Superfreakanomics..to write or not to write, that is the question - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-16-2010, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I picked up the recent book "Superfreakonomics" I really enjoyed the first one, got a kick out of it. This one I didn't enjoy as much, mostly because the authors explored things I all ready knew about and contended some controversial things, such as the car seat section (I am sure there was some thread somewhere on MDC about it). Anyway, I was reading the first chapter about women gaining the ability to go to college and be gainfully employed and start competing for traditionally male dominated jobs.
Now, this is where the question comes in.
These are both men who between them have 6 kids, I can only guess this influenced their comment.
"(one of the unsung heroes of this revolution was the widespread use of baby formula which allowed new mothers to get right back to work)"

I wish I could tell you what page it was on, but alas I have a Kindle and it has no page numbers on it to begin with.

So what do you guys think? is it worth writing a barrage of letters to correct this man's assumption that formula was SO GREAT for women and children? how about telling him his ASSUMPTION that MALE AS NORMAL actually hurt women in the long run, versus embracing our female selves and demanding that we aren't the same, that is okay, we are different, that is okay, its not worse, and yes we CAN still be productive members of society with a bit of flexibility and help. because you know, we are raising the next generation of humans that will be supporting you even if you never have kids yourself.

That is my view.

I am just not sure this is totally lactivism or a different form of feminism. because I know there are feminists that do thing formula was the bomb and it "freed" them up from the burden of infant care. not that I disagree with that or anything.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:45 AM
 
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My view is very much the same as yours when it comes to feminism.

However, I'm really not sure that that is what he is saying here is that formula is actually heroic. I read the first book, but have not read this one yet. Without reading the entirety of the context, it is hard to say for sure ~ But it seems to me like they could be speaking simply factually. It WAS the invention of formula that freed up many women to reenter the workplace sooner. Its not like workplaces were setting up lactation rooms for their female employees back in the 30's or 40's or whatever decade he is speaking of. In other words, I don't think that their statement is necessarily endorsing formula, just pointing out that formula was a great enabler of this revolution, and is probably often overlooked, of that makes sense.

Its similar to how one could say that protecting a mothers right to pump is an unsung hero in the revolution in more working mothers continuing to nurse their child. Or to saying how the creation of out of home daycares is a hero in the ability to let mothers with pre school age children return to the workforce. It does not in and of itself give worth to those things, it just points out the role that they played in the societal shift. I guess I read it as more factual than as an actual endorsement, if that makes sense?
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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I have written a blog post very similar to the sentiment you are expressing. http://onewithwings.blogspot.com/200...-feminism.html I think it is misleading to think that feminism is 'working' when we are still asked to give up the things we are meant to do as females if we want to be able to compete with men.

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Old 01-16-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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I read it too, and I don't think he's saying anything about what should be, he's talking about what did happen, and the advent of formula and other things that made being away from baby possible had an impact on the culture and work. Women of a certain class could already be away from baby because they had wet nurses; but with formula, you could do that without having a wet nurse. I don't think they're advocating formula feeding currently, although they're not advocating breastfeeding either; they're talking about historical data.

Oh, and I'm sure there was fury in Family Safety about the car seat thing, but honestly, it makes perfect sense to me. The introduction of seatbelts saved a huge number of lives, whereas car seats were starting from a much safer baseline, so they make less numerical impact on lives saved.

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Old 01-16-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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I read it too, and I don't think he's saying anything about what should be, he's talking about what did happen, and the advent of formula and other things that made being away from baby possible had an impact on the culture and work. Women of a certain class could already be away from baby because they had wet nurses; but with formula, you could do that without having a wet nurse. I don't think they're advocating formula feeding currently, although they're not advocating breastfeeding either; they're talking about historical data.

Oh, and I'm sure there was fury in Family Safety about the car seat thing, but honestly, it makes perfect sense to me. The introduction of seatbelts saved a huge number of lives, whereas car seats were starting from a much safer baseline, so they make less numerical impact on lives saved.
Exactly, it's about statistics- not emotions. I don't think it's anything to fret about. There are people out there that actually believe that formula is awesome and that getting moms back into the workforce asap is the best thing for the human race- I'd start a beef with them, as I totally disagree with that line of thinking.

