Monday, December 19, 2011

Discretion is the better part of what now?

Rant time. You have been warned.
Prompted by a comment on this photo (via Emma Kwasnica).

"Sex sells..but motherhood and breastfeeding in public is embarrassing to the bystander ? Woman should not flaunt it but just be discreet about it and all should be okay !"

So I ask, what shall I do to be discreet?

Seriously now. What would your definition be?

If I am at a restaurant, and my newborn needs to nurse ahead of schedual, how would I go about fulfilling their needs without offending you?

Many people would not notice if a simply raised my singlet, lowered my shirt and nursed. The only part of my body exposed would rather rapidly be in my child's mouth. Would this be acceptable?

all of that oh so offensive... Oh wait...

No? A blanket perhaps? My baby sweats profusely when under a blanket. It is clearly not comfortable for her, but I could settle for a light muslin wrap I suppose, if your comfort is to be more important than my child's...

or I could invest in this charming shower curtain...

Still not good enough for some. A move to the toilet is in order. But wait, is that hygeinic? Why should my infant have to eat her lunch in a toilet if nobody else does?

even if it is a really expensive toilet...

The car you say. Thats fine... In winter (for me anyway... Thank you Australia). In summer it is really not. But hey, the car has windows on all sides, what am I an exhibitionist or something?

yeah, this? Not safe.

I should just go home, and sit in a bedroom until my child weans... You know, so that I can be discreet to everyone's liking.

well Miranda Kerr does make it look appealing...

Or, I can nurse my child, and the people who don't like it can look away? Nah, that doesn't sound right, does it?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A new year, a new project.

I have a guilty conscience.

From what I can tell, New Year’s resolutions tend to be taken as a bit of a joke. Forgotten by Valentine’s Day.

But my conscience twinges over these resolutions. I wasn’t much one for making New Year’s resolutions, unless it was something I knew was realistic.
So when one fateful New Year’s Eve my friend and I decided to make resolutions not for ourselves, but for each other, you might have excused me for having a brief moment of panic.

But I didn’t panic.

My beautiful friend chose a resolution for me that seemed ridiculously easy, and I in turn chose something for her that seemed insanely hard.

She had not dated much in the few years since her first serious relationship had ended in a blaze of stalking, harassment and restraining orders. Understandably, my friend was a little skittish when it came to dating. So my resolution for her was that she had to date more. I wasn’t asking for a great romance, or even a boyfriend. Just dating. Which given her history was perhaps a bit cruel of me to push her if she wasn’t ready, but I truly felt she would rise to the occasion beautifully.

Whereas her resolution for me seemed so easy that it was probably a little strange that I hadn’t already done it by myself. I was to get my provisional driver’s licence. That’s it. All she wanted me to do was leave my learner’s licence behind. Which after having it for 5 years seemed imminently reasonable.

Well my friend, true to her word started dating more. She went out more. She had fun. She travelled to Spain to stay with family for the summer and partied herself silly. She had little romances. And then she met a boy. And with a little nudge in the right direction from yours truly, she leapt right into love. In that year, she went from having residual dating anxiety, to being engaged to a man she couldn’t imagine living without.

She blew the resolution I had made her out of the water. And I could not have been prouder.

I however, did not do so well.
I hate driving. I honestly do.

When I first had lessons many years before the resolution, I ended up in tears. My instructor couldn’t understand my fears. Did he not understand? Driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can undertake, and I had no confidence in my ability to safely manoeuvre a car.

I grew up without a car, we walked, cycled and caught public transport everywhere. There was nothing wrong with my legs, why should I not use them? I finished my course of driving lessons feeling no more comfortable driving, but with the ability to do the basics. And then? Nothing. I did not drive again for almost 18 months. My husband (who was my boyfriend of several months at the time) had just gotten his full licence, and decided that he should teach me to drive.

There were dramas. There were tears. There were meltdowns.

But he was so patient, and so determined, that I started seeing improvements. What do you know, I was actually capable of driving a manual car! My confidence was growing.

