We can breastfeed and work. Because we’re women.

I just found out about a politician in Canada named Amy England. She recently had a baby and is not eligible for maternity leave because she doesn’t pay into the fund. (In Canada, everyone pays a small amount into Employment Insurance, which covers parental leave. Novel concept, right?) As of now, there is no policy for councillors who give birth during their term.

Councillor England is determined to breastfeed (thank you!!) and is bringing her baby to work with her so she doesn’t miss a meeting. It kills me that people are apparently claiming she can’t have a baby and also serve the people. Really? Who better to take care of constituents than a young mother raising the next generation? A crotchety old man who thinks we should all be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?

I don’t think so either.

In Amy’s words:

I am a regional and city municipal councillor in the city of Oshawa in Ontario Canada. I am the first woman who has been elected and had a baby while being elected in my city and region. I have been breast feeding my 3 week old baby and must return to work on January 6th. If I miss more than 3 months of meetings in a row I will lose my seat. I will be bringing my baby with me for the purpose of breast feeding and have been viciously attacked for this decision when I announced my intention. Now I expect when I bring my baby, it will cause major debate and attention…I do not want to be pushed into bathrooms or backrooms and have to choose between my child’s human right for breast milk and my right to vote on behalf of my constituents.

There is absolutely no reason that Councillor England can’t be allowed to breastfeed her baby. Mothers have worked while breastfeeding throughout history, and it’s high time we are acknowledged and supported in modern day society. Look at Licia Ronzulli, an Italian MEP (Member of the European Parliament) who breastfed her daughter at work when she was six weeks old and still brings her daughter to work at age three.

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Seriously, how awesome is this?

When Councillor England’s story first came out, there were some awful comments. This article by Chris Bird highlights some of the doozies. I came to this part and thought YES, he says it perfectly:

So, go ahead and throw insults at Amy England and other women for trying to change the ‘traditional’ way of raising children and/or being a politician. Or better yet, you could praise them for having the balls to say that something needs to change. It’s not a boys club anymore, and it never will be again. Once you accept that, and try to work with people instead of against them, you’ll find that your life will become a lot easier.”

Please get the word out and show support for Councillor England and all breastfeeding mothers. You can find her at http://amyengland.ca.

Thank you!

Move over, men: The beginning of the movement

Not too long ago, I went out to a local bar because I needed to sing my ass off and get my groove on. (Warning for my fellow grammar snobs: I end sentences with prepositions.) I’m cute, short and buxom, so as I walked into the bar, I was getting those looks. You know, the men were all hey-I’d-f*ck-that, and the women were all who-the-f*ck-is-this, and it was an interesting vibe.

Most of the men were completely distracted by my boobs and my strut (I’m done with playing small), whereas the women heard every word I spoke to the crowd. In fact, they were cheering and laughing.

I’ll admit that I have wielded my sexual power to have a desired effect on men; I mean, c’mon, it’s so damn easy. And it’s definitely a heady feeling to make men want you. While I immensely enjoy feeling wanted and desired, I really really don’t like any kind of animosity or negativity, especially from other women. Plus, men’s sexual attraction is primal and physical, and I want to connect with people on a cerebral level as well. (For those of you without Word Of The Day toilet paper, cerebral = of the brain.)

So I walked around the bar meeting people, and as I did I became acutely aware of some narrowed male eyes looking my way. I thought back to a mentally abusive relationship from my past; I remembered how much “trouble” I used to get in when I talked to other people. “Clark” would get insanely jealous (not exaggerating) and accuse me of cheating on him with every guy I talked to. When he started abusing my cat, I knew it was time to get out. (That’s another story.)

Now, I am lucky enough to have an amazing husband who stimulates me both mentally and physically, an evolved man who supports my personal growth and my journey. But millions of women are trapped in abusive relationships with no allies to pull them out.

Point being, I realized that I need to use my “gift of gab” to reach people. Women who feel alone, men who are sick of the violence, people who want love to reign supreme again. So I will continue to draw attention to myself, but now I know what to do when I capture the attention.

I realized it was time to use my powers for good.

So I got out a stack of my business cards, and as I handed one to each surprised woman there, I whispered this in her ear:

Very soon I’m going to post an article about how men have had their chance to run the world and still haven’t unf*cked it. We love them, they’ve tried their best, but it’s our turn to fix this sh*t. I’m looking for my mama tribe; are you with me?

Every single woman except for one immediately either hugged me or gave me a high-five. Every. Single. One. And the one that didn’t respond kept glancing at the man she was with, which made me worry for her. When I told a friend about the one woman, she said what I was thinking: he might be abusive.

Do you know that one in four women lives with domestic violence? So it was actually more than that one woman in the bar that night who’d been victimized. Many of the same ones who had hugged or high-fived me are currently in abusive relationships, and they found the courage to have that one small act of defiance and freedom. That one moment in one night when they said No More.

I wish this for the millions and millions of women who are abused in our world simply because they are women.

No More.

Around the world, women and girls are killed, beaten, raped, often in the name of “honor” or a wrathful god. (This is still happening even in the U.S.) Women are burned with acid because someone accuses them of adultery, and often the “adultery” is rape.

I desperately yearn to unite all the world’s women in standing up and pushing back against our abusers with our collective hands up and say:

No More.

We need women in power to fix this f*cking mess of a planet. The modern world needs a hell of a lot more female leaders. Even an evolved man can be distracted by sex or power struggles because of the primal male, the inner caveman who is focused on either hunting or mating. But the female primal self is a nurturer, a caretaker, and a goddess. We are natural multitaskers, as has been proven by scientific studies repeatedly. And we are not easily distracted when we’re focused on a mission.

I know this because I am a mission commander. No, really, I’m a Naval Flight Officer, veteran, and qualified Mission Commander in the E-2C Hawkeye. So, this mama knows from missions. And lots of women do, actually.

Did you know that it was the women of congress that got us out of the government shutdown? Hell, if a small group of women can resolve that mess, can you imagine what all of us can do?

We can heal the world.

We can restore love as the ideal instead of power, acceptance as the currency rather than guilt, and individuality as a thing to be celebrated instead of shunned.

So isn’t it time that we truly embrace our power and step up to lead? It’s time to lean in on a global scale. And it can start with American women changing the face of our country. How amazing would it be if the U.S. became known as the kind, helpful nation? It would be so wonderful to be welcomed everywhere we travel rather than sneered at or insulted.

Women make up 51% of the American population, but we make up less than 19% of Congress. Let’s make our voices heard and get more women in there, dammit.

In the coming weeks and months I’ll be posting about the female politicians out there that could take over this country if we support them.

Please please please say you’ll help me heal the world.

Comment with your thoughts or questions. And if you’d like to write for Move Over Men, I’d be honored to have you here!

Much love to you all,

Eve

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Photo credit: Vanessa Bryan Freelance Photography