New York Times story on the baby formula shortage

Timed to coincide with the national shortage of baby formula, “The Feminist Case for Breast Reduction” (NYT, May 10):

Over the next 25 years, my breasts drew attention that I would not otherwise have received. Like a sexual beacon, they signaled to men everywhere. I’d always known I was queer and began dating women as a teenager. While I found some refuge in these intimate relationships, I still lived in the world of men, and the size of my breasts meant that my body was theirs for the staring, commenting, grabbing and fetishizing.

Frye and I were the same height, but her breasts were larger than mine, which were a 36D.

How much weight is 36D? Approximately 1.5 lbs. per breast. (source)

Cosmetic surgery is off-limits to the true feminist, but the implication is that working as a prostitute is consistent with feminism:

I grew up in the 1980s and ’90s, thumbing through my mother’s issues of Ms. and occasionally attending NOW meetings with her. Despite never having read any feminist writing on cosmetic surgery, I knew that the consensus was, as Kathy Davis, the foremost contemporary feminist theorist on the subject, wrote in a 1991 article in the journal “Hypatia,” that cosmetic surgery was “regarded as an extreme form of medical misogyny, producing and reproducing the pernicious and pervasive cultural themes of deficient femininity.” The woman who yielded to the desire to commit such violence to her body was a “cultural dope,” afflicted by false consciousness, believing she made a personal choice while actually yielding to a system that controls and oppresses women.

Years later, I found plenty of loopholes in my inherited feminism that permitted me to do things I would have thought off limits at 13, but none were big enough to fit cosmetic surgery. Even by my early 20s, the only people I knew who’d done it were friends who worked in the sex industry, for whom it seemed a professional investment rather than a personal one. I would need a more powerful kind of permission that I didn’t yet feel the authority to give myself.

The author has some experience with body modification:

My conception of feminism also permitted me to cover myself in tattoos, pierce just about every flap of skin on my body and stretch inch-wide holes in my earlobes as well as have them sewn back up 10 years later (a permissible “deformity” to have corrected). To change my body through cosmetic surgery, however, would violate the often-conflicting ideologies behind these allowances.

The supposed dichotomy between “medical” and “aesthetic” surgeries is reflected perhaps most starkly in today’s medicalization of sexual transition, the manner in which transgender people seeking surgery must pathologize their experience in order to receive permission from medical gatekeepers. Listening to the experiences of my trans friends and reading the works of trans writers pushed me to think differently about my own dilemma.

The summer before I made the first appointment, my wife and I spent an afternoon in a private room at a bathhouse in Port Townsend, Wash., and that is where I told her about my decades-long struggle with my breasts and my interest in surgery. I had never spoken aloud about it to anyone.

In other words, the NYT gives us a story about two members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community that begins in a bathhouse. The self-described “feminist” chooses a male plastic surgeon and the result is a happy ending:

I had always experienced my body, particularly my breasts, as something I needed to keep hidden or to manage. In the first weeks after my surgery, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror because the sight of the incisions made me woozy. Instead, I asked my wife to look and tell me what she saw. I stood and opened my shirt. It felt like baring myself to the sun for the first time. How warm it was. How quickly I had stopped treating my body like a terrible secret. It was less the physical alteration that made it possible than the conversation we had in that steamy room and the decision that followed. Naming my experience returned my body to me more conclusively than a scalpel ever could.

How bad is the formula shortage right now? Amazon offers some infant formula that they promise to deliver… in June. Most products are shown as simply “unavailable” with no promises regarding restocking.


19 thoughts on “New York Times story on the baby formula shortage

    • Reading NYT is fascinating… in a somewhat moribund way. It’s like being a spectator in a freak show (I mean actual, physically deformed people… though the tattooed and heavily pierced ones come close), you can’t keep but being fascinated by the depths of insanity and psychopathy the people can descend into. “Are they for real?… How can anyone be so delusional?”

  1. 1960s baby formula recipe (google it): evaporated milked + water + corn syrup + vitamin drops. So simple that even a CIS white high-school educated male could make it.

    • Where is Dr. Fauci to order that formula can be sold only to those who can prove ownership of a baby under 6 months of age (the older ones can consume a variety of alternatives safely)? If the central planners shut down the big formula factory and prohibit European imports, why can’t they manage a simple ration coupon program?

  2. > Republicans are sounding the alarm after discovering baby formula is being sent to border facilities

    If you imprison people you have an obligation to like feed them and stuff. What’s controversial about this?

