Sunday Reading List

This week’s relevant links, in a handy all-in-one-place format. As always, please plug your favourite posts and articles from the past week in the comments. :)

  • Inside Yarl’s Wood: Britain’s Shame Over Child Detainees
    “Children held in the infamous Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre are being denied urgent medical treatment, handled violently and left at risk of serious harm, a damning report by the Children’s Commissioner for England will say tomorrow. Sir Al Aynsley-Green’s investigation paints a shocking picture of neglect and even cruelty towards children trapped within the centre’s razor-wired walls, and finds “substantial evidence that detention is harmful and damaging to children and young people”. Since opening in 2001, the Bedfordshire detention centre has been plagued by hunger strikes, self-harm incidents, a suicide and riots. It was severely damaged by fire during disturbances in 2002. Despite repeated scandals – and the damning findings of this report – planning permission was given last month to double the centre’s capacity from 405 places to nearly 900. Around 2,000 children a year are held in immigration centres – half in Yarl’s Wood, which has been run by a private company, Serco, since 2007. The experience they described is prison in all but name. Politicians, immigration experts and doctors last night called for an end to the detention of children and for urgent measures to ensure other detainees are treated humanely.”
  • Stay At Home Mother Not Considered A Professional
    “That we continually devalue the work of women is a function of capitalism and patriarchy. This is a large part of why women globally are the earths poorest citizens. The work that we do is constructed as either natural to our gender or part of our desire to nurture those we love, while no such caretaking roles are readily assigned to me. Consider that when a man is in charge of his children it is often referred to as babysitting thus inferring he is doing work that is beneath him i.e., womens work.”
  • Feminism and Peter Pan
    “Peter ultimately lures young Wendy Darling to Never Land with a plea that he and the Lost Boys lack a mother. ‘Mother’, in this case, is defined as one who “darns socks”, does the “spring cleaning”, “tells stories” and pines for ‘Father’ Peter. By the end of the play, Peter rejects the self-imposed role of fatherhood, making it clear to Wendy that he has tired of their extended game of House. “What are your exact feelings for me?” Wendy asks. His answer: “Those of a devoted son.” This pivotal moment of rejection, in which neither Wendy nor Peter are able to articulate their romantic feelings, symbolizes Wendy’s ascension into her own maturity: she and her brothers leave Never Land. Off-stage, Wendy “grows up” by marrying and giving birth to Jane, a daughter who will, like her mother, follow Peter to Never Land for his spring cleaning.”
  • Pet Peeves: An Open Letter to “Pregnant” Dads
    “This is not to say that we’re not super-grateful for your love and support and indulgence and foot-rubs during our pregnancies. We love you too. But we think it’s odd that you are acting like our reproductive systems are suddenly part of your own anatomy. We don’t recall you ever saying “we’re having our period” or “we have to get a pelvic exam.” Just because your zygotes created 50% of the child inside the uterus doesn’t make it your uterus too. So knock it off with the “we’re pregnant.” You are not. Please replace the offending phrase with something more accurate, for example: “We’re having a baby” or “My wife’s pregnant and we’re delighted” or, if you want to be all 1950s, “We’re expecting.” K? Thx.”
  • It’s All in the Marketing
    “The problem is that no real study of this theory has ever been done. A study of the Dunstan System was planned with Brown University, but later cancelled for consumer tests with mothers and smaller group observations. The WhyCry site says their gadget has been “clinically tested” and “tried out in nursery schools with completely satisfactory results.” This doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence, especially considering their results may not agree with my own interpretation of what my child needs. If you sense your baby is hungry and the communication system tells you tired, who do you believe? I haven’t tried either product, so I have no empirical evidence to offer. There may be parents out there who have had success with this method. But, since I can’t find any real science behind it, I remain skeptical that these communication theories work with all babies. My advice to new parents: save your money from products like these. You’ll need that cash for diapers.”
  • Hobbled
    “It isn’t the first time I’ve notices that shoes marketed to girls often have no tread on the sole, but with winter boots it seems even more marked. I don’t think there’s much more I need to say about it than that. If little girls try to run or climb, they clearly deserve to fall and be taught a lesson.”
  • We Are Not Bad Moms
    “These are lies. These are misogynistic lies, put forth by the patriarchy. And we swallow them whole, and we spit them back out, at each other, at ourselves.Don’t do the patriarchy’s work for it. Reject the lies. If you let your toddler watch TV, even if you don’t like that s/he watches, that’s OK. If you don’t feel guilty letting your toddler watch TV, that’s OK too. (If you try to argue with me that there’s nothing wrong on a large scale with infant TV watching, I’ll argue back, but no way am I going to tell you what to do in your own life.) You are not a bad mom. You do not have to call yourself a bad mom when you admit it, as though it were some kind of protective amulet (mothers are hardly the only ones who do this: it’s just shades of “yes massa” “I’m just a silly blonde” “you know how we Jews are”); you may get a pat on the back from the patriarchy, but all it does is perpetuate the hate. And you are still being oppressed.”

About Quinn

Twentysomething mentalist, transgender, queer radical feminist parent with disabilities. Open University student and tea addict. Bakes the world's greatest pumpkin bread. Lives with far too many animals.
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