- I really like mascara. And if I could pull off Adele’s eye lashes, I totally would.
- My kids totally dig a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
- My hair requires precision cutting.
- I really like my anti-perspirant and I shave under my arms.
- I prefer polka dots to tie dye.
- I like to wear high heels.
- I’ve never been to a protest rally. In fact, I’m not sure public displays like that make any difference at all.
- And for all my efforts to feed my children in a healthy manner (see #2 above), those totally fake coffee creamers? Love ‘em.
I AM NOT A HIPPIE.
I don’t know how you would define such a person, but I’d guess that I’m not the first things that pops into your head.
But people call me that all the time. Why?
- I breastfed all 3 of my children.
- We slept with them in our bed (we still have kids in our bed from time to time).
- I cloth diapered.
- I buy as much of our food from local sources as possible.
- My husband bikes to work.
Here’s the hard reality, as I see it. We MUST stop associating things like natural birth (regardless of where it takes place) and breastfeeding with being “crunchy”, “granola”, “hippie”. Because by doing so, we are communicating that for someone to participate, they must also take part in a number of other things associated with the lifestyle.
“Drug-free home birth? Check! Cloth diapers? Check!…Welcome to the Crunchy Black Mom Club!”
I have a ton of respect for Elita and the passion with which she has promoted breastfeeding within the African-American community, but this time I think she got it dead wrong.
And she wasn’t alone. Saturday Night Live got in on the action too:
*This is just a small portion of the sketch. Further on, it gets a bit more “late night TV-y” so watch at your own risk.
See those looks on the character’s faces? Have you seen those same looks from your friends when talking about birth and breastfeeding?
When we associate natural birthing methods and breastfeeding with a whole culture of being “crunchy”, we alienate large portions of the population; large portions of the population who would benefit from these practices.
What if, like I saw on facebook this week, when a new dad shares of their home birth experience, people celebrate and congratulate instead of posting 13! responses like “Well, she turned ya into one of those, huh?” or “You’re a 10 on the Hippie Scale!”?
What if instead of calling a new breastfeeding mom “Crunchy”, we called her “Courageous” and “Powerful”?
Diane Wiessinger, in her important essay, “Watch Your Language“, reminds us that words are powerful! They change trends. They change outcomes. They change behavior.
I think it is high time we change ours.