(One of my children has a name on the "low end white girl names" list from the original freakonimics book and lol I was po'ed when I first saw it like shocked that they'd attach a stigma to my kids name, but they didn't- it was just really common amongst poor white people. Oh well I've been that, no shame. )
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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I agree with MamaMelis that formula was undoubtedly one of the major contributing factors in allowing women to go back to work after childbirth. While I also believe wholeheartedly that breastfeeding is best, it seems as though the pivotal point of introducing formula has actually gotten women to the point that they can choose between working and staying at home, formula and breastfeeding, etc.

Here's why:

Unfortunately, money is power. Resources are power. If formula hadn't enabled women to leave the home and exercise their new-found power ability to bring home the bacon, then women never would have been able to gain enough power in the home to become an equal partner. It's one thing to stay at home to mother your children by choice and quite another to stay at home because you have to, because that's what people do, because women have never been proven as useful outside the home.

What I'm trying to say is that the freedom for women to choose to go to work has earned later generations of women the freedom to *choose*, period. Because of women in the workplace, we've inched closer and closer to true equality, which means that many of us can now educate ourselves and decide whether or not to breastfeed and whether or not to work. Like the authors of Superfreakonomics say, women in developed countries now have it better than any population of women, ever, in the past. All of that is owed to our mothers and grandmothers who refused to stay home and refused to sit back and be told what to do and how to do it.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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Either way, I take great exception to the wording...unsung heroes??? Definitely praising formula.

Do the means justify the end? Especially when the means are so potentially damaging to mothers and children and society in other ways...or perhaps the authors think these are insignificant. I would say a letter is in order. The risks of formula feeding are *not* well publicised, and it many people are simply completely unaware of them.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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These are the same guys who say that eating locally is actually worse for the environment than eating food from across the county. They have all kinds of crazy statistics. Some are pretty neat, some just make me scratch my head. None make me change what I am doing or how I am doing it.
Didn't they also state that college education created more stay at home moms or something to that effect?

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Old 01-18-2010, 04:14 AM
 
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Woman were already feeding their children infant formula long before Betty Frieden's Feminine Mystique and the rush of mothers into the workplace. I think Peggy O'Mara wrote that something like 70 percent of mothers were using formula at that point. So no, it was not formula that "liberated" women and allowed them to work.

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Old 01-18-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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Woman were already feeding their children infant formula long before Betty Frieden's Feminine Mystique and the rush of mothers into the workplace. I think Peggy O'Mara wrote that something like 70 percent of mothers were using formula at that point. So no, it was not formula that "liberated" women and allowed them to work.
That was the second rush into the workplace though. The first was in the 30s-40s.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I keep getting hung up on the word "hero". I mean, I guess I can see how formula can be heroic if a baby who would otherwise die, does survive due to infant formula. But I can't get past the fact that I really think women shot themselves in the foot and we did all of us a greater disservice by acting like men instead of demanding the system change to accommodate the workers that are *needed* for society to function economically. if all mothers quit it would seriously screw up the economy (I am trying to not get into other things too much here, as I realize that there is going to be a wide variety of opinions on well everything here).

maybe if they hadn't use the phrase HERO I wouldn't have such an issue, maybe if they had chosen a less POSITIVE word, like (sidenote, formula became even more widely used with women going back to work), rather than calling it an unsung hero. frankly it also bothers me that something that only women can do is so devalued and under appreciated by greater society, and that supposedly the same thing can come out of a can. I think that also says something about just how much women's bodies are valued.

so, if I do write a letter, how should I phrase it? would others write something as well? should we do a form letteR?
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:44 AM
 
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(..) I think it is misleading to think that feminism is 'working' when we are still asked to give up the things we are meant to do as females if we want to be able to compete with men.
Thanks, I think this was very well worded!

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Old 01-19-2010, 05:50 AM
 
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(...)
Frankly it also bothers me that something that only women can do is so devalued and under appreciated by greater society, and that supposedly the same thing can come out of a can. I think that also says something about just how much women's bodies are valued. (...)
I so agree! And it's not just about women's bodies but also women's work! (Again, I'd be opening a can of worms here - this is the Lactivism forum.)

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