Archive for the 'Videos' Category


The Work Women Do

April 16th, 2012 by MamaBear

I have recently discovered Marilyn Waring, an incredibly intelligent Kiwi economist.  Terre Nash made a documentary about her in 1995 called Who’s Counting?  Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies, and Global Economics.   Most of what Waring speaks of in the film is still relevant today.  She is insightful, brilliant, and revolutionary.  You must watch this film.

Waring speaks about several topics, but most salient to me (other than the very relevant topic of how women around the world are literally undervalued) was how she ties GDP to the war machine. From the very inception of the GDP system, it was about funding war for the British Empire, and to this day the incentives upon which GDP is based skew what societies around the world consider “valuable.”  I’ll let Waring explain it, because she does it so much better than I could.  She manages to put into words so eloquently what you’ve probably intuitively understood all along but lacked the words for.  Watch the full-length documentary here.

Thank you, Marilyn Waring, for your brilliance and eloquence, and for the wonderful contributions you’ve made to the world of women, your constituents in New Zealand, and the wider world, too.  And thank you, Terre Nash, for giving her a voice.

Edited to add:  Peggy O’Mara, founder of Mothering magazine, recently wrote an article that very closely relates to this topic, the economic value of women and the contributions we make to society, and related it back to breastfeeding.  Titled “The Economic Value of Breastmilk,” her article explores the idea of giving monetary value to breastmilk itself, and therefore including it in GDP calculations.  At the end, she writes, “What do we need to do to add breast milk production to our Gross Domestic Product?”  Great question, Peggy.

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Somebody Get That Elephant a Rose!

April 6th, 2008 by MamaBear

I just finished watching an incredible and heartwarming video about a painting elephant. Watch the following video and feel glad you are able to witness (through the magic of modern technology) at least one elephant in captivity (and in the background, several more) being permitted a positive outlet for its experiences. If any of you wonderful readers decide to visit this elephant (I believe it lives in Thailand), and if you decide to actually give the elephant a rose, shave the thorns off first. I think it might appreciate that.

More elephant paintings and additional information can be found on The Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project page.

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An iThemba Lethu Milk Bank Project :)

February 14th, 2008 by MamaBear

I visited Mothering.com today (Hi, Kimber! :)) and discovered a gem of a video entitled “Substitute Abuse” from South Africa. Kudos to the iThemba Lethu Milk Bank (founded by Anna Coutsoudis and run by Penny Reimers) for putting their energy to good use! :)

This humorous take on breastfeeding education has an audio track that doesn’t aways synchronize with the video, but it is worth watching and listening to the message and intent behind it. Beautifully done. Thanks for uploading it to YouTube, pokenny.

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Appropriate for the Holidays

December 9th, 2007 by MamaBear

December is traditionally a very holiday-heavy month. From Christmas to Hanukkah to the revival holiday Kwanzaa to the Winter Solstice (the astronomical observation which became the inspiration for the original pagan celebrations that inspired what we now call Christmas) and Newton’s birthday (December 25 or January 4, depending on who you ask), no matter who you are, if you live in a Western-influenced society, you’re probably celebrating something this month. And if you’re celebrating a holiday, chances are, you’re probably buying a gift or two (or several dozen) for family and friends.

I discovered this mini-documentary recently, entitled “The Story of Stuff,” made by a woman named Annie Leonard, and I feel compelled to share it with as many people as possible. I think it’s very appropriate for the consumer-driven holiday season. It has inspired me to make all my gifts be as homemade and thoughtful as possible this year. Maybe I should just drop the idea of a having a thing represent the value of the relationships I have with others. Perhaps I should just focus on making time for the people in my life, instead of finding a thing for them. Or, if I feel compelled to hand a real, tangible object to someone as a token of my affection for them, perhaps I should make sure it’s at least going to be something they can appreciate for many years, rather than chuck in the garbage within a month of receiving it. It’s hard to articulate into words what I’m trying to convey, but I’m just really tired of the hectic consumer December holiday season, with all the expectations and guilt involved in making sure everyone has a gift, even if it’s a completely useless one. It focuses on all the wrong things: the pretense, the petty superficialities, the ego… And it generates SO much waste and environmental damage in the process.

Anyway, I know this post isn’t about breastfeeding, but the video called “The Story of Stuff” is very important and contains a tiny bit of breastfeeding information in it that is important to know. It mentions that breastfeeding is “the most fundamental human act of nurturing” and that it “should be sacred and safe.” I totally agree, of course. What the movie doesn’t show (but can be easily inferred from its content) is that formula, since it is a part of this artificial system known as the materials economy, also causes harm and exploitation (the factory-farmed dairy cows and the people who tend them are exploited, for example, and the metal used for the cans themselves had to be mined from some exploded mountain somewhere), and that we shouldn’t be surprised to find toxic chemicals in our formula because of the whole “toxics in, toxics out” phenomenon of manufacture.