Then on Mother’s Day of that year, whilst I was driving the 2 hours to see my mother, I was run off the road by someone who saw my L plate as reason enough to disregard my safety and that of the people in the car with me. He didn’t just run me off the road though, I lost control of the car and spun across 3 lanes of traffic, two of which were oncoming.

We were so very very lucky. We ended up in a ditch on the other side of the road, unharmed, not a mark on the car, with me wide eyed with my foot planted on the brake. I was shaking, I couldn’t move, and when my husband told me we were okay, I fell to pieces. Several other cars stopped to check on us, and when they saw we were fine, one took off after the idiot he had seen run me off the road.

My confidence was shot. My mother had me drive her tiny little auto after she heard what had happened, but I was jumpy. I just about swerved off the road if cars came near me. It took several months of coaxing before I would willingly drive again, and I was uncomfortable and edgy the whole time.

So perhaps my story does have some parallels with that of my friend after all. We both set each other tasks that would push us out of our comfort zones.

She rose to the occasion. I did not.

I drove more. But I hated it. I practiced what I needed to do to pass the test, but I had no confidence. I repeatedly put off booking in to sit the teat, despite my husband (by then my fiancée) insisting that I had mastered the skills necessary.
I put off booking the test so long that the next available date to sit the test was several weeks into the New Year. I failed by default, because I was too afraid to try.

Then I undertook the driving test and failed anyway.

The examiner said it was only by a few marks, that I should resit in a couple of weeks, that he was sure that if I got the better of my nerves that I would be fine.

I didn’t resit.

Four years later, I have still not attempted to get my provisional licence again.
I have however had someone run up the tail end of our shiny new car the first time I drove it.

I have failed in my New Year’s resolution in a most cowardly manner.

So it may seem strange that I have already made a New Year’s resolution for this next year. Almost two months away, but I am already excited about it.

I am starting a project, similar to the A Photo A Day style projects that some people have undertaken with such beautiful results (seriously, that video made me cry the first time I watched it... And just made me cry again with a huge smile on my face, and tears streaming down my cheeks).

I will draw a picture every day next year. In the past I have complained about how rusty my artistic skills have gotten. Well it is time to do something about it.

I am calling it Drawing it Out, and I am excited.

And I may even find time to shut up that little niggling voice in the back of my head and just get my damn licence already…

Or maybe not.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dihydrogen Monoxide: The killer in your cupboards.

On the dangers of not doing your research.

Dihydrogen Monoxide (also known as DHMO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless chemical which kills thousands of people a year due to accidental inhalation, or if ingested in large quantities. Particularly at risk are young children.
• Is also known as hydroxyl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
• Contributes to the "greenhouse effect."
• Can cause severe burns.
• Is fatal if inhaled.
• Contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
• Accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
• May cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
• Has been found in excised tumours of terminal cancer patients.
There have been claims that traces of DHMO have been found in over 87% of the population. Some see this figure as alarmist, others however believe that that figure is actually too low, and put the figure at an astonishing 97.6%.
Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:
• As an industrial solvent and coolant.
• In nuclear power plants.
• In the production of Styrofoam.
• As a fire retardant.
• In many forms of cruel animal research.
• In the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
• As an additive in certain "junk-foods" and other food products.
Perhaps most worrying of all is that DHMO is a common food additive. So common that many labels have only recently started listing it on ingredient lists, and still more fail to do so.
What many people won’t tell you however is that DHMO is in every single bottle of infant formula and jar of baby food made. Every. Single. One.

There have been petitions to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide circulated in the past, and the issue has been brought to the attention of many governments. Unfortunately, only a brave few politicians have had the courage to bring up the subject of DHMO in public, and they are often ridiculed for it.

Why is this deadly chemical allowed in our homes, you might wonder.
Once again this issue all comes down to money. DHMO was worth over half a billion dollars in Australia last year alone. Dihydrogen Monoxide in conjunction with the unthinkably ecologically damaging Polyethylene Terephthalate was worth an astronomical $ 15 BILLION in North America in 2006.

There have also been reports that unethical supermarket chains and other suppliers have been injecting meat with DHMO. The New York Times ran an article on this debacle way back in 2007, yet there is still no industry regulation, and no politicians willing to go to bat over the issue of DHMO.

