Jolie breastfeeding sculpture

Hippocampa alerts us to this sculpture of Angelina Jolie breastfeeding her twins.

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Here’s a quote from “a lactivist”:

“I, too, was inspired by Jolie’s nursing pic,” writes Cate Nelson of Eco Child’s Play. “As a lactivist, I think it’s fantastic when women like this show that natural human processes are even done by hot starlet MILFs.”

To be fair, the lactivist’s tongue may well have been firmly in her cheek.

“The Case Against Breastfeeding”

That’s the title of an article causing a huge controversy online. Its main contention is simply that there IS a case against breastfeeding, and that this deserves to be weighed up against the case for breastfeeding in each individual case– and that a decision not to breastfeed can be a reasonable and even good one. This shouldn’t be a surprising thought, really, or even a controversial one. But it goes against the widespread orthodoxy that breastfeeding is not only best but the ONLY acceptable decision. The thing that seems to make the case against breastfeeding so hard to see is that it requires taking mothers’ own needs and desires seriously. It requires seeing the following as expressing legitimate desires that deserve respect rather than expressions of contemptible selfishness:

I want to get back to my job.
I’m losing my mind from sleep deprivation and I want to sleep.
I don’t want to be hooked up to a pump for hours every day.
I want to share baby care equally with my partner.
My nipples are bleeding and I want the pain to stop.
I don’t like breastfeeding and I don’t want to do it.
My partner wants to be an equal partner in baby care and I want him/her to do that.

If these were seen as legitimate, it would be obvious that there are disadvantages of breastfeeding to be weighed against the advantages. But, all too often, they are not. Mothers are still supposed to do whatever they’re told to do for their babies, and any expression of a desire to do otherwise is emphatically not OK.
(I should note that the article also contains critiques of some of the science supporting breastfeeding. I’m not in a position to evaluate that.)

Breastfeeding Lawsuit Update

In the Carnival posted yesterday, I mentioned that a woman was suing to be allowed adequate time to pump breast milk during her medical boards. She lost her suit yesterday, with the judge claiming that she could simply postpone the test until after she was done breastfeeding, and noting that she had been offered such helpful accommodations as the chance to pump in a separate room *while* taking the test. The AP article notes that “federal anti-discrimination laws do not protect nursing mothers. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act that is pending in Congress would protect women from being fired or punished for pumping milk or nursing.” It’s not clear to me whether this act would get the woman the breaks she needs. Lovely, isn’t it, that the same medical establishment that has compared not breastfeeding to riding a mechanical bull while pregnant is completely unwilling to make it possible for women to keep up their breastfeeding? And aren’t you proud to have a judiciary that is so respectful of mothers’ needs? (Thanks, Jender-Parents!)

Immigration and breastfeeding

A Ugandan mother has been separated from her breastfeeding son and young daughter for two weeks, whilst awaiting deportation in Yarl’s Wood (one of the detention centres where failed asylum-seekers are held before being removed from the country). It is also reported that the woman has been denied breast pumps whilst in detention. This means that she is in constant pain, and runs the risk of her milk stopping before she is reunited with her son. This is just one of many cases, despite Home Office guidelines stating that breastfeeding children should not be removed from their mothers. More here.

CFA for CSWIP2019: Feminism and Food

CALL FOR PAPERS (AND ABSTRACTS)

Feminism and Food

October 25-27, 2019

University of Guelph

The Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy invites papers and panel proposals from all areas of philosophy and all philosophical approaches, including and not limited to analytic, continental, and historically oriented philosophy. Submissions related to the theme are especially welcome. Submissions of long abstracts (1000 words) are invited for eventual presentation of papers not exceeding 3000 words. Deadline: 12am EST, February 1, 2019. Email cswipsubmissions2019 at gmail dot com

Our conference theme is “Feminism and Food.” This conference asks participants to consider how food, as a topic worthy of philosophical investigation, is related to feminist challenges to traditional discourse. How has food been discussed in the history of philosophy, or overlooked? How has feminist philosophical scholarship taken into account issues including the ethics and politics of food production, availability, and consumption? What counts as food, and how are metaphysical claims regarding the nature of food related to our attitudes to animals, to climate, and to cultural geographies?

Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

Disability, Feminism, and Food Justice

Food in the Anthropocene

Indigenous Food

Anti-colonial Food Justice

Hunting and/or/versus Farming

Ethical Eating

Feminist Cooking

Hospitality

Diet Culture

Orthorexia

Gender and Gardening

Food Justice and Gender Justice

Food Deserts

Food and Literacy

Women and Food in Media and Marketing

Feeding and Eating With Nonhuman Friends

Please email the 1000 word abstract as a double-spaced document in Word or PDF, prepared for fully anonymous review. In your email, please provide your contact information and brief biographical material (for our SSHRC application), including: your institutional affiliation and degrees (starting with the most recent and specifying the discipline); recent positions and a few publications, especially those relevant to the event. We encourage all graduate students to indicate if they plan to submit the full versions of their papers for consideration for the 2019 Jean Harvey Student Award. To do so, please indicate in the body of your email that you would like for the paper to be considered. In that case, the completed paper, not exceeding 3000 words and prepared for anonymous review, must be submitted by 12am EST, Monday July 11, 2019.

Panel proposal submissions: Please submit two separate documents. 1) A panel proposal, including paper abstracts, for anonymous review. 2) A document with all panelist names and biographical information for the SSHRC application.

This conference will prioritize accessibility. Guidelines for accessible presentations will be distributed with successful participant notifications. Conference rooms and the reception space are wheelchair accessible, and information about wheelchair accessible transportation and accommodations will be available by the time of participant notifications. Participants will be asked to use microphones for all talks and for discussion periods. Food will be vegan/vegetarian, and there will be space on the registration form to note food allergies and sensitivities. Participants are asked not to bring or wear strong scents. A quiet room will be available.  Further information, such as information about childcare, breastfeeding and change room areas, and transportation to and from Guelph will be available soon at http://www.cswip.ca and also upon request. All conference participants will be asked to identify any presentation technologies and/or other supports required to participate, and anything else that can help mitigate potential barriers to participation. All information will be kept confidential. Please send all submissions to the following address: cswipsubmissions2019 at gmail dot com

 

SWIP UK/BUMP Conference

The Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Motherhood

In association with SWIP, BUMP & PHILBIRTH
University of Southampton
Avenue Campus
Building 65, lecture theatres B and C, and seminar room 1163
Thursday 21st June – Friday 22nd June 2018

Conference aims

Although philosophers have explored some issues related to pregnancy, birth and early motherhood – most obviously abortion and the value and metaphysics of coming into existence – relatively little philosophical attention has been paid to pregnancy, birth and (early) motherhood themselves. These are remarkable omissions because pregnancy, birth and early motherhood raise many interesting and important philosophical problems in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, feminism, the philosophy of science, and other areas.

Pregnancy is unlike anything else that a human being experiences. It involves the production of a new person through a deeply intimate process that can radically transform not only the pregnant person’s body, but also their understanding, values, and who and what they take themselves to be. Pregnancy is also the nucleus of a series of unique physiological processes surrounding reproduction: conception; pregnancy; birth; post-natal recovery and breastfeeding. These processes are of great significance for individuals and society. These are key aspects of human life that are under-investigated in philosophy and are often not dealt with adequately by existing ways of thinking, because they do not fit the paradigm of humans as discrete independent individuals with firm boundaries. In these unique physiological processes, the boundaries between human beings are blurred. This may require rethinking key conceptual schemes – or even how we understand human value. This conference will aim to address such issues.

Pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood inescapably involve issues of gender. Most people who undergo these physiological processes are women. Gender expectations contribute to how we understand the duties of pregnant women and mothers. However, not all persons who are pregnant, give birth, or lactate, identify as women or as mothers, and not all mothers experience pregnancy, birth, or lactation. The conference welcomes papers that address the concept of motherhood from a variety of perspectives, including the perspectives of those who have been pregnant but do not identify as mothers, perspectives of those who identify as mothers but have not been pregnant, and trans perspectives.

