February 14, 2008

A Message For Those Who Choose To Babywear: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

You sick of the gear-heavy, alienating inconvenience of the stroller/swing/playpen combo that 150+ years of Anglocentric parenting culture foists on us all, and you want to try some of that practical, bonding-friendly, elemental goodness of wearing your baby instead?

Fine, just make sure you don't exoticize or fetishize the cultures where babywearing is the only option most folks have. Because if you do, I know at least one mami who will set you straight.

I guess Queens Nuyoricans and the indigenous women in the Guatemalan fair trade co-op who made your sling are tight like that. Besides, a white guy wearing a mei tai looks about as incongruous as Steven Seagall wearing a saffron robe. Just think about it.

The Racial and Economic Politics of Babywearing [antiracistparent.com via dt reader mptm]


Whatever... I read this, and roll my babywearing eyes at this woman. She's obviously got a large chip on her shoulder... and something against white people with money. At least to me... the whole article smacks of disdain for white culture. Ironically enough - this is all coming from someone who prides themselves on being "anti-racist." Ha!

Everyone has the right to do what they want.

Every bit of utilitarian gear can be as pricey or not as your pocketbook allows.

Some people spend $400 on the lastest and greatest P-Sling, to be like the celebs...

And hey, great for you... if you got the cash, by all means - knock yourself out. There is no reason to do that - however, when you can use a simple piece of cloth(SPOC).


My first pouch was $20.00 - and I know of women who have made a perfectly lovely and functional wrap out of fabric from Walmart for $1.00 a yard.

It doesn't make me any less "authentic" if I want to wear a Mei Tai because I'm white. They are comfortable and practical for heavy kids and toddlers.

I see people with the Bugaboos,Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bags... and you know what? I'm not jealous, because I can't afford those things... people are entitled to spend their money any way they damn well please. And, shockingly enough to the author of the article~ I'm sure... some of the people I see with these lavishly priced pieces of baby gear are *gasp* parents of color!!

Interesting article. What I see, looking at it, is this: Babywearing is what poor people do in Culture X [speaker's culture], so we don't do that any more, because it marks us as poor. Those of us here who aren't poor do what Culture Y parents do, and are offended when someone assumes that we do what the poor X people do. Even though what the poor people do is probably better for their babies.

This reminds me of several examples in history when what the poor people did was actually better for them than what the rich people did, such as eating whole-grain bread instead of white bread.

"According to the Wikipedia, ____ is ..." has got to be in the top ten weakest openings for an essay.

What a bizarre essay.
Some of my fondest memories of my son's first year are us wondering around Montreal together, him happily snug in our baby carrier, face out, exchanging smiles with everyone passing by.
I'm thrilled to see this trend so widespread in my city. I don't care what the historical context of the baby carrier is. Rather I'm concerned with the social implications- happy parents, happy babies (and less SUV strollers crowding the sidewalks and buses).

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