    • Anon: I think that you’re quoting the Daily Mail article that I referenced. And, of course, if Republicans are saying something it is probably a lie and/or hate speech. But you do raise a good question. In a centrally planned economy like the one that the Biden administration has set up for baby formula, how do the central planners decide which babies will go hungry? In the centrally planned systems that states set up for distributing COVID-19 vaccines, prisoners in some states got priority over taxpayers, so I guess it would make sense for that tradition to be continued with baby formula if migrant babies were actually being imprisoned. But I thought that “kids in cages” was a feature only of the cruel dictatorship of Donald Trump. Surely, you aren’t suggesting that migrant babies are being caged by benevolent Joe Biden?

      See for how prisoners were in the highest priority category in Maskachusetts when the pandemic-ending vaccines first became available.

    • You keep saying “centrally planned” – is it your opinion there should be no FDA / quality checks on baby formulae, ala China?

    • Certainly I wouldn’t want to criticize the central planners. But checking US factories for quality is only one part of their direction of this industry. Canadian-made formula is kept out via high tariffs. European formula is kept out via non-tariff rules (but we pay for Third World babies to be poisoned by Nestle-made formula?). It is a beautiful plan that prevents American babies from being poisoned the way they babies are poisoned daily in Vancouver, Zurich, and Amsterdam. The planners just forgot to include a strategic reserve of wet nurses.

    • Baby formula is a very straight-forward product to make. Regulations keep many potential producers who aim to provide great quality baby food off supermarket shelves.

    • Philip, my post is not about abbot. I always tried to minimize my children exposure to supermarket baby formula and when they were too grown-up for breast-feeding we went for baby food made at home from scratch or with non-FDA approved farmers market staff. Saying that I do not see how only 2 children could die from staff that is fed to millions and nobody else is affected. Baby formula is very easy to produce and is often produced by small scale kitchens, it is a crime or indicator of unbelievable societal infantilism or laziness so to that when (for whatever reason) one large company shuts down nobody steps by to the business opening. I would expect market reaction time for this be 2 weeks under normal conditions. Nothing against Abbot, I think they are right unless there is very compelling evidence that the deaths causes (nails in bottles or cans? what else could happen to 2 bottles out of several millions?) are tied up to Abbott’s factory.

  3. > Cosmetic surgery is off-limits to the true feminist

    Where are you getting this shit?

    > The self-described “feminist” chooses a male plastic surgeon

    Are you under the delusion feminists can only procure services from their own gender?

    • > Cosmetic surgery is off-limits to the true feminist […]

      That is a humorous summary of the NYT quotation that directly follows after the colon!

      I think this blog assumes a basic level in reading comprehension (and a basic sense of humor).

    • Obama always says if you like your stories about queer tattooed pierced feminists (with prostitute friends) in the bathhouse you can keep your stories about queer tattooed pierced feminists (with prostitute friends) in the bathhouse.

    • If someone wants to fight the medical patriarchy, isn’t choosing all non-male doctors for one’s own care the best way to start? #Resistance begins at home, just like charity.

  4. The institutional normalization of deviance is great for professional arbiters of fucked-up people but it’s terrible for society as a whole. As for myself, I once had my hair cut by a trans man in Chicago, who had an incredibly complicated life, including as a drag queen and a prostitute, while he/she was going through her surgery. She wasn’t persecuted by anything other than herself – she lived in the middle of the gayest neighborhood in in the Midwest, had dozens of friends at least as disturbed as he/she was, and didn’t care for one moment about anything but all his/her incredibly complicated problems.

    I sincerely believe that Psychologists and Psychiatrists reached a point about 10 years ago when they all threw up their hands and said collectively: “We can’t cure these people, we can’t do anything to fix them or help them, we categorically refuse to investigate the genetic and other causes of their problems, and now we have to normalize them and in the process, if all the rest of society has to change to accommodate them, that’s what we’re going to do.”

    And that’s what they’re doing.

    • I’ve always wondered why A1 Research medical schools and Universities never decided to conduct any research into the genetics of gender dysphoria. My idea was: “Well, these folks are clearly upset and disturbed, but there must be some biological reason, if they’re so willing to undergo medical procedures to switch their genders. Why can’t we investigate them and figure out why they hit puberty and become completely scrambled?”

    • And it might sound sad to say that a very small fraction of fucked-up people should not constitute the grounds for changing everything else in Society, including pronouns that people use and how we educate our children – but we shouldn’t. What we should try to do is figure out why they’re so screwed up.

  5. Wow, what a lot of writing in that article, thanks for summarizing!

    OK, Formula: I have a half-Russianerm…Eastern European ребенок of near 0-day vintage. Powdered formula is readily available in Southern California. Since I am a cisgendered male and not Bill Gates I need to use formula if I don’t want to wake up the female identified member of the household at 4 AM.

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