These issues are not just interesting and important in their own right, but are also relevant to public policy: pregnancy, birth and early motherhood are constant issues of public controversy and policy development. For this reason one of our keynote speakers will talk about policy during the conference. The conference will also host the SWIP annual general meeting and we will organise a practical advice panel on parenting and work-life balance in philosophy.

Invited speakers

Barbara Katz Rothman (City University of New York Graduate Center)
Elselijn Kingma (University of Southampton)
Sarah LaChance Adams (University of Wisconsin)
Maggie Little (Georgetown)
Clare Murphy (British Pregnancy Advisory Service)
Guy Rohrbaugh (Auburn University)
Stella Villarmea (University of Alcala)
Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton)

Accepted speakers

Robbie Arrell (Wuhan University)
Teresa Baron (University of Southampton)
Lior Betzer (University of Haifa)
Sara Cohen Shabot (University of Haifa)
Sara Gavrell (University of Puerto Rico)
Jean Kazez (Southern Methodist University)
Siu-Fan Lee (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Jane Lymer (University of Wollongong)
Liz McKinnell (Durham University)
Nicole Miglio (University of Milan)
Anna Smajdor (University of Oslo)

For more information, including registration, go here.

Any queries should be sent to the organiser, Suki Finn, at suki.finn@soton.ac.uk

CFA: Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood (SWIP UK annual conference)

In association with SWIP, BUMP & PHILBIRTH,

University of Southampton

Thursday 21st June – Friday 22nd June 2018

Conference aims

Although philosophers have explored some issues related to pregnancy, birth and early motherhood – most obviously abortion and the value and metaphysics of coming into existence – relatively little philosophical attention has been paid to pregnancy, birth and (early) motherhood themselves. These are remarkable omissions because pregnancy, birth and early motherhood raise many interesting and important philosophical problems in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, feminism, the philosophy of science, and other areas.

Pregnancy is unlike anything else that a human being experiences. It involves the production of a new person through a deeply intimate process that can radically transform not only the pregnant person’s body, but also their understanding, values, and who and what they take themselves to be. Pregnancy is also the nucleus of a series of unique physiological processes surrounding reproduction: conception; pregnancy; birth; post-natal recovery and breastfeeding. These processes are of great significance for individuals and society. These are key aspects of human life that are under-investigated in philosophy and are often not dealt with adequately by existing ways of thinking, because they do not fit the paradigm of humans as discrete independent individuals with firm boundaries. In these unique physiological processes, the boundaries between human beings are blurred. This may require rethinking key conceptual schemes – or even how we understand human value. This conference will aim to address such issues.

Pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood inescapably involve issues of gender. Most people who undergo these physiological processes are women. Gender expectations contribute to how we understand the duties of pregnant women and mothers. However, not all persons who are pregnant, give birth, or lactate, identify as women or as mothers, and not all mothers experience pregnancy, birth, or lactation. The conference welcomes papers that address the concept of motherhood from a variety of perspectives, including the perspectives of those who have been pregnant but do not identify as mothers, perspectives of those who identify as mothers but have not been pregnant, and trans perspectives.

These issues are not just interesting and important in their own right, but are also relevant to public policy: pregnancy, birth and early motherhood are constant issues of public controversy and policy development. For this reason one of our keynote speakers will talk about policy during the conference. The conference will also host the SWIP annual general meeting and we will organise a practical advice panel on parenting and work-life balance in philosophy.

Invited speakers

Rebecca Schiller (Chief Executive at BirthRights – policy)

Barbara Katz Rothman (City University of New York Graduate Center – sociology)

Maggie Little (Georgetown – ethics)

Sarah LaChance Adams (University of Wisconsin – feminism)

Guy Rohrbaugh (Auburn University – metaphysics)

Elselijn Kingma (University of Southampton – philosophy of science)

Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton – epistemology)

Read More »

Philosophy of Early Motherhood

An interview with Fiona Woollard.  A small sample:

When we demand that mothers defend their choice to use formula, we treat them as if they have a defeasible duty to breastfeed.

