Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rabbi Boobland

I was so incensed as I was reading this, that I didn't understand what Joel was saying when he told me Joe Rosenthal died at the age of 94.

Joel was like, "How do you not know who Joe Rosenthal is?" (Believe me, Chunky Photojournalist Barbie knows who Joe Rosenthal is. He shot the famous photograph of soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.) And I was like, "Oh. OH! Sorry. I'm still distracted here in Rabbi Boobland."

So, seriously... This is SO offensive. This rabbi is what Twisty Faster, one of my heroes here in cyberspace, would call a "Godbag Blowhard." If you aren't feeling very clicky on the links today, I'll just tell you that Rabbi Shmuley blames the fact that one of the couples' he counsels "sex life had died completely" on the wife's "obsession" with breastfeeding her 11-month-old child. Apparently she "turned one of her most attractive body parts into a feeding station, an attractive cafeteria rather than a scintillating piece of flesh."

Some other pearls of wisdom from the article:

"In the end, there are two effects of breast-feeding that we often refuse to acknowledge. One is the de-eroticization of a woman's body, as her husband witnesses one of the most attractive parts of her body serving a utilitarian rather than romantic purpose. This is not to say that breast-feeding isn't sexy."

OH GOOD. Whew. Cause God knows a woman shouldn't do ANYTHING with her body that isn't "sexy." But wait! Two paragraphs later, (after a plug for Rabbi Schmuley's book,) we find a short concession to logic and reason:

Obviously, breast-feeding is not the same as carrying on an extramarital affair.

Ah good to know. However, the next sentence is...

"But when a mother gives her breasts to her son and takes them away from her husband, the effect on the marriage can feel the same."

I wonder, though, what happens when a woman gives her breasts to her DAUGHTER instead of her son. Is that comparable to -gasp!- a lesbian extramarital affair? But WAIT! It's not just boobs that become unsexy when they're used for, like, their BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION. Not even cootchie snorchers are safe from Rabbi Schmuley's "counsel."

"I believe this same problem comes up when men witness childbirth up close. There are certain poses in which a husband should not see his wife. By all means, be there for the entire labor, as I have been for the births of each of my eight children. But I strongly agree with the advice of the ancient rabbis that husbands should not be staring at the actual delivery. That is just too erotic a part of a wife's anatomy for it to become a mere birth canal."

Ah, yes, God forbid the vagina be reduced to being just a "mere birth canal." I really want to click on the "Ask Rabbi Schmuley a Question" button. Rabbi Schmuley, why are you a Godbag Blowhard?


shannon said...

Ha. I can attest to the fact that seeing me in labor for 34 1/2 hours did nothing to diminish Ernie's feelings for my, um, birth canal.
What an asshat.

cindy w said...

Wow. Considering he isn't Catholic, that guy has got a pretty severe Madonna-Whore complex.

Dave is actually more passionate about the idea of me breastfeeding than I am. Not that he's coercing me into it or anything, I know it's best for the baby. But I also feel a little wishy-washy about it, sort of "eh, I'll give it a shot, but if it doesn't work, I'm not going to beat myself up about it." I guess I've read too many blogs by women who flagellate themselves when they have trouble nursing, and I don't want to fall into that trap.

Btw, I really love the rebuttal article:

Amanda said...

It's a pretty ass backward way of looking at this issue.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think people need to think very carefully about having the baby sleep in the same bed as the mom on a regular basis. First, you can hurt the baby (or worse) by rolling over on it. Second, it seems wrong to me to kick the father out of HIS bed for the baby. For me, it seems like a real violation of the husband/father's space, both in your life, the marriage and in the family. It's his life, his marriage and his family too.

So, to the extent that's Rabbi Mammarystein's point (and if it is, it's buried REALLY deeply), perhaps I have to say I agree. Then again, I've never been there and (*commencing no-baby dance*) no one knows how they'll feel until it happens.

As for his views on views of the birth canal, I feel he doesn't give enough credit to men, which is something frequently seen in the both the judeo-christian and islamic traditions to the effect of subordinating women.

Even if God gave man a brain, a penis and enough blood to operate one at a time, he also gave man free will and the glorious ability to consciously choose which one to operate. See Shannon's Ernie for the instruction manual.

Back to billing ...

cindy w said...

Amanda, I agree with you totally on the issue of co-sleeping. But they make little co-sleeper attachments that are sort of like a side car that hooks up to your bed - it's like a bassinet with 3 sides, and the open side is where the co-sleeper meets the bed. I'm ok with those because:
(a) no risk of squishing the baby in your sleep, and
(b) it means Dad doesn't have to go sleep elsewhere.

I can also certainly see the appeal of having the baby right by your side when it's a newborn who wakes up every two hours demanding boobie. But, by 11 months? Kiddo needs to be in his/her own room. That's starting to border on creepy.

As for the "birth canal" thing, before we got pregnant, Dave admitted to being terrified of seeing me give birth, and he asked if it was ok if he just stayed up by my head during the delivery. (Um, fine by me!) But, as this pregnancy has gone on, he's gotten more and more curious, and now he's talking about filming the whole thing. (Um, hell to the no!)

lauren said...

Woah. Just...whoa.

A wise woman once said, "What an asshat." And I replied, "Amen."

Judy said...

I found it interesting that he has 8, I repeat, 8 kids! He must think that makes him a rockin' honkin' sex machine authority! He gives credance to, "If it has tires or testicles, it's gonna give ya problems!"

Personally, I didn't have our babies sleep with us. For one thing, they make snorkly, gurgly sounds that would instantly awaken me through 4 walls and 2 doors......If our babies slept right beside us, my adrenaline would have been on constant high alert.

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

There you go, Internet. My mom just told you I was "snorkly" as an infant. ROCK ON.


Also, I just want to say, since feminism is often wrongly referred to as mere man-bashing, that I have no problem with men. Just one man. His name is Rabbi Schmuley.

cindy w said...

If it's any consolation, I'm willing to bet that most of our mothers would describe us as "snorkly."

Um, when we were babies, that is. Not now. (God, I hope not, anyway.)

shannon said...

My mother usually just says "You were not an easy child."

I will admit to co-sleeping, because we did it exclusively with Gaby for the first three months. It was more about us getting some sleep than anything else -- she would only sleep with us. When I went back to work, she went into her crib with no problems. (and no problems for us, either, because there's no way we were resuming "relations" until after 3 months. The memory of a long labor stays with you a while)

And I love the description "snorkly." I don't think that really describes Gabs, but she does snore, moan and sometimes talk and grind her teeth when she sleeps.

(And people who characterize feminism as man-bashing clearly don't understand feminism. And they are usually asshats, too)

kelly said...

All I'm saying to this is "fck that sh!t." Seriously. People like him need to go live under a rock and never come out again.