For example, even though nobody thought of it for years, finally someone figured out that the linings inside most cans (including all cans used for infant formula) contain bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic plastic. Contrast the exposure of a human baby to BPA amounts from canned formula compared to the amounts typically found in breastmilk and there’s NO QUESTION that there are much higher toxicity levels in infant formula — in fact, if you compare all commercially prepared foods, even those for adults and canned infant formula, to human breastmilk, the one food that contains the least amount of BPA toxicity is human breastmilk. This fact may not be apparent from the film, and the mention that “the highest level of many toxic contaminants,” might sound like it’s the opposite of what I just wrote, but it really isn’t (not for bisphenol-A, anyway). The point of Annie Leonard mentioning the breastmilk is to point out that this materials economy violates the basic human right to have clean, pure human milk free from contaminants, not that breastmilk is any more poisonous than the rest of our intoxicated foodstuffs. Infant formula, as it turns out, is way more damaging to infant and mother health than breastfeeding, in the vast majority of circumstances, whether the infant formula is canned or powdered (as one of my previous posts pointed out, powdered infant formula has many health risks and disadvantages).

Here’s a teaser video of “The Story of Stuff.” If you want to see the whole video, you’ve got to go to www.storyofstuff.com. Once there, it will play automatically in the top half of your screen. Enjoy it. If I don’t write again this month, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Newton’s Birthday, Joyous Winter Solstice and Happy all other December holidays you might celebrate (whatever they may be)! :D

Annie Leonard: Brava! …For putting so much energy into making your project happen. It’s turned out great so far! :D Hopefully we can all come up with real solutions that honor and respect the environment instead of burning through it and shitting where we eat (so to speak). I hope many people see your work. It’s a giant step in the right direction.

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The Business of Being Born

November 29th, 2007 by MamaBear

There is a new documentary out, by director Abby Epstein and executive producer Ricki Lake. It’s called “The Business of Being Born.” It explores homebirth and hospital births, and how hospital births have become big business. The film is currently showing in limited venues across the country (and even in Australia!). I was heartened to discover that here in Texas, there is one screening scheduled for December 10 in San Antonio. I was even more thrilled to discover that it’s FREE! I am hoping to make it to that free screening, and I’m hoping others in the area will join me to watch it. If you live in Texas anywhere near San Antonio, come on over.

There’s also another screening in Texas, near Houston (Webster, TX is about 30 minutes away from Houston), so if you’re in Texas and can’t make it to the San Antonio one, go to the one there. It’s not free, but the movie is worth paying money for, imo. If there weren’t a screening in San Antonio already, I’d probably make the 4 hour drive and pay the $25 for it (it includes food!).

Here’s a trailer of “The Business of Being Born:”

Now you want to watch it, right? :) Find upcoming screenings for your hometown.

ETA:  Women’s Health News blog wrote a review on “The Business of Being Born.”  Check it out.  :)

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Breastfeeding on Sesame Street in 1977

October 15th, 2007 by MamaBear

Someone on MDC posted and linked to this wonderful video from Sesame Street in 1977. It’s so sweet and so wonderful I can’t NOT embed it here. Enjoy! :)

(And many, many thanks to the kind soul who posted it on YouTube. Whoever you are, THANK YOU for sharing this with the world.)

ETA: The woman who is breastfeeding her son is Buffy Sainte-Marie.  (Thanks, Buffy, wherever you are. You make the world a better place.)

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Long Live The Zoops!

October 10th, 2007 by MamaBear

Hathor the CowGoddess made a YouTube version of her original Story of the Zoops. From the first moment I read the story, I thought it was brilliant, and believed it would become a cult classic among breastfeeding advocates everywhere (I still do, now more than ever). With her permission, I’ve embedded the video version here, for your viewing pleasure:

Enjoy! :)

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Where is all this racial tension coming from? (Not about breastfeeding.)

October 1st, 2007 by MamaBear

A couple of stories in the news lately have me worried. First there’s the controversial Jena 6 case. I won’t go into the details of it. It’s way too controversial and media contaminated, and, at least for now, I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole. I might as well write the word “abortion” instead of “Jena 6,” because both terms guarantee to piss off everybody, on both sides of the debate. Not worth it.

Rather than alienate my readers, I’ll instead draw your attention to the more recent case of a young girl in California who got her wrist broken by a guard at her school. According to the news reports, Pleajhia Mervin, a 16-year old high school student, dropped a birthday cake on the floor of the school cafeteria. She picked up the mess, but was then told by the security guard to pick up some crumbs she left behind. Mervin went back to pick up the crumbs, and when she was done, started walking to class. The security guard, not satisfied with the way Mervin had picked up the crumbs (WTF? Isn’t that what the janitorial staff at a school is for?) engaged in a verbal altercation with her which culminated in him slamming her against a steel grate and twisting her wrist until it broke. I cannot make this shit up, people! It was caught on a video cameraphone by an quick-on-his-feet fellow student. (Said student was also “taken down,” by the guards — WHY?? –, and his incident was also documented in a picture by yet another student, thank goodness.)

