Tuesday, 21 June 2011

We're Winning

copyright Cavendish Press
"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  

You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read.  

You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.  

You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.  

We have seen the future, and the future is ours."

~Cesar Chavez

The above picture appears today in the Daily Mail.  Yes, that's right, the DAILY MAIL.  The blurb mentions nothing negative about breastfeeding.  In fact, the article is a very positive one.

This is such an important moment.  Such.

The culture is slowly turning.  Slowly, sometimes backwards after a few steps forward, but slowly, step by step, inching forward.  This photograph would have been impossible 5 years ago.  A mainstream junky news paper, carrying this image?  Ten years ago, there would have been outrage?  Even two years ago, the editor might have hesitated.  Yes, they have used it deliberately.  Yes, they are expecting a little bit of a frisson.  Yes, their job is to sell newspapers.

But the text... the text reveals nothing but solid, excellent and positive reporting on the flashmob event.

A breastfeeding flashmob!  Who'dv'thunk?  :-)

This picture in the Daily Mail?  Who'dv'thunk?

I don't post very often anymore.  The reason is, I don't need to.  As I've always said, the internet is changing the world, one mother to another.  One woman to another.  We can connect, reach out, activate: change.  Change ourselves, change the culture.  One breastfeed at a time.  :-)

The above picture fills me with such hope.  Combined with the remarkable events of the past week or so, as the entire lacvavist world has taken arms in support of Alma and Habiba... well, I just smile.  Smile at the fact that we just do it, now.  We just stand up and shout for our babies' rights... and it's wonderful


It's not to say it's getting easier.  In fact, it's getting a lot harder in the corporate and political world.  Massive inroads are being made into protection for babies in terms of commercial attack.  The World Health Organisation and the United Nations is being invaded by corporate interests, offering corporate sponsorship to 'help' health funds.  Misguided entrepreneurs are pouring billions of dollars into buying pea nut sachets and diarrhea vaccines, rather than in making sure clean water and full breasts are available on demand.  People who are concerned and loving and compassionate, are pouring efforts into dealing with symptoms, not addressing the underlying causes.

Corporate interests mask their need to make money, by handing out money to 'help' in ways that may kill more than it saves.  At home, formula advertising is now so skilled at showing formula feeding on tv despite the ban, most of us can't watch the adverts without screaming any more.  The NHS is undelivering breastfeeding support at an alarming rate.  Formula companies are deftly fighting to have unsubstantiated health claims put on their packaging, and they are winning.

It's not a good time to be fighting for babies, in the boardrooms.  In the closed and smoky rooms.  In the committee meetings and in the halls of power.  In fact, it's probably the darkest it has been for a very long long time, for the real political work.

Which just shows you how much effect we're all having.  :-)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."  

~ Mohandas Ghandi

They are not laughing anymore.  They are, indeed, fighting back very very hard.  But they are losing the culture battle.  The poltical one they may be making inroads in, but the above photo in today's Daily Mail, combined with this quote...

A stunned onlooker said: 'It's not every day you see that many breasts while out doing your shopping. I suppose it's a good way of getting people to listen to the message. I fully support them.' 

... shows just how much we are winning the battle for the daily live.  The being a breastfeeding dyad, in public, and not being oppressed.  Not being laughed at, ridiculed, thrown off the plane, thrown of the bus, sacked, moved job, sent to the bathroom, denied access to our babies... the list goes on.  

As does the battle.  :-)

When you read this post, and rejoice in the photo, and what it says... also remember that when you start to win, they really start to fight back.  We're winning: they are fighting back.  Big time.  As well as all the other work you are doing, the flashmobs, the picnics, the simple being with your baby and having fun outside in public spaces.  The facebook groups, the internet forums in support... as well as doing all this, you should also do something else.  Something real and tangible to fight those who are seriously fighting back.  You should help the ones walking in the corridors of power, trying to stop the corporate inroads.

Send these people some money.

