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kate-winsletso i recently dragged t-bone and my lovely friend L. to revolutionary road (*spoiler alert*) which stars my amazing and wonderific girlfriend kate winslet. hubba hubba. my life, it appears, seems to be at the crossroads of some kind of feminist revolution. i know. heavy dude.

it is a little like teaching my students about feminism. it is a pretty eye-opening experience. the stuff about feminism is familiar – it is theory i have been immersed in since i began my post-secondary schooling. rather, the eye-opening bit is about young women’s (and men’s) reactions to feminism. i have been grappling with why feminism is such a difficult topic since i began teaching and feel as though i might have gotten a smidge of insight after watching revolutionary road.

you have to understand that i was completely and utterly vibratingly excited about revolutionary road. after seeing kate winslet win for best actress on the golden globes, i vowed to see it as.soon.as.possible. and i did. but i didn’t have the reaction to it that i expected. it left me a little cold. even though it was a beautifully written and acted film, i was untouched. perhaps because it was  familiar tale. suburban couple. hate lives. disaffected from social roles. gendered complications. the end. i simplify, but this is ultimately the jist. kate was powerful as april. leo was beautifully weak in his role as frank. but their lives and their constraints seemed so far away. another lifetime when divorce was unthinkable and choice had yet to be fully fought for. don’t get me wrong. t-bone and L. thought there were resonances to he present day – questions like: what is truth and what is the truth of your life? are you living your truth? is your (gendered) role your truth? and it fundamentally asks you to question beliefs about the past. who was strong and who was weak. what weakness can turn people into. what the social constraints on lives can lead people to do. to be.

but resonate? not for me. at first i was angry. i really wanted the film to speak to me. to bring a larger truth to bear on the realities of the everyday. and then i wondered, isn’t this the problem that students have with feminism? aren’t they waiting for the punchline, the relate-ability, the way in to what once was? i mean yes, it is hard to understand our lives in terms of the past, but it isn’t impossible. nor should we think it is self-evident. we need to dig into the past to find answers to our present. and if we think those answers – or questions – will be easy to formulate then we’ll be left a little cold. a little distanced. perhaps it is the nature of our society. our individualism. that makes us want without giving. take without asking. and maybe, just maybe, revolutions don’t start with having all the answers. or having readily available all the ways something relates exactly to our individual experiences. sometimes we need to dig a little deeper. and not demand that the surface deliver our truths.

boobpillowbecause of the recent spike in activity on my blog, mainly because of my inclusion of the word “boob” in a recent post (well, only because of that really), i have decided to write an open letter to all the people out there who come to my blog, hoping for boobs, only to be disappointed by a discussion of women’s agency. boo-urns, eh? i bet it is a little disappointing for them. and i want them to know that they are welcomed and cared for by the thoughtful spaz, despite the fact that she ain’t got what they are googlin’. so here goes kids.

dear boob fetishist,

firstly, thank you for the enlightening and eye-opening introduction into the world of breast-obsession. while i have a set of my own, and seriously admire a nice rack, i have always felt somewhat outside your world. however, i underestimated your kindness and generousity in letting me in and your willingness to openly google (cause i can see what terms you’ve entered that brought you to my site, in case you didn’t know) phrases such as: “getting milk from boobs,” “milk boobs,” and, my personal favourite, “feeding milk and sex.” now while it is possible that santa googled the last phrase (that kinky bastard), i think i am recognizing a trend that doesn’t have much to do with the rights of breastfeeding mothers, women’s agentic acts of nudity, women’s choice, or even naturism. but i have to hand it to you, you have certainly opened my eyes to a new fetish. one that i would now like to inquire about.

basically i just have one question.

what the f*ck is that all about?

now, please don’t take this as a judgment. i consider myself an open-minded person who appreciates the “queering” of everyday lives and sexual desires. and i get that it’s nasty and taboo and all oedipal and such. but i wonder what actual images you are searching for. and if you ever find yourself in uncomfortable or compromising conversations with lactating mothers. perhaps, using my blog as a launching post, you could begin a handbook on your particular fetish and inform the world. and also find yourselves a name. lactoerotics? milkers? i’ll leave the ultimate decision up to you.

