Articles from Issue 11

The following are sample articles from Issue 11. Click here or contact to order the full zine in hard copy or PDF format.

Ke-Tzitzim u'Frachim (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
View paper

That passage from the Friday night hymn of Bar Yochai always made me laugh. In modern Hebrew it means “Like tits and flowers.” In the said hymn, however, it apparently refers to some sort of decoration… no understatements there.
On second thought, the original meaning of the word “zayin” is a weapon, but is currently used as a pejorative for penis. As such, I think that “tzitzim” might really mean decoration, but was adopted by modern Hebrew speakers in order to avoid using the word “breasts,” so they settled for “you know, those things that decorate women.”
The way straight men treat our mammaries is best described by the joke that compares toy trains with breasts – they are intended for babies, but grown men end up playing with them.
But women experience their breasts in many different ways. I, for example, always thought that if I were to audition for a lingerie commercial and my only competition was a washboard, the washboard would probably nail the part. So I decided to mold my itty bitties as I see fit – by getting them enlarged (slightly) and piercing my nipples. And although my family urges me to wear tight shirts and to arch my back (and that may be the only family who does), I like to preserve the mystery of my breasts under many layers of large death metal t-shirts and thick hoodies, and expose them only to select men who may be lucky enough to see them.
Aside from that, I am vehemently against bras. Breast-binding is like Chinese foot-binding. To all you big-busted women, common sense tells me that it is not your breasts but rather your bras that may be causing your back pain. Your breasts are not attached to your back, but by wearing bras you strap them to your back, like wearing a backpack forward. Besides, studies show that wearing bras can also cause breast cancer, so liberate your breasts!
As for nipples, they are MADE for piercings! I wish I had more nipples.
A materialist society like ours also treats breasts in different ways – the way that breasts are exploited in pop culture, the way they are displayed by Victoria Secret, or the way they are covered up as a religious woman’s secret, the way they are used as an object of ridicule or obsession by men and women alike, and the way they are propped up, enlarged, reduced, tightened, buckled, or squeezed together according to conformist norms.
But I believe that breasts transcend any conventional stereotypes that this materialist society may label them with. There is something much deeper than that.
The politically correct Hebrew term for breasts is “Shadayim.” Rabannit Hadass Badass says that this word contains the word “Shada’i” which is another name for the Mother Goddess often used to mean protection or safety, as well as the word “Shad,” which if written in Hebrew with no vowels can also be read as “Shed” that means a demon.
So holy or demonic, Shadayim have a power that us mortals have yet to understand.
In a sense, they’re holy because they sustain humans in the early stages of their life. And they may be considered demonic because those who have them are automatically at risk of being subjugated to offensive sexual innuendos (or worse) and at risk of getting breast cancer. It is no wonder then that the Hebrew word for cancer is “Sartan,” which curiously sounds like “Satan.”
This issue deals with the various aspects of breasts and the many important roles they play in daily life. It also includes some touching stories by breast cancer survivors, as well as some lighter stories on the adventures of nipple piercings, breastfeeding, breast terminology and more. Finally, don’t forget to check out the Riot Grrrl Corner featuring an exclusive interview with the Cathy Santonies.

The Breast Cancer Front (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

On Breastfeeding and Middle-Aged Breasts (by Debbie Snyder-Eliraz)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Breasts, Boobies, or Bubbles (by Tinamarie Bernard)
View paper

