherwise. But alas, there is no grass to your cheese, unless you have really searched far and beyond your local Safeway. From Corn to Cheese would be more accurate, but considerably less compelling…and far less nutritious. Cheese and butter made from the milk of pasture grazing cows is nutrient dense and very much worth the cost. The taste is better too; more cheese-like and more butter-like. Try some.

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There is a new rule at our house: No hiding in the washing machine. As you can see, some of us don’t always follow the rules.

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This blog is being completely infiltrated by my school assignments. Thats my disclaimer. We are also embarking upon Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which I have written about before. Thats my other disclaimer.

Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt is an essay written by Jean Kilbourne. It documents a recent history of sexism and blatant oppression and objectification of women in the media; in advertising, specifically. For instance, an ad for shaving gel depicts a picture of a nice looking man on the left with the word “heartbreak” under his photo and a razor on the right with the phrase, “soap and water shave”. The enlarged and catchy text is where the essay derives its title, “Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt”. The article suggests that a man = inevitable pain for women, comparative of a bad shaving job which also inevitably inflicts physical injury. The implications of this advertisement are huge and multifaceted…the fact that so many of these sexist dominated ads are for products that invariably subject women to male superiority and preference is telling in and of itself. Alcohol is strongly implicated in (although not responsible for) many assault cases with female victims and male batterers, and is marketed by heavy sexism. Shaving products? Really? While women have historically made valiant attempts to rid themselves of bodily hair, one might question, why? Why the effort? The cost? At this point in time, I believe it is safe to say, there is a standard of beauty and it includes hairless women. One must not offend the men that hold women to that standard.

I find the aforementioned image illuminating. We live in a society that is heavy with heterosexual priviledge and gender entitlements. Of course advertising reflects that. I also don’t think that any of us can expect corporate media to advocate peace in the way of freedom from the oppression of society and domestic violence and sexual assault and whatever it looks like to specific people who might not include themselves as victims under these labels.

And…if you live in Homer or thereabouts, you should definitely attend Stand Up For Peace which is one step towards cultivating awareness of the problems to which we seek solutions.

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So, I take Judah to alot of playgroups. Homer is a nice little town and rates highly in the ‘fun activities for babies’ criteria…I hear that Bethel is really lacking playgroups (but I actually have friends there) and while Fairbanks has it’s own share of baby oriented events (and friends), I would have to, you know, drive alot further to reach them. I certainly would not walk to them. Thus, Homer wins out again, I suppose. The thing is though, people overhear me at these playgroups asking Judah if she needs to use the bathroom and they look at me in a strange manner and ask me if she is potty trained. This provokes eye rolling on my part, as the answer is complicated and if I go into it attempting to explain, they will think I’m crazy and probably won’t even believe me, so the question leaves me at a loss for an answer.

I’m sure I have mentioned this before, when I tell people about elimination communication, they think I’m nuts. They tell me it does not work. (Oh, really?) They say it’s terribly hard. Gross. Complicated. Biologically impossible. I just really don’t understand, I mean, what is not to embrace about not changing diapers?

So anyway, the ridiculous thing is that I am in the midst of writing an (overdue) essay about elimination communication for my English class. Perhaps I shall begin passing my Finished Product out to those who question me regarding Judah’s “elimination” habits. I suppose our playgroups provide a general demographic of people who represent the targeted audience of my argument. Perhaps my essay with it’s strong thesis and several supporting reasons would succeed at convincing individuals of what is apparently biological normal anyway. But wouldn’t the cost effectiveness be a convincing factor in and of itself? For instance, imagine spending less than $200 on diapers (which are reusable even, as they are cloth!) for a child (such as i did…) as opposed to spending between $2,000 – $3,000 which is the average spent for conventionally potty trained and disposable diapered children. Or the environmental factor…no washing diapers, no diapers in the trash, but poo and pee in the potty, as a reasonable alternative! Or the convenience of the brilliant scheme! I have never packed around a diaper bag. Zach, (five month old) Judah and I were stranded in Anchorage once with no diapers of any kind, but as sense would dictate, we did have a tiny toilet for our small child, and she used it and never once had need of a diaper. In a similar situation, I was stranded at a conference in Girdwood once, for three days with (six month old) Judah sans diapers…we had one small pee incident. One!

The other ridiculous thing is, a lady followed me home in her car one day, yelling out of her window to me, “are you the one who potty trained her baby?” So I gave her a book about ec, called Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. The book is now in the process of being passed around to various pregnant women at the playgroup. Hopefully they will read it and learn.

It’s easy! It’s simple! I only wonder, why would someone choose not to practice ec?

I should add…I do have nice friends in Homer. But still, I resent the fact that most of the people  I know and love live in two far away destinations.

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In one of my textbooks for school, there is a cartoon in which a young girl holding a rag doll is standing outside of an open doorway. One caption says, “knock, knock” and the other says, “who’s there”. The sign on the door says “internet chat rooms” and you can see inside the doorway into a dark, dark room with many sets of eyes peering out, but no faces. It’s obviously an illustration of the known dangers of internet chat rooms and the many cases of tragedy that have befallen young children who interact in these chat rooms. I have spent many hours in trainings about the dangers that the internet presents to kids. Everyone has seen the cop shows. Abductions, Sexual misconduct with minors…murder. It seems as though the internet provides a haven of relative anonymity to predators and perpetrators of sexual crimes against children, specifically. Pretty alarming things take place in and because of these chat rooms. What kind of infringement of free speech or cencorship would it be to ban them? Worthwhile, or a violation of rights?

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Oh My!

If you were hoping to be offended today, please click on this link. Peruse all of these shocking images…and then scroll down to focus on number seven. It’s possibly less alarming than most of the other advertisements, however what I find most disturbing is the fact that it was banned. I mean, smoking kills, right? I think the fact that smoking is harmful has been established and not as a simple, painless process either, but rather as a long and drawn out ordeal. Not at all glamorous. Why then is the analogy of pain or even death too distressing for viewers? Arguably, the fish hook through the lip has nothing to do with smoking, however, I think it’s a little bit clever. Get unhooked? Kinda clever, anyway. So, does the problem lie within the possibility that the ad is just a bit too powerful? Maybe it will convince a few too many people? Who exactly benefits from this ad being banned? Thats what I am wondering…

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