There is so much wrong with this, I don’t know where to begin: The flagrant abuse of power by the guard(s) in question; the subtle sexism (”How dare she not finish cleaning up every last crumb?” was the implication the guard’s actions carried, wordlessly); the subtle racist insult (so subtle Mervin’s mother had to explain it to her) by the guard who broke Mervin’s wrist: “nappy-head;” the fact that even daring to document the abuse of power was seen as so much of a threat by the guards that they chose to assault the rogue documentarian (who was himself another student) for NO legitimate reason… On and on and on…

Which brings me to my point, here: Where is all this racial tension coming from? Was it always there and I just didn’t notice? Is it like the sexism I didn’t notice (and I’m a woman), because it was so much of a part of life that I didn’t register the subtle jabs at women doled out by society, over and over again, those spoken and unspoken, unless and until they became as obvious as this news story? Is this a backlash of some sort? Or is it that I couldn’t put it all together before because never before was I mature enough to understand, and never before were the resources at my disposal (the internet) to help me connect all the dots? It could be all these things and more. Thank goodness for the internet; that’s all I have to say. Second only to the right to vote, it’s probably the thing that will make it possible for the ordinary person to finally have a voice.

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Required Consumption

September 30th, 2007 by MamaBear

I’ve been talking lately about corporations and corporate interests (regarding some of my posts on Prolacta and Nestlé), and I think a lot of what I say may be misinterpreted by some, and some of it may just not be registering at all for others. I have had the blessing of being educated by incredible influences in my life, and it is part of my life’s mission to impart some of this wisdom to the world. It’s one of the reasons why I blog. I am not trying to sound arrogant. If anything, I want to make sure there’s more equity in the world by making injustices be known so that they can be corrected. I always try, whenever possible, to include links to references so that you may be the judge of what I say. Ultimately, I want my readers to assess for themselves if what I’m saying is true. Don’t just take my (or anyone else’s) word for it.

I want to make sure that everyone is on the same page before I continue with my blogging, so in order to do that, I want to make sure you know what I know. I’m embedding this video, of a documentary called “The Corporation,” as a primer for starting to understand how things work in the corporate world. Incentives and motivation are key in people’s lives, for both individuals and corporations. While it is really hard to distill into one thought the wealth of information contained in this documentary, I will say that one of the important lessons I learned from watching it is this: “A corporation has all the rights of an individual, but none of the responsibility.” It’s a very powerful statement, and an apt assessment.

Please note: I don’t think there is anything wrong with making money. Money (and having to make a living) are necessary aspects of life. I have a problem with hurting others to make money, and I do not think it is necessary to hurt others in order to make a living. “Hurt” can be a matter of interpretation, where “deception” may be considered by some to be perfectly reasonable and not the same as “hurt.” That’s for you the viewer to decide. Personally, I think it depends on each individual situation (in some cases, “hurt” is pretty clear-cut and in others, not so much).

Also, some required reading (if you have the time after sitting through the whole 2.5-hour-long documentary): Blink (a book that is essentially an analysis on Occam’s Razor), The Tipping Point (about ripple effects), and Freakonomics (Yes, Jill, I know he’s your friend, but it’s a really good book on some of the hidden economies of life, so I’m recommending it despite that). ;)

“The Corporation” (first there’s a brief commercial of sorts, where the filmmakers ask for monetary donations for the film; after that, the film begins). Film is in two parts, both embedded here:

Part 1 lasts one hour, 26 minutes and Part 2 lasts almost exactly one hour. Total time is about 2:30 hours. Dedicating the time to watching it is time well spent. Cheaper than a college course, way shorter, and almost as informative (actually, depending on the course, probably more informative). You owe it to yourself to watch this.

Edited to add:  I’ve found some transcripts on some of the interviews seen in “The Corporation” on the official website.  I apologize in advance that I can’t find anything better for my Deaf and hard-of-hearing readers.  I wish closed captioning were available in the video itself.

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Working on more important posts… But for now… “Africa.”

September 22nd, 2007 by MamaBear

Listen to and watch this guy. The following is not a video about breastfeeding, but if you’re nursing at the keyboard (nak) or pumping at the keyboard, it might help with let-down. It’s worth a shot. :)

Anyway, this guy is so completely bad-ass. He totally rocks and, whenever possible, everyone should listen to him play pwn his guitar. His name is Andy McKee. Notice how for the song “Africa” he not only manages to recreate several instruments’ worth of sound on one acoustic guitar, he also captures the vocal track as well. Brilliant talent taken to its full potential. Awe-inspiring.

I love the internet.

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