A few weeks back, I took some punches from a handful of readers who didn’t like my use of the word, “boobies.” I learned to accept this; one cannot write a column without occasionally crossing someone’s virtues or values. At the time, my sister told me not to fret about it and do as Madonna does – use the criticism to improve my craft, which in this case, is writing about Modern Love. And one of the most important aspects of that is exploring intimacy, promiscuity and prudishness.
Some may find the word “boobies” loaded with unpleasant connotations. On the other hand, there are many people including myself for whom the term has always just been an informal alternative for breasts; it doesn’t offend me as a woman, mother or writer. As with most things, it depends on one’s intention. And I know that eventually, children ask questions, and we must answer. Just the other day, my toddler daughter began to pat my chest. Kneading me with her chubby little hands, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “bubbles.” Then she giggled, kneaded and snuggled some more. There is comfort in a mother’s bosom.
The truth is that breasts are both utilitarian and sensual, and it is impossible to separate the two. We live in a society obsessed with the female breast (nothing new historically speaking) – men ogle at them – some more subtly than others – and women respond with a variety of reactions. Pleasure. Irritation. Outrage. Arousal. Frustration. Confidence. Those who want to diminish the breast to function – the feeding of children – forget that women spend very few years reproducing and nursing. Those who react to breastfeeding with either feigned offense or confusion forget that breasts are more than sexual ornamentation.
Besides, our culture offers just one view of the female breast. Others have no problem with the bare bosom, and pre-historic societies often depicted them as round and large. Cleavage comes in all shapes and sizes. With more women – and at younger ages – getting breast reductions/augmentations in pursuit of the perfect pair of perky, I can’t help but think that teaching my children the word, “boobies” is hardly the biggest problem we face as a culture and society. Some may be embarrassed by certain words, and I accept that. But my bigger concern is that we impose shame when there should be none; that we pervert what is natural, and demonize what is sensual, and in the process forget just how fabulous the female breast really is. Breast, boob, or bubble – by any name, they are glorious all the same.
Tinamarie Bernard is a Modern Ahavah columnist, San Diego Jewish Journal and top-rated writer of sex, conscious love, intimacy and relationships.
View Tinamarie's column here.

Breast Plate (artwork by Mallory Serebrin)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Betrayed by My Breasts (by Rivka Matitya)
View paper 1
View paper 2

This article was originally published as a three-part post on Rivka's blog Coffee and Chemo.

I breastfed all my babies. You don’t even want to know for how long.
Once, in the locker room, a woman criticized me for bringing my little boy in to change, accusing him of staring at her breasts.
I was polite, of course, but I did point out that as a breastfeeding mother, with many breastfeeding friends, my son saw breasts all the time. To him, breasts were for feeding babies. That this woman thought a six year old boy would be looking at breasts in a sexual way is just sad.
“Breast” is not a “bad word” in our home. Even after I stopped nursing my kids, I volunteered as a breastfeeding counselor. (I still do, though I am far less active than I once was.)
I talked about breasts ALL the time.
So, when I learned that I had breast cancer, I felt betrayed by my body.
Breastfeeding lowers the incidence of breast cancer, both in mothers and their babies. I breastfed ALL my babies, for a LONG time. How could my breasts betray me like this??
My breasts were a source of life. My children lived on breast milk alone for anywhere between six months to a year (depending on the kid). Even after my kids started eating solids, breast milk was their primary source of nutrition. Later, it was a valuable supplement for them. When they were breastfeeding, my children almost never got sick. Breast milk was the elixir of life!
How could my breasts turn from a source of life to a threat of death??
How could they contain cancer???
I did not know how to look at my body anymore.
My body had betrayed me.
My breasts had betrayed me.
I needed to find someone else like me. Not just any other survivor, I specifically searched for other breastfeeding counselors or lactation consultants, who survived breast cancer.
I felt there was something special, and ironic, about being a breastfeeding counselor and having breast cancer.
Surely, someone who spends so much of her time talking about breasts, and handling breasts, must have a particularly hard time dealing with breast cancer.
I worried about my ability to continue counseling breastfeeding mothers. Would I be able to provide the same level of support? Should I resign, as a La Leche League leader, from our local organization?
I was not ready to close off that part of my life.
I spoke with other leaders from my area. They encouraged me to listen to my heart, and embraced me when I chose to stay.
Today, I still sit on our area council and assist in our local district. I also continue to counsel mothers by phone and in person.
Other leaders, who know me, know that I have breast cancer. I do not share that information with the mothers I help.
I never did find another breastfeeding counselor with whom to share my experiences.
That need passed.
I still needed to learn to live with my body again. When I was first diagnosed, I desperately wanted to “save my breast.”
The lumpectomy left my breast deformed and ugly. It also did not remove all the cancer.
Once I realized that a mastectomy was inevitable, I knew that I wanted reconstruction.
I teach swimming; I am in the locker room all the time; breasts are everywhere.
I am very open about my experiences, but it has always been my choice about when and where to share that information. I did not want the stares, or the pity.
So, I went to one of the best plastic surgeons in the world (thank God for insurance!!). I had a skin-saving mastectomy, followed by DIEP reconstruction, using my own tissue to rebuild my breast. I could still feel sensations on the surface of my skin. Eventually, regenerated nerve tissue created sensation within the breast as well. The new breast became be a part of me, not just some foreign object inserted into my body.
But, was that enough?
On the outside, I looked “normal.”
No doubt, that felt good.
But it took time until I could look at my body without just seeing all those scars.
It took a while before “the new breast” became “my breast.”
Eventually, the wounds healed and the scars faded.
Once again, I felt “normal.”
Normal felt good.
I was done with breast cancer.
My story should end here, but it does not.
Only a few months after I had put cancer behind me, a routine mammogram, and follow up tests, revealed devastating news.
What began in my breast, now resided in my bones, liver and lungs.
I no longer had to worry about my breasts.... I had cancer all over my body.
My journey into the world of breast cancer had only just begun.
With love and optimism,
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

