Sunday, July 23, 2006

La Leche and SF fandom: A comparative analysis

I'm back after an extended weekend in sunny Corpus Christi. Not much writing was accomplished. Not much was accomplished at all, unless you count swimming, beach combing, hermit crab hunting and other touristy stuff an accomplishment. This was sort of the family's mini-vacation for the year, since Lisa and I took so much time off earlier in the year for Orion's birth. And it was sort of a working vacation, for Lisa, at any rate, because we officially went to Corpus for the La Leche League Texas Area Conference. Yes, breast-feeding advocates have conventions, just like science fiction fans. And you know what? The two aren't entirely dissimilar. There's a dealers' room where the vast majority of things sold are books, along with vendors who have all sorts of interesting wares to sell. T-shirts and bumper stickers and buttons are adorned with witty sayings. There are numerous programming tracks. Keynote speakers/guests of honor. There's a hospitality suite. The passionate hallway debates are similar, albeit focusing on different subject matter.

Of course, there are some notable differences as well. The male/female ratio is reversed when comparing a La Leche conference to SF cons. Also, since nearly every attendee has children (hello? They're nursing mothers) the children's programming is considerably more extensive and better attended than at SF cons (Lisa was in charge of this area, and had fantastic turnout for the events--notably the presentations put on by the Texas State Aquarium). The foodstuffs offered in the hospitality suite tend to be much more health-oriented than that found at SF cons, since nursing mothers in general trend towards the Whole Foods demographic. The biggest difference, though--and this is a biggie--there are considerably more breasts visible at a La Leche conference than an SF con--and I'm taking all the chain mailed belly dancers into consideration her. I couldn't walk down the hall--seriously--without some mother or another lifting her shirt to feed a child. And you know what? Despite what our Puritanical Overlords at the FCC would have us believe, context is everything. The mothers nursing in un-selfconscious manner were just that: mothers feeding their children. The ones that drew attention to themselves were the ones felt compelled to cover up with a blanket when nursing. This is the third one I've attended with Lisa, and the remarkable thing about it is how unremarkable the whole affair is. I suppose a convention is a convention is a convention, down to the mundanes staying at the same hotel who freak out when they discover what perveted gathering is sharing hall space with them. Horrors!

But hey, we didn't hang around the hotel all weekend. Apart from hitting the beach at North Padre Island, we also paid a visit to the afore-mentioned Texas State Aquarium. Dolphin Bay, as seen below with Calista and Keela, is always a popular stop.

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Lastly, I'll leave you folks with this image of me entertaining Orion while Lisa attended one of her panels over the weekend. You see, Orion's recently gotten some of his baby teeth in, and takes great pleasure in using them every chance he gets. At this particular point in time, I carelessly allowed my thumb to venture too close to the danger zone. Actually, I believe Orion grabbed it and shoved it in his mouth, lightning quick. Either way, that kid's got some bite on him!

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1 comment:

  1. Cool. I've never been to a La Leche League conference, though I was a member for a few years when my daughter was small.

    And I agree about the blankets: All they do is call more attention to you.

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