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Not about the pregnancy, yet I still manage to mention boobs.

2005-07-25 - 4:27 p.m.

Another Women’s Voices Festival come and gone. It was a perfect day weather-wise. Not too hot, not too cold, and sunny without being humid. The music was good but really, I go for the atmosphere and to spend time with a couple of my good friends. It’s not cheap, but it’s once a year and it’s worth it. I really can’t imagine any other type of venue that allows women of all shapes, sizes, and colours to hang out, dance, swim, eat, and just generally enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful day (sometimes doing all this topless) in quite the same way.

There are those who disagree with events that only allow one gender to attend. I am not one of those people. I fully support the idea of allowing positive events that provide women-only space, just as I’m also okay with the idea of allowing positive events that provide men-only space. This is especially true if we’re talking about events that only last for a relatively short time.

Now that I think about it, I teach at a couple of women-only gyms and that too I’m okay with. There are women who exercise there whose religion forbids having their hair or any body parts exposed to men’s gazes, and since, to me, it’s unreasonable to expect them to workout completely covered, as far as I’m concerned it would be wrong to deny them a space where they can reap all the health benefits of staying fit.

I get tired of people saying indignantly that women shouldn’t be allowed to exclude men from anything because “men can’t exclude women from anything”. To this I say “Pish tosh.*” There are places, particularly in the U.S., where women are excluded. There are golf courses that don’t allow women to play there, for instance, and a Jewish friend has told me that there are even still courses that don’t allow Jews to play there – something I find so appalling that I don’t even want to believe it but he would know. But I digress…

Where was I? Oh yeah, to summarize: if women want to go off to a large campground and dance around topless, where’s the harm? If men want to go off to the woods and beat drums and bond, more power to ‘em.

My friends and I are already making plans for bringing Grommet next year. The plan is that they’ll help out with him over the course of the day. They talked about getting a tiny T-shirt that says “This is my second Women’s Voices Festival” since really, he attended this year in the womb. And she’s developed enough that she probably heard at least some of the music with her tiny little ears. Let’s face it, if Women’s Voices is not a breastfeeding-friendly venue, what is?

I firmly believe that the Festival is a great place to bring kids. (Boys are allowed in with their mothers up to the age of 10.) It seems to me that it would be an antidote to the over-commercialization and sexualization of women’s bodies and breasts. I’d rather have my kids see real boobs in all their varied states than to have their exposure limited to inflated, air-brushed, or casting-director selected breasts that they would inevitably see throughout their teenage years and probably even catch glimpses of before that. On top (no pun intended) of that, it’s just so warm and happy and peaceful and positive at the Festival, how could it not be good to bring kids to it? Especially since there is swimming and canoeing and various activities they can participate in. I’m looking forward to sharing this tradition with the Grom.

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*And it’s fun to say. Try it. “Pish tosh.”

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