Feminist Breasts (by Alejandra Gorino)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

My Tittie Dilemma (by Shira Pruce)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Training towards Adulthood (by Pamela Ariel)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

The Sucker Who Won (by Miriam Drori)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Mastitus or, Breast Feeding Isn't Always Fun (by Leah Moses)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Things I Wish I Could Tell Her (by B Bennett)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Breast Milk, It Does a Body Good (by Dr. Lea-Ora Leeder)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Nursing (by Dorit Shirim)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

One Small Star in the Whole Milky Way (by Sue Tourkin-Komet)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

The Mammogram (by Tinamarie Bernard)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Breasts, Ear Lobes and Belly Buttons (by Hannah Greenberg)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

On Reading Audre Lorde's Cancer Journals (by Leah Moses)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Topless Russian Bride (by Tinamarie Bernard)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Artistic Breast Power (by Ectoplasm) and Goddess (artwork by Ectoplasm)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

The Shield (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
View paper 1
View paper 2

It was back when I attended Montreal’s Concordia University that the horror took place.
A year before the incident, I was walking around slouching more than I usually do because I had just gotten my right nipple pierced, and seeing as I wasn’t wearing a bra, there was nothing separating my aching nipple from the inner surface of my shirt. Every slight brush of my nipple with my shirt made me quiver.
Whatever the media says about the dangers of nipple piercings clearly didn’t apply to me because a mere two weeks later, my piercing was healed.
I headed to the parlor once again to get it checked and to change my retainer for a beautiful shiny nipple shield.
Exactly 357 days later, on February 1, 2004, the world was rocked down to its foundations when (brace yourself) Janet Jackson flashed her nipple ring on the Superbowl Halftime show.
Shock! Gasp! Faint!
I walked into class the next day, and being in journalism school, all my colleagues were raving about it. The media had a field day and the newspapers were plastered with Janet’s embarrassed expression as she covered her exposed right breast, and Justin Timberlake standing next to her looking like a 13-year-old kid whose balls just dropped.
The incident was replayed endlessly in slow motion on media outlets nation wide, if not world wide, sometimes uncensored, but mostly with Janet’s boob morphing into a black circle or a blurred out piece of skin, as Justin tears off a piece of her corset.
Then the news came out that a federal investigation was in the works regarding the half-a-second long incident. Fines were levied by government authorities in the hundreds of thousands of dollars against media corporations who broadcasted the episode live.
I sat in class bewildered.
Seriously? A half-second boob flash is enough to drive the world into catatonia? I was going catatonic just trying to make sense of it.
Kids were watching that, sure. But parents don’t see anything wrong with letting their kids watch increasingly sexist commercials, TV shows, movies, and music videos on a regular basis. So it’s ok to let your seven-year-old recite obscene, chauvinistic and homophobic Eminem lyrics and let him watch commercials showing women in bikinis washing a car splashing water and throwing suds at each other, but if you let your kid see the hint of a nipple or, Goddess forbid, a nipple piercing, then you can expect a nice overdraft in your bank account.
Then, an even more confusing event took place. Justin Timberlake felt it was necessary to excuse the whole thing as a “wardrobe malfunction,” whatever that means.
First of all, I strongly believe that the whole thing was staged. Janet and Justin must have rehearsed that routine about a thousand times. The “shocked” and “embarrassed” expressions of the artists were also clearly staged – the acting was mediocre. And there’s always a five second delay in any live broadcast, so if it really was a mistake, the respective media outlets would have cut to (the supposedly not-as-sexist) commercials before the boob fell out.
Second of all, why apologize in the first place? I mean, personally I don’t like Justin Timberlake. His music is a generic regurgitation of pop, which is an already crappy music genre in essence. And, as an artist who worked so hard to rip off Michael Jackson (RIP), Justin is an absolute insult to the King.
But after that “wardrobe malfunction” statement, not only is he an untalented musician, he’s also a dyslexic liar. You simply don’t apologize for something like that. If a reporter sticks a microphone in your face and asks you to explain what the hell just happened, you say “I tore off a part of her top to expose her dazzling nipple ring so that everyone would know that breasts are what makes the world go round.” And that would have been the proud, ballsy, honest answer.
Finally, what kid out there has never seen a breast? So if it happens to appear on TV, full, beautiful, adorned by a gorgeous nipple shield, and that’s aside from the fact that Janet Jackson is a stunning woman, why soil your pants about it?
I pondered on how this whole event is a bit reminiscent of the Clinton-Lewinsky controversy. Did people seriously think that Clinton is a eunuch? Is he any different than other miniskirt-chasing dudes out there?
I watched the halftime show rerun for several days because that’s all they ever broadcasted on TV at that time.
I stroked my right nipple shield and thought about how cool it is that Janet and I have something in common. If I were as beautiful as her, I wouldn’t doubt the exposure for a second (or half a second, for that matter).
I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe that people made such a big deal about it. By reacting to this incident with such shock is exactly what demonizes the female body in today’s society, and kids who witness such a reaction from the adults, who are ultimately their role models, eventually internalize this issue and perpetuate it.
Wardrobe malfunction, my breasts.