in conclusion, thank you for expanding my world and making me think more about what breast milk tastes like. or at least what you think it tastes like. and thank you as well for expanding the notion of what it means to be a mother. you have even managed to sexualize breast milk. i am gonna give you a big bravo on that one.

yours breastfully,

jacks

p.s. – please consider the pillow above something you could take with you to work to get through those long days. or hump like my friend J.’s dog does to his doggie bed. totally up to you.

k – i should be prepping my lecture for tomorrow’s class (on the history of feminist theory and the “waves” of feminism no less!) but t-bone and i (sorry to implicate you in this honey) had this hilarious conversation about what if our cats filled out something akin to say, online dating profiles. i know, random. and this will only be funny to me (and possibly t-bone but prolly not cause i implicated him in having this ridiculous conversation and he might be borderline considering a ban on the use of him, or anyone resembling him, in future ancedotes).

anyhoo. you’ve been warned. now, onto the kitty dating profiles.

hobbes1

username: hobbesie (to cute it up for the ladies. or boys. whatever. i’m open)

likes:

  • anyone (takes after his mother, otherwise known as the attention whore)
  • junk scratches (obviously)
  • salmon-flavoured anything
  • scavenging – more specifically – licking the butter
  • mice that make a noise when you toss them into the air
  • licking sachets of catnip till they drip with my spit
  • running into the uncharted territory that is the hallway and screaming at  the top of my lungs
  • screaming at anyone who is standing
  • screaming
  • keeping parents awake by 1) screaming and 2) terrorizing sister

dislikes:

  • bianca (above mentioned sister)
  • whenever anyone doesn’t pay attention to me (learned behaviour from mother)
  • when people are too shy to go as low as i like with the junk scratches
  • cat food – i generally prefer butter

bianca

username: biancs (more chic than plain ole bianca)

likes:

  • aggressive (some might say heavy) petting
  • throwing up hairballs – but only on the carpet
  • drinking out of glasses
  • scratching the litter box and surrounding area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time – longer if parental units are sleeping
  • making bird noises at birds that are just out of my grasp (that is to say, outside the window on trees and telephone wires that i would never, on any planet, be able to reach)
  • hiding under the bed when anyone comes to visit
  • immobile people whose laps look inviting – possibly mannequins (which my parents should look into)
  • rapid-fire smacking kittens, and especially hobbes, unexpectedly in the head
  • death-breathing – which i do when anyone does anything to me that i don’t like (makes them worry i might be dying so they immediately cease and desist. works like a charm)

dislikes:

  • hobbes. and his constant brown-nosing and attention-whoring. makes me sick to my – BLETCH! (*chokes up sausage-sized hairball*) – stomach
  • people. when they: come in the door, move, stand, walk, and especially when they walk in a way that could be construed as “in my direction”
  • hobbes
  • loud noises
  • when hobbes licks me – i pretend to like it so i don’t have to bathe myself but i.hate.him and everything he stands for
  • tall people
  • people that like me

alright. i’m satisfied. teehee. please feel free to include in the comments any of your pet’s likes and dislikes.

maybe we can matchmake.

meow.

so besides finding out that posts about boobs means lotsa blog traffic (oh, that den of sin called the internets!) and forgetting to demand that you all go see doubt (go. now. i command you!) because of my love/crush/obsession with weepy streepy – i mean comeon! just look at these faces:

meryl_streep

i have to update you on another important matter. that is: showing my ass atop grouse mountain today while skiing. okay, i exaggerate. but here is what unfolded. i have decided to use the sage voice of t-bone for this because i imagine that skiing with me is equivalent to a root canal and so this is a tribute to his patience, love, and misguided attempts to turn me into a skier. poor t-bone.

here goes (remember we are inside the wise and courageous mind of my husband – these thoughts cannot be attributed to the thoughtful spaz – moi- because they are simply too logical. and guy-y):

10:30am – if i have to show her one more time how to properly carry her skis, i might injure myself. however, if i have to wait any longer for her, i might kill her. what he actually says: “comin’?”

10:31am – flip! just put them together like i told you! hehe. i just said flip like bret does on flight of the conchords. i’m funny.