There is even evidence to suggest that DHMO is even present in both tap and bottled water.
As an Australian I am all too aware of the dangers of DHMO.
I ask you to educate yourself and others on this most grave issue, and most importantly, please research the things that may affect your family.

The moral of the story? Always do your own research and double check the facts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Celebrating 18 months.

My darling girl. What a beautiful journey we have shared, and continue to.
Mummy loves you my little darling.
Here is a brief look at our breastfeeding journey, and some of my favourite captured moments of the last 18 months.
I hope you like it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

RIP Bill Zeller

This saddened and humbled me.
Screw all the shit I normally bang on with.
This is far more important.

Warning: This might just about break your heart.

Bill Zeller

I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions, but I assume I'll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision. Maybe it's true that anyone who does this is insane by definition, but I can at least explain my reasoning. I considered not writing any of this because of how personal it is, but I like tying up loose ends and don't want people to wonder why I did this. Since I've never spoken to anyone about what happened to me, people would likely draw the wrong conclusions.

My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly. This has affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a distinct situation. In kindergarten I couldn't use the bathroom and would stand petrified whenever I needed to, which started a trend of awkward and unexplained social behavior. The damage that was done to my body still prevents me from using the bathroom normally, but now it's less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me.

This darkness followed me as I grew up. I remember spending hours playing with legos, having my world consist of me and a box of cold, plastic blocks. Just waiting for everything to end. It's the same thing I do now, but instead of legos it's surfing the web or reading or listening to a baseball game. Most of my life has been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up.

At times growing up I would feel inconsolable rage, but I never connected this to what happened until puberty. I was able to keep the darkness at bay for a few hours at a time by doing things that required intense concentration, but it would always come back. Programming appealed to me for this reason. I was never particularly fond of computers or mathematically inclined, but the temporary peace it would provide was like a drug. But the darkness always returned and built up something like a tolerance, because programming has become less and less of a refuge.

The darkness is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I'm trapped in a contimated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can't concentrate on anything else. It manifests itself in hours of eating or staying up for days at a time or sleeping for sixteen hours straight or week long programming binges or constantly going to the gym. I'm exhausted from feeling like this every hour of every day.

Three to four nights a week I have nightmares about what happened. It makes me avoid sleep and constantly tired, because sleeping with what feels like hours of nightmares is not restful. I wake up sweaty and furious. I'm reminded every morning of what was done to me and the control it has over my life.

I've never been able to stop thinking about what happened to me and this hampered my social interactions. I would be angry and lost in thought and then be interrupted by someone saying "Hi" or making small talk, unable to understand why I seemed cold and distant. I walked around, viewing the outside world from a distant portal behind my eyes, unable to perform normal human niceties. I wondered what it would be like to take to other people without what happened constantly on my mind, and I wondered if other people had similar experiences that they were better able to mask.

Alcohol was also something that let me escape the darkness. It would always find me later, though, and it was always angry that I managed to escape and it made me pay. Many of the irresponsible things I did were the result of the darkness. Obviously I'm responsible for every decision and action, including this one, but there are reasons why things happen the way they do.

Alcohol and other drugs provided a way to ignore the realities of my situation. It was easy to spend the night drinking and forget that I had no future to look forward to. I never liked what alcohol did to me, but it was better than facing my existence honestly. I haven't touched alcohol or any other drug in over seven months (and no drugs or alcohol will be involved when I do this) and this has forced me to evaluate my life in an honest and clear way. There's no future here. The darkness will always be with me.

I used to think if I solved some problem or achieved some goal, maybe he would leave. It was comforting to identify tangible issues as the source of my problems instead of something that I'll never be able to change. I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did made a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling. I'm not sure why I ever thought that would change anything.