If we weren't' winning, they wouldn't be fighting so hard.

Help the fight: DONATE

Mother to Mother.  Baby to Baby.  Woman to Woman.

We are all Habiba.

And goodness, ain't we wonderful?


Jane Impromptu said...

I get goose bumps and smile each time I read this post.

Anonymous said...

I love that you can see some dads in there too!

The Lazy Mama said...

It is an awesome view. Yes, I believe we are winning!

Frustrated Fairy said...

great post!!

maria said...

Love love this post and the pics!

Erin said...

Okay, I must have misinterpreted the article, but I didn't take this to be a positive thing.

The statements "bared their breasts" and "bore all" do nothing but support the misconception that breastfeeding is indecent and that breastfeeding mothers show a lot of skin.

As for the quote, "It's not every day you see that many breasts while out doing your shopping" I'd like to know where this woman shops, because I see more breast than that every time I shop.

This does nothing to normalize breastfeeding. All it does is reinforce the negative stereotypes that people already have.

Morgan said...

Clearly, you've never read British newspaper very often! :-)

dsumpt01 said...

This is SO uplifting because it is true!! Erin, I too saw those "bearing all" comments, and tutted - but compared to many of the articles, this IS indeed positive!!
I have believed that this must happen eventually - and Morgan has encapsulated the fact that the shift is happening in front of our very eyes!!

maggieorganizingchaos said...

I shared it all over my socials and twitter. I made SURE to draw attention to those that have both given me a HARD time and those that have given me SUPPORT. THIS POST MADE MY DAY! Thank you so much!

I am also an old momma. First time (other than stepkids) at 42 - almost 43 @ ds birth. I too, did not expect this to happen in my 40s...and it has made my life something I never dreamed it could be! Thank you for giving such a strong voice to women-like-us!!!

I see ERIN's points, but they are misplaced here. They belong somewhere else on a different day, different focus indeed! ERIN, please visit www.weareallhabiba.blotspot.com and then visit the Worldwide Women Support Habiba: IMMF give her baby back page on facebook... you will see how much this matters in a positive way! :-)

maggieorganizingchaos said...

I too am an older momma (46 with 3yo soon to go on 4 and breastfeeding still on demand, cosleeping for as long as he wants). THIS POST ROCKS! It made my day! I shared it everywhere and made sure to draw the attention to it of those that both gave me crap and those that supported me. THIS POST was a pat on my back! And then you took it a step further and addressed the higher ground that needs to be scaled. You are one rockin' momma! :-)

I see ERIN's points clearly - but ERIN, they belong in a different post with a different focus on a different day. JOIN us on Worldwide Women Support Habiba on facebook and www.weareallhabiba.blogspot.com and you will see what I mean. This IS positive!

Momma in Progress said...

I agree with Erin . . . I am not familiar with this particular publication, but just because it's Not Awful compared to their usual, it doesn't make it positive. I cringed through most of it . . . the wording is terrible, the perpetuated stereotypes . . . ugh. Did not see this as "winning" at all.

Anonymous said...

I love this so much!! I would so LOVE to be a part of one this movements! WTG mamas!

Morgan said...

You know, it's really interesting about 'winning'. The moment in the journey when you notice the tide is turning. Not the end point, not the 'win'. But a moment in the continuing journey.

And, also, if we'd 'won', there would be no article. We don't' report on normal everyday things. And we don't have flashmobs about normal everyday things either!

This is a _process_. And boy, what an amazing point to reach in this one! :-)

Muddling Along said...

Isn't it great - made me really smile and feel all fizzy inside

I really don't know what has come over the Daily Mail but yes, there were boobs and there were babies feeding and it was positive AND they have put up images of women nursing so continuing the positive reinforcement that this is normal and great

As you say, the aggressive actions by formula companies are a reaction to the tide having begun to turn

Long may it continue!

BreastFeeding Top Shop said...

Thank you for the post, great work!

Women said...

Wow, there's some dads with their wives!! very supportive! :)