10:35am – alright. she managed to get her spastic ass into the gondola. we might actually ski/snowboard today. just smile. then busy myself with my phone. she usually gets bored of that pretty quick.

10:43am – “let’s take this run, k?” now i have to wait a century until she gets her skis on. “ready?”

10:47am – she still doesn’t have them on. now she’s complaining. maybe next time i’ll come alone. i remember that being fun. before i was married…

10: 49am – she’s still complaining – “what? no you didn’t. really. i’m sure you didn’t split your pants. it just sounded that way. they’re fine. ski ahead and i’ll check”

10:50am – oh yeah. those are split. hehe. that’s funny. no laughing, she already wants to go home. i can see it. damage control. damage control! god. i hope she doesn’t cry.

10:51am – “you can’t even see it. really. the insulatey material is the same colour. really. now let’s go. wait – your boot is open – close it”

10:52am – oh shit. she just split them more. maybe she didn’t hear that.  *holds breath*

so anyhoo. two hours later we get down to the bottom (after i fell about a million times on my newly exposed ass because apparently “fresh powder” means jacks falls on said ass. a lot) and i realize that yes, my ass was hanging out and it was a lot worse than t-bone told me. bless his heart though. cause he helped. and cause i didn’t cry. and i only made everything his fault for about 45 minutes.

so alls well that ends well.

i guess.

gotmilkso thanks to work i used to do on public nudity i still know folks in the nudy petudy business. and that has meant, strangely, that my new year has been filled with well…boobies. and lots of ’em. lemmie ‘splain.

a sage and mentor of the naturist movement whom i know, and once had a clothed interview audience with, is a defiant advocate for the right to breastfeed in public. in particular, his most recent cause is for facebook to stop removing breastfeeding photos arbitrarily that someone in the faceless realm of facebook censorship – is it you mark zuckerburg? – considers “vaguely pornographic.” apparently facebook has a problem with nipples. who knew? well. maybe some of you did. you dirty beasts.

anyhoo.

so this leads me to the question – which is not what you are thinking and sorry P. that i might not be going in the intended direction – but when is a child too old to breastfeed? or wait. is that the question? the boob fire has been lit under me and now it just needs to be discussed dammit. call it jacks’ war on nipples. or nipplepalooza. or nipplefest. just make sure there are nipples.

i just watched a “newsmagazine” about this topic and they took this issue to heart showing four-year-olds and eight-year-olds nursing. of course this causes uproar. disgust. outrage. but why? why can’t women catch a break? which brings us to the gendered nature of tits (doesn’t it?). my next research project. (just kidding. well. maybe). but really, the women interviewed make the helpful and important distinction – which is the direction i believe P. is going in – which is a legitimate, feminist point about the right of women to bare their breasts in the “service” of feeding their children the “natural” way. but as always, this fight turns into something else. the right for women to connect with their bodies and their children in “natural” ways. which essentializes. and we don’t like that, do we dear bloggy friends?

my frustration is focused on the dichotomy which is inevitably created between the “naturalness” of the naked human body, especially women’s bodies (we are closer to nature, dontcha know? all godless-like and such. borf) and the seemingly un-naturalness of sexuality. or the apparent division between the two. i mean i get it. i studied naturists for long enough to know that the only way you make yourself legitimate as a naked person in public is by saying that it’s “natural” and not “sexual,”  thus creating the bind that these women find themselves in. the argument goes something like this: i should be able to post my booby my pics on facebook because i am doing a natural motherly thing feeding them (the age thing is still the wildcard here) and its not sexual because i am naturally made to feed kids. so it’s not sexual to show pics of my breasts when it is in the service of feeding my kids. k, all good. ‘cept for the fact that this argument requires you not only to make the relevant distinction between boobs for milk and boobs for sex (see above pic), but also requires women to turn themselves effectively into the “natural” baby-milking machine called mother. it requires a reliance on stereotypes of nurturing women and their proper role as caregiver. maybe this is just the eggnog talking, but it is a double-edged sword. not the nursing per se. but the lengths women go to legitimate the naturalness of boob-showing as a function of motherhood.