When we treat arguments supporting breastfeeding, or even any celebration of breastfeeding, as an attack on formula feeders, we are assuming that if breastfeeding is good, then mothers must have a defeasible duty to breastfeed.

But the fact that something is good normally only give me a reason to do it, not a defeasible duty. Because it would be good to raise money for cancer research, I have a reason to run a marathon. But I don’t have a duty. If I don’t run, then other people can’t accost me, demanding that I justify this. And I don’t need to feel guilty. But the reason helps to make sense of what I do and gives other people reason to support me.

I think that if breastfeeding is beneficial, mothers have a reason to breastfeed, but do not have a duty to breastfeed. Once we recognise this, we can see that it is possible to argue for the need to support breastfeeding *without* implying that formula feeders should feel guilty.

Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public

CALL FOR PAPERS (AND ABSTRACTS)

Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public:

Theory, Policy, and Practice

October 27-29, 2017

Western University, London, Ontario

The conference will feature a workshop from feminist philosophers involved in policy. We welcome submissions about the variety of ways that feminist philosophers engage the public whether that’s through blogging and social media, taking part in policy decisions, philosophy cafes, or through activism.

Our keynote speaker will be Professor Françoise Baylis, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Dalhousie University. Baylis is a philosopher who does innovative work in bioethics at the intersection of policy and practice. Her extensive publication record spans many topics, including research involving children, the role of bioethics consultants, women’s health, human embryo research, and novel genetic technologies. As a frequent guest on CBC and Radio Canada, and the author of many news stories about ethical issues, Baylis regularly engages the public on a wide range of issues. She also contributes to national policy-making via government research contracts, membership on national committees, and public education. This work – all of which is informed by a strong commitment to the common good – focuses largely on issues of social justice.

The Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy invites papers and panel proposals on the conference theme from all areas of philosophy and all philosophical approaches, including and not limited to analytic, continental, and historically oriented philosophy.

Submissions of long abstracts (1000 words) are invited for eventual presentation of papers not exceeding 3000 words. Deadline: 12am EST, February 1, 2017.

  1. Please email the abstract as a double-spaced document in Word, prepared for fully anonymous review.
  2. In your email, please provide your contact information and brief biographical material (for our SSHRC application), including: your institutional affiliation and degrees (starting with the most recent and specifying the discipline); recent positions and publications, especially those relevant to the event.
  3. We encourage all graduate students to submit their papers for consideration for the 2017 Jean Harvey Student Award. To do so, please indicate in the body of your email that you would like for the paper to be considered. In that case, the completed paper, not exceeding 3000 words and prepared for anonymous review, must be submitted by 12am EST, Monday July 11, 2017.

Panel proposal submissions: Please submit two separate documents. 1) A panel proposal, including paper abstracts, for anonymous review. 2) A document with all panelist names and biographical information for the SSHRC application.

This conference will prioritize accessibility. Guidelines for accessible presentations will be distributed with successful participant notifications. Conference rooms and the reception space are wheelchair accessible, and information about wheelchair accessible transportation and accommodations will be available by the time of participant notifications. Participants will be asked to use microphones for all talks and for discussion periods. Food will be vegan/vegetarian, and there will be space on the registration form to note food allergies and sensitivities. Participants are asked not to bring or wear strong scents. A quiet room will be available.

Further information, such as information about childcare, breastfeeding and change room areas, and transportation to and from London will be available soon at http://www.cswip.ca and also upon request.

All conference participants will be asked to identify any presentation technologies and/or other supports required to participate, and anything else that can help mitigate potential barriers to participation. All information will be kept confidential.

Please send all submissions to the following address: cswipsubmissions2017@gmail.com

Questions? Please email Samantha Brennan, sbrennan@uwo.ca