I didn't realize how deep a hold he had on me and my life until my first relationship. I stupidly assumed that no matter how the darkness affected me personally, my romantic relationships would somehow be separated and protected. Growing up I viewed my future relationships as a possible escape from this thing that haunts me every day, but I began to realize how entangled it was with every aspect of my life and how it is never going to release me. Instead of being an escape, relationships and romantic contact with other people only intensified everything about him that I couldn't stand. I will never be able to have a relationship in which he is not the focus, affecting every aspect of my romantic interactions.

Relationships always started out fine and I'd be able to ignore him for a few weeks. But as we got closer emotionally the darkness would return and every night it'd be me, her and the darkness in a black and gruesome threesome. He would surround me and penetrate me and the more we did the more intense it became. It made me hate being touched, because as long as we were separated I could view her like an outsider viewing something good and kind and untainted. Once we touched, the darkness would envelope her too and take her over and the evil inside me would surround her. I always felt like I was infecting anyone I was with.

Relationships didn't work. No one I dated was the right match, and I thought that maybe if I found the right person it would overwhelm him. Part of me knew that finding the right person wouldn't help, so I became interested in girls who obviously had no interest in me. For a while I thought I was gay. I convinced myself that it wasn't the darkness at all, but rather my orientation, because this would give me control over why things didn't feel "right". The fact that the darkness affected sexual matters most intensely made this idea make some sense and I convinced myself of this for a number of years, starting in college after my first relationship ended. I told people I was gay (at Trinity, not at Princeton), even though I wasn't attracted to men and kept finding myself interested in girls. Because if being gay wasn't the answer, then what was? People thought I was avoiding my orientation, but I was actually avoiding the truth, which is that while I'm straight, I will never be content with anyone. I know now that the darkness will never leave.

Last spring I met someone who was unlike anyone else I'd ever met. Someone who showed me just how well two people could get along and how much I could care about another human being. Someone I know I could be with and love for the rest of my life, if I weren't so fucked up. Amazingly, she liked me. She liked the shell of the man the darkness had left behind. But it didn't matter because I couldn't be alone with her. It was never just the two of us, it was always the three of us: her, me and the darkness. The closer we got, the more intensely I'd feel the darkness, like some evil mirror of my emotions. All the closeness we had and I loved was complemented by agony that I couldn't stand, from him. I realized that I would never be able to give her, or anyone, all of me or only me. She could never have me without the darkness and evil inside me. I could never have just her, without the darkness being a part of all of our interactions. I will never be able to be at peace or content or in a healthy relationship. I realized the futility of the romantic part of my life. If I had never met her, I would have realized this as soon as I met someone else who I meshed similarly well with. It's likely that things wouldn't have worked out with her and we would have broken up (with our relationship ending, like the majority of relationships do) even if I didn't have this problem, since we only dated for a short time. But I will face exactly the same problems with the darkness with anyone else. Despite my hopes, love and compatability is not enough. Nothing is enough. There's no way I can fix this or even push the darkness down far enough to make a relationship or any type of intimacy feasible.

So I watched as things fell apart between us. I had put an explicit time limit on our relationship, since I knew it couldn't last because of the darkness and didn't want to hold her back, and this caused a variety of problems. She was put in an unnatural situation that she never should have been a part of. It must have been very hard for her, not knowing what was actually going on with me, but this is not something I've ever been able to talk about with anyone. Losing her was very hard for me as well. Not because of her (I got over our relationship relatively quickly), but because of the realization that I would never have another relationship and because it signified the last true, exclusive personal connection I could ever have. This wasn't apparent to other people, because I could never talk about the real reasons for my sadness. I was very sad in the summer and fall, but it was not because of her, it was because I will never escape the darkness with anyone. She was so loving and kind to me and gave me everything I could have asked for under the circumstances. I'll never forget how much happiness she brought me in those briefs moments when I could ignore the darkness. I had originally planned to kill myself last winter but never got around to it. (Parts of this letter were written over a year ago, other parts days before doing this.) It was wrong of me to involve myself in her life if this were a possibility and I should have just left her alone, even though we only dated for a few months and things ended a long time ago. She's just one more person in a long list of people I've hurt.

I could spend pages talking about the other relationships I've had that were ruined because of my problems and my confusion related to the darkness. I've hurt so many great people because of who I am and my inability to experience what needs to be experienced. All I can say is that I tried to be honest with people about what I thought was true.