now, i don’t want anyone to get me wrong. i am an absolute, no question, fervent advocate of breastfeeding. in public. in private. in those cute little rooms in the mall that are made for moms that i wish i could go into without seeming creepy. but we women have enough to deal with without being the goddesses of milk. let’s advocate showing our tits for tits sake. let’s nipple it up. and someone pass the bottle.

epilogue: while i introduced the notion of older-age breastfeeding, i didn’t really address it. peruse the official petition to facebook about breastfeeding not being obscene and P.’s site for the banned facebook photos. tell me what you think about boobs. and eight-year-olds. cause this is important to the earth’s planetary rotation.

swears.

skinny-fat-phobiai stole the title for this post from a post i did about a year ago at this time because i think it is awesome to cite myself and such. in a reflective (reflexive?) move, i am going to flirt with blogging more. of course, i say that at the tail end of a christmas vacation going a bit stale, hence the question mark. i can only produce  so much and with the teaching and the finishing of the dissertation, i might be busier than i think (that was a question. i think). other things i am currently doing that are bonkers (and possibly the result of the massive amount i have eaten over the past 2 weeks. well, more than that. but stop monitoring me forgodsake!):

  1. twittering. well. i haven’t twittered yet. but i have signed up (under the username beefjacky) and i’m gonna. just.you.wait.
  2. sending xmas presents AFTER xmas. sorry ma, pa, and well…everyone else.
  3. watching many, many hours of corner gas. that’s t-bone’s fault. saskatchewan-lovin’ bastard that he is.
  4. not exercising. this doesn’t sound badass but it is. i get a little squirrely when i don’t exercise. like all coopy. and jack nicholson-y in the shining.

but anyhoo. in service of upping the blog ante, i am going to talk about my new favourite topic. which of course is fat. which means it isn’t really a departure. but i have already done a bunch of bonkers things (see above) and i gotta ease into blogging more (which is the goal) and what this “new blog” will look like (probably just more stuff about how much jacks loves jacks. another favourite topic).

i think in the liminal days between vacation and real life/work people take stock of all that they have overdone, be it eating, spending money, or spending time with relatives who make you feel good about yourself (if you were brought up in some kind of brady bunch scenario) or bad about yourself (if you are like everybody else). i’ve never had family members say anything about my weight but i come from a long line of people who pay attention. and then talk about what they noticed. not gossips per say. just really observant folk. i say all this because i have been thinking a lot about the shame associated with fatness. even oprah will be talking about her embarassment over her (re)weight gain in upcoming january shows. and it makes me sad. how hard it is for women to be in their own skin.

i often think back to how when i gained 30 pounds because of the dreaded freshman fifteen (which doubled for me probably because i have never been able to do math). and how no one mentioned it. how people must have been talking about it behind my back, but no one broached it, unless i did first. okay, so 30lbs isn’t that much you say. but it was noticeable. and i wonder why no one said anything. fatness is a peculiarly gendered phenomenon. where women are encouraged to notice weight on one another. yet not speak of it for fear of causing someone shame. i am not trying to say that someone should have talked to me and “saved” me from my weight gain. but i kinda felt like i had no one to talk to about it. like i was differently embodied (than i had been), with no where to turn. i managed to internalize notions of disgust and sheer intolerance for my extra 30 pounds, considering the kind of fat phobic culture that surrounded me (and by this, i mean the kind of fat phobic culture i think we are all complicitous in and aware of without necessary knowing the harm it causes. and the bodies it punishes). my point is, women – in their complex cooperative-but-competitive relation – support one another until it comes to weight. then it’s every woman for herself. or the unspoken self-esteem-crushing complicity of categorizing our flaws for one another. damaging ourselves for the purposes of relatability. i did it for years. and now that causes me shame.

we have a hard time acknowleding fat. talking about it like it really matters. like it really affects our lives. maybe it is inappropriate for a “thin woman” (so many problems with this determination, not least its relativity) to speak about fat like it matters. maybe that is why it remains unspoken. like if we don’t talk openly about fat oppression, we just get to live in privileged silence. silence that breeds silence to your face. and rebuke behind your back.

so let’s talk fat. whaddoyou gotta say?