Mother's Milk (by LaMesha)
View paper 1
View paper 2

My name is Lamesha and I grew up drinking breast milk. I’m African American and the child of a teenage mama, so statistically speaking I am an outlier. Black women are the least likely to breastfeed. And teenagers? Not very likely. But somehow, somewhere, my own mother, after giving birth to me all by herself in the hospital at the age of 19, put me to her breast and I latched on. I have loved boobs ever since.
My own son Jake was born via c-section. After four days of being strapped down, monitored, poked, prodded, and drugged in the hospital, my body stopped working and refused to dilate. I hope this never happens to you. I hope as a woman you always feel like your body is yours and that you are in control and you feel complete, regardless of if you are a mother or not. I had my baby cut out of my uterus. Tied down to a bed, can’t feel my legs, doctors talking above me, shaving my vagina, and then “it’s a boy”, except I couldn’t hold him, I had to get stitches. I got the bikini cut.
I always knew that when I had babies I would breastfeed them so I went to the breastfeeding class, read the books and was all set to go, but after birthing him, and feeling like I had lost complete control, it became so much more important. I had to prove to myself that I was still in control of my body; that I was capable of providing for my own child, and that I could do something. When you have stitches in your lower abdomen, you can barely walk and are totally dependent on other people for everything for nearly six weeks, but I could keep my own child alive. That’s pretty damn important. I just wanted to feel good at something (and of course motherhood is all about competition).
I had to see him while I fed him so I rarely covered up my breasts. He was 5lbs 1oz at his tiniest and I was afraid to smother him. I didn’t care about people staring or where I was or who was around. Jake was hungry. He needed to eat now. Pretty soon we got really good at it, and I could talk on the phone, have him in the baby sling on my boob, cook dinner and have the TV blaring at the same time. I hooked myself up to an expensive electrical breast pump when I had to go back to work and pumped milk for him on my breaks and froze it. Infant formula was never an option for us and it stinks really, really bad. My milk made him smell good.
I leaked milk sometimes and wore nursing pads, I had to keep my bra on while I had sex because most guys don’t like breast milk in their face (but some do), and I had bras in many different sizes because some days I was more full of milk. My family did not support my breastfeeding, which is typical for black families in the U.S. and offered me formula or judgment whenever I fed Jake around them. They covered me in blankets and always asked when I was going to stop nursing him. My mom nursed my brother until he was nearly three so I wasn’t in any particular rush. Jake wasn’t either. We kept going. And going. And going.
I would like to thank my son for my size 34D boobs. They are no longer full of milk but occasionally he still wants to put his mouth there because he likes to snuggle and because he remembers getting milk from me but he’s almost four and doesn’t nurse anymore. We had a good run and I now feel confident in my body again. I kept my son alive. I made his food. I grew him inside of me and then I nourished him when he came out, all by myself.