I've spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time.

I've told different people a lot of things, but I've never told anyone about what happened to me, ever, for obvious reasons. It took me a while to realize that no matter how close you are to someone or how much they claim to love you, people simply cannot keep secrets. I learned this a few years ago when I thought I was gay and told people. The more harmful the secret, the juicier the gossip and the more likely you are to be betrayed. People don't care about their word or what they've promised, they just do whatever the fuck they want and justify it later. It feels incredibly lonely to realize you can never share something with someone and have it be between just the two of you. I don't blame anyone in particular, I guess it's just how people are. Even if I felt like this is something I could have shared, I have no interest in being part of a friendship or relationship where the other person views me as the damaged and contaminated person that I am. So even if I were able to trust someone, I probably would not have told them about what happened to me. At this point I simply don't care who knows.

I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don't kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don't know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I'm capable of.

So I've realized I will never escape the darkness or misery associated with it and I have a responsibility to stop myself from physically harming others.

I'm just a broken, miserable shell of a human being. Being molested has defined me as a person and shaped me as a human being and it has made me the monster I am and there's nothing I can do to escape it. I don't know any other existence. I don't know what life feels like where I'm apart from any of this. I actively despise the person I am. I just feel fundamentally broken, almost non-human. I feel like an animal that woke up one day in a human body, trying to make sense of a foreign world, living among creatures it doesn't understand and can't connect with.

I have accepted that the darkness will never allow me to be in a relationship. I will never go to sleep with someone in my arms, feeling the comfort of their hands around me. I will never know what uncontimated intimacy is like. I will never have an exclusive bond with someone, someone who can be the recipient of all the love I have to give. I will never have children, and I wanted to be a father so badly. I think I would have made a good dad. And even if I had fought through the darkness and married and had children all while being unable to feel intimacy, I could have never done that if suicide were a possibility. I did try to minimize pain, although I know that this decision will hurt many of you. If this hurts you, I hope that you can at least forget about me quickly.

There's no point in identifying who molested me, so I'm just going to leave it at that. I doubt the word of a dead guy with no evidence about something that happened over twenty years ago would have much sway.

You may wonder why I didn't just talk to a professional about this. I've seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I'm positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was. And I have no interest in talking about being raped as a child, both because I know it wouldn't help and because I have no confidence it would remain secret. I know the legal and practical limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, growing up in a house where we'd hear stories about the various mental illnesses of famous people, stories that were passed down through generations. All it takes is one doctor who thinks my story is interesting enough to share or a doctor who thinks it's her right or responsibility to contact the authorities and have me identify the molestor (justifying her decision by telling herself that someone else might be in danger). All it takes is a single doctor who violates my trust, just like the "friends" who I told I was gay did, and everything would be made public and I'd be forced to live in a world where people would know how fucked up I am. And yes, I realize this indicates that I have severe trust issues, but they're based on a large number of experiences with people who have shown a profound disrepect for their word and the privacy of others.

People say suicide is selfish. I think it's selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won't feel sad for a week or two. Suicide may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it's also a permanent solution to a ~23 year-old problem that grows more intense and overwhelming every day.

Some people are just dealt bad hands in this life. I know many people have it worse than I do, and maybe I'm just not a strong person, but I really did try to deal with this. I've tried to deal with this every day for the last 23 years and I just can't fucking take it anymore.

I often wonder what life must be like for other people. People who can feel the love from others and give it back unadulterated, people who can experience sex as an intimate and joyous experience, people who can experience the colors and happenings of this world without constant misery. I wonder who I'd be if things had been different or if I were a stronger person. It sounds pretty great.

I'm prepared for death. I'm prepared for the pain and I am ready to no longer exist. Thanks to the strictness of New Jersey gun laws this will probably be much more painful than it needs to be, but what can you do. My only fear at this point is messing something up and surviving.


I'd also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they're dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.

If you're unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they've constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don't understand that good and decent people exist all around us, "saved" or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

"I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist." - George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were "saved" at some point), that's your choice, but it's fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she's Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation. I could list hundreds of other examples, but it's tiring.

