Letters To The Editor
September 06, 2006 - MidWeek
Thank you to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission for bringing awareness to the community on the legal right for women to breast-feed in public. And thank you to MidWeek for that important cover story on bringing back old Hawaiian traditions.
The people who wrote in comparing these arts with pornography, and anyone else who was offended by the Aug. 30 MidWeek cover and/or breast-feeding in public, need to come to the realization that their own minds are pornographic if they so dare as to place breast-feeding and ancient Hawaiian cultural practices in the same category as pornography.
These people should weed their own minds instead of weeding out what little is left of our connection to the Earth, our babies and our cultures.
Part of nature
It is with great sadness that I read the letters written by readers Elaine Johnson and Alice Lee on their issues of nudity (one in Hawaiian culture, and one in breast-feeding at the mall). The most beautiful aspect of being human is to be part of the miraculous circle of life. There is no greater gift than being part of nature, and the Hawaiians have always and still embrace this very natural and loving aspect. Seeing a picture of a Hawaiian man in traditional attire and embracing another man, his teacher, his kumu, is an act of respecting the history of Hawaii, the aina, and one’s love for one another as people of that land.
As for breast-feeding, when a child is hungry, you feed him or her right then and there (every mother will agree that you don’t let a 2-month-old baby cry until you have driven over the highway home or disappeared into a less-clean bathroom for a feeding.)
Seeing something sexual in any of these examples is showing a sad detachment from one’s self.
Both the photo of the men of the lua martial discipline and the poetic image of a mother attending to a basic human need are really expressions of higher cultural relationships: The lua master feeds martial skill and knowledge while the mother imparts more than sustaining breast milk to her offspring.
There is, however, a common connection between these two instances in alleged “pornography” that was written by Father Walter F. Gong, who said, “Relationalism is not reductionism,” which means that the living skills of cultural practices are complexes - suggesting that the direct, righteous charges of pornography, in both cases, are simplistic, accusatory to the accuser and ill-placed!
I stand with Kawena Kaiwi in applauding not one, but both practitioners of cultural living skills whether in the martial arts of Hawaiian lua or breast-feeding in public places.
Emil Wolfgramm Teller of Polynesian Epics
It’s not sexual
So Alice Lee feels a woman breast-feeding her infant is considered pornography? Huh? Regardless if a mother breast-feeds her hungry infant in public or behind closed doors, it is not a pornographic act, unless Ms. Lee feels both the mother and the infant are getting sexual pleasure from this. Which, of course, begs the question: Does Ms. Lee even know what pornography is?
I am not sure if Ms. Johnson or Ms. Lee can regard themselves as women because of their remarks. How can you compare public urination to feeding your child! I am breast-feeding my youngest child, and I know all the positive benefits for my children in the long run! I am so annoyed at the stupidity of the remarks made!
If they consider the breast a sexual organ, perhaps in biology class they were too busy to understand that both male and female have breasts, and the purpose for the female was for feeding their off-spring. Thank you for letting me express my views. It infuriates me about some people’s thinking!
It’s a native thing
In regard to Ms. Johnson’s letter about MidWeek‘s cover photo and story on the Hawaiian practice of lua: Welcome to Hawaii! Please respect our culture and people. Aloha.
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