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Who’s Desperate?

May
9
2005

I’ve never seen a desperate housewife;
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

I have seen the TV show, “Desperate Housewives,” though. Sunday nights the kids are usually worn out early from tormenting both their parents all weekend, so I curl up in the Barcalounger with the laundry that needs to be folded and usually manage to catch some of the show. Plus, it used to be right before my favorite show “Boston Legal,” which the network bastards haven’t put on in ages. (I’m sure they’re planning to cancel it, since it’s the one thing I tried to watch. If it’s ever back, watch. It’s not perfect, but it’s interesting.)
In any case, “Desperate Housewives” does a fine job of being a soap, though since I’ve missed parts I don’t quite get all the fine details. I’m pretty sure I’m understanding enough though. Its connection to reality is about like that of any soap. These women have way too much time on their hands. Except of course that the housewife with the most and youngest kids is the most worn and beaten-down looking one. That’s accurate, I believe.
I prefer “Boston Legal” because it’s more escapist for me, doubtless because I’m not a lawyer but some would call me a housewife. Some of the women on “Boston Legal” are smart lawyers who are also babes. Sure, the breast does play its part, but it’s a lesser role.
“Desperate Housewives,” however, is a how-to lesson in the artful arrangement of perky breasts. If I’m interested in seeing breasts, I can always drop in on a La Leche League meeting. Breasts there aren’t necessarily perky, but they are abundant.


In days past, I would have assumed the “Desperate Housewives” breast model was totally unrealistic. Growing up, my impression was that moms had, well, mom figures.
That’s not true across the board these days, at least here in Southern California. You’ve got a substantial portion of moms who somehow maintain their babedom. I credit surgery. Maybe they have decent nannies too.
The average nursing breast can eventually get, well, a little shopworn. Not so much during, when it gets plump with milk, but after the nursing days are over. Think balloon with the air let out. Remember those National Geographic pictures? OK, maybe not all the breasts. (We do have lots of fine plastic surgeons around here.)
But more power to the breasts that do show battle scars. It advertises what a breast is for. Anything else is just a lagniappe. I know this might shock some of you out there, but boobs aren’t only about sex.
I read somewhere, probably in some crunchy-type book pushing breastfeeding, that most of the post-baby changes in the breast are caused by pregnancy anyway, so go ahead and breastfeed. I have no idea if this is true.
But I do know that the idea that breasts should look good, or rather, that they’re solely sexualized objects and should be hidden unless they’re being flaunted naughtily, is one of the factors why American women (and some European, though naturally not so much those free-thinking Scandinavian types) don’t breastfeed as much as doctors these days think they should. Many women start, but they don’t continue on for long. There are lots of other reasons also working against breastfeeding, including unsupportive work environments, but unsupportive social attitudes can also be a big drag on mothers and babies.
Although little flesh shows when nursing, if you feel like a peep show actress, you’re not going to be comfortable doing it in public, which means you’re trapped in the house because babies can really make a lot of noise when they’re ready to nurse and you’re not, which means you’ll really lose your mind, which means you’ll soon be turning to the comforts of a bottle–baby bottle that is.
Even if some flesh does show, it’s about half of what your average 17-year-old flashes in math class, never mind the beach. Of course, that’s usually taut and tanned flesh.
So some mothers think the solution is one of those tents they sell in this country to drape yourself and the baby with. Yeh, sitting on a bench looking like the circus has come to town is just what every new mother with baby-fat issues wants.
Many of today’s moms were raised with bottles. Nursing, along with less medicalized childbirth and the so-called attachment parenting styles of wearing your baby in a sling and co-sleeping (sharing a bed) (link), are part of a whole range of annoy-your-mother-in-law child-rearing techniques some women have been (re)exploring since the ‘60s.
Certain aspects of the formerly crunchy style are becoming mainstream. The American Academy of Pediatrics, as mainstream as it gets, recently issued new guidelines on nursing, emphasizing that women should be supported in nursing exclusively for the baby’s first six months, and then continue nursing up to a year or longer. They also recommend that mom and baby sleep “in proximity” to each other (they have concerns about a few situations where sharing the same bed is a bad idea).
That’s nice support for mothers who do continue on. When nursing (or co-sleeping, for that matter) continues up around the second birthday–or longer–it turns into one of those little mommy secrets—common but never mentioned.
Enough people have enough sex, you are gonna get a few babies. That’s the way it works. Sometimes it seems we forget.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 12:14 AM | Permalink

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