Since being kicked out, I've interacted with them in relatively normal ways. I talk to them on the phone like nothing happened. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I like pretending I have a family. Maybe I like having people I can talk to about what's been going on in my life. Whatever the reason, it's not real and it feels like a sham. I should have never allowed this reconnection to happen.

I wrote the above a while ago, and I do feel like that much of the time. At other times, though, I feel less hateful. I know my parents honestly believe the crap they believe in. I know that my mom, at least, loved me very much and tried her best. One reason I put this off for so long is because I know how much pain it will cause her. She has been sad since she found out I wasn't "saved", since she believes I'm going to Hell, which is not a sadness for which I am responsible. That was never going to change, and presumably she believes the state of my physical body is much less important than the state of my soul. Still, I cannot intellectually justify this decision, knowing how much it will hurt her. Maybe my ability to take my own life, knowing how much pain it will cause, shows that I am a monster who doesn't deserve to live. All I know is that I can't deal with this pain any longer and I'm am truly sorry I couldn't wait until my family and everyone I knew died so this could be done without hurting anyone. For years I've wished that I'd be hit by a bus or die while saving a baby from drowning so my death might be more acceptable, but I was never so lucky.


To those of you who have shown me love, thank you for putting up with all my shittiness and moodiness and arbitrariness. I was never the person I wanted to be. Maybe without the darkness I would have been a better person, maybe not. I did try to be a good person, but I realize I never got very far.

I'm sorry for the pain this causes. I really do wish I had another option. I hope this letter explains why I needed to do this. If you can't understand this decision, I hope you can at least forgive me.

Bill Zeller


Please save this letter and repost it if gets deleted. I don't want people to wonder why I did this. I disseminated it more widely than I might have otherwise because I'm worried that my family might try to restrict access to it. I don't mind if this letter is made public. In fact, I'd prefer it be made public to people being unable to read it and drawing their own conclusions.

Feel free to republish this letter, but only if it is reproduced in its entirety.

I truly believe your words will help someone Bill.
I never knew you.
But you have touched me with this.
Thank you.

Bill Zeller~ d. 5th January 2011, age 27.
May he be surrounded by light.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Screw you Facebook Fratboys!

This is what I emailed to a large local newspaper.
I doubt it will be published, but this is what I came up with while NAK before my little darling went down.

Letter to the Editor,

Facebook censors- Lactophobic.

‘The Leaky B@@b is a blog’, and until recently, a Facebook group which provides support for women -so called ‘Leakies’- with breastfeeding and raising babies. The Facebook group has been a sounding board for countless women, and, like several other Facebook groups, can help mothers having problems breastfeeding by facilitating sometimes instantaneous advice from other breastfeeding mothers all over the planet.

Facebook deleted TLB for violating their Terms Of Use. Within 24 hours a Facebook group ‘Bring back The Leaky Boob’ cropped up and had over 6,000 ‘likers’. Low and behold The Leaky B@@b group was reinstated, along with a standard apology from Facebook.

Now, in a farcical turn, Facebook has yet again deleted ‘The Leaky B@@b’, along with ‘Bring back The leaky Boob’ without cause.

Which brings us back to Terms of Use violations:

“Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed”.
Obscene. What a slippery, subjective little word. One which appears to be covering up all manner of sins.

Many women have had breastfeeding images deemed obscene by Facebook, and deleted. The official stance being that Facebook does not allow images of nipples. It seems, however, that images depicting breastfeeding are being specifically, and repeatedly targeted, even without visible nipple, whilst other images of exposed nipples, especially men’s nipples, are left unmolested.

Is Facebook encouraging misogyny? When did nipples become so ‘offensive’ anyway, particularly in the context of feeding our young? Isn’t that what they are there for, and why we are mammals?

‘Bring back the Leaky Boob- again’ has over 1,500 ‘likers’ and the number is rising.

I eagerly await Facebook’s next backflip.

Seriously? I can't believe what a pack of @$$holes they are.

2.30am? How did that happen? Must be time for bed.