I’m in a new phase now, where my breasts are sexual again and I must say that I enjoy this new part of my life. One of the least talked about things that make women not breastfeed is being able to separate the physical and sexual feelings they have about their breasts with being a mother, but society overly sexualizes breasts anyway, so this isn’t just a woman’s issue. Anytime someone’s mouth or hand is touching my breasts it feels sensitive, but I just have to think, “this is my son he’s eating” and understand that yeah it might feel good but I’m not a pervert and I’m using my boobs for their natural biological purpose. When I am having sex I have to think, “I’m having sex right now, this isn’t about my baby, I can enjoy this feeling, my milk may come down, but I’m still sexy”. And sometimes those feelings will feel very similar but it doesn’t matter. Eventually all nursing mothers get it. Your body is working, it’s responding accordingly to being stimulated. It can’t tell the difference between a baby’s mouth and a grown adult’s mouth. You have to use your brain.
If you ever have a baby and choose to breastfeed your child, I just want you to know that there is a community of women out there who will support you. We’re just under blankets or in the dirty public restroom or in the car or in the boss’s office pumping milk or feeding our babies so you might not know where we are. We will go to war for you. We will post thousands of pictures of our nursing babies on our Facebook pages for you. We have nurse-ins at airports for you, we will answer our phone in the middle of the night for you and if you get sick we will feed your babies with our own milk if you like. Please try to breastfeed, your baby deserves the best, and you are it. Your boobs are good enough. Trust them.

My "Breast" Asset! (by Darryl Egnal)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Busted; Rhetorically "Out of Order" (by Hannah Greenberg)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Insecurity to Nipple-icious (by anonymous)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Nipple Shields for Dummies (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.

Riot Grrrl Corner (intro to interview with The Cathy Santonies by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
View paper

“Can’t Compete With Cathy Santonies!”
I first came across the Cathy Santonies when I started getting more and more into Riot Grrrl music and spent hours on MySpace every day going from page to page listening to bands that described themselves as Riot Grrrl or influenced by Riot Grrrl or had feminist messages in their songs.
When I heard the songs featured on the Cathy Santonies’ MySpace page at the time, I didn’t understand why they were not as well known as others I came across.
The Cathy Santonies has to be one of the most underrated bands in the scene and this is why I decided that it’s time to share their amazing tunes with my grrrls and readers of Fallopian Falafel.
Based in Chicago, this awesome-foursome features Radio Santoni on lead vocals and bass, Mojo Santoni and Jane Danger on guitar and vocals, and Kaylee Preston on drums. Their style and lyrics contain all the major elements of authentic Riot Grrrl music and the powerful message the movement is intended to convey. They describe their music as “a subversive mix of riot grrrl and cock rock.”
With such a description, I was convinced that a simple paragraph on the Cathy Santonies by Yours Truly would not suffice and so I led a short email interview with Radio to explain in her own words how the band started and its strong connection to Riot Grrrl.
If you’re ever in the Chicago area, you can catch them live, and I suggest you do. For gig listings, check out their MySpace page or official site.
In honor of their dedication to the raw DIY tape-deck magic that is Third-Wave Feminism, the Riot Grrrl Corner breast issue trophy goes to The Cathy Santonies!

Riot Grrrl Corner (interview with The Cathy Santonies)
Available only on hard copy. Click to order or download.