I am thinking of replacing the Sunday Reading List with a monthly carnival (The Carnival of Feminist Mothers/Parents/whatevers) – what do you think, readers?
Here are this week’s links anyway. It was Mother’s Day in the USA last weekend, so there have been a lot of relevant posts popping up.
- The F-Word: Work It Out
“Wherever I turned, I got different answers to these questions, each with good reasoning behind them. I turned to older women, who had chosen one way or another, but felt just as unsure as ever. In fact, almost nobody seemed 100% satisfied or confident about the choices they had made. Some felt they had made mistakes, but others who made the same choices were happy, even when it meant big sacrifices. How to handle these choices clearly depends on the individual, her circumstances, her desires; there isn’t any one way to do it.
Here’s the thing, though: when it comes to the Work/Family decision, why do we have to make such a cut-and-dry choice between caring for our families the way we want to and having non “domestic” work that is also satisfying, financially and/or personally?”
- The forces of darkness
“I had smugly thought that being in a same-sex relationship meant I got a free pass on having to deal with gendered dynamics at home. And, yeah, my partner and I were together for nine years before we had children of ours (she has older children from a previous relationship), and in that time, we didn’t have gender-founded issues to address between us very often.
But then, I gave birth to our two children, and gave up working and studying (and then worked part-time). And I was tired, and I was Mummy, and I couldn’t remember how to question what a Mummy is. Ah, responds the colonised brain, a Mummy does everything for her child, and is happy to. A Mummy respects the working-for-pay partner as “really” working, and counts her own hard labour as something else. A Mummy doesn’t seek to be listened to as if her day really counted. A Mummy takes the day shift, and the night shift, and the organising, remembering, managing of the household, and thinks she isn’t using her brain.”
- Feminism and Motherhood: an Opinion piece
“I am not a mother. I have not decided if I ever will be a mother. There are days when it seems like a better idea than not and days where I can never imagine going down such a hard path. I had heard about some of the schisms in Feminism over motherhood but I had never paid much attention and never realized how much anger there was until a thread at Feministing. I understand that my experience with this anger was only in one place but from what I saw much of the anger, hostility and belittling came from those feminists who did not have children.”
- Me versus the patriarchy
“You see, my partner is the seventh generation of the First Born Son of the First Born Son and all these first born sons share the exact same name. A type of unimaginativeness some like to call a family tradition. First Born Sons number VI (father-in-law) and VII (partner) have noticed that the fetus I’m carrying is going to be First Born Son VIII and they very much want him to be named accordingly. Much as I can acknowledge the attraction of family traditions and ancestral ties I just cannot bear this particular patriarchal one. It can go no further, with me. I have acquiesced to the tradition as far as giving the ‘First Born Son’ name as a second name, but not as a first name. To the First Born Sons and their patriarchy-supporting kin this is breaking the tradition.”
- Connecting the Mothers to the Childless
“One of the huge hurdles I see women facing today is relating across the parenthood line. When I was pregnant for the first time I had no peers who were first time mothers with me. I swore I wouldn’t change, I could be a mother and hang out with my girlfriends and life didn’t have to change *that much*. Well, I kept part of the promise and I do try to always conjure up the smell of being childless. I need it especially when I read certain articles (such as the article I read last night in Marie Claire about a woman being revoked godmother status) or talk on the phone with a long lost childless friend. But as time passes, it is harder and harder to remember. I don’t want to stop reading certain magazines when I realize I can barely empathize with a writer, nor do I want to take breaks from friends when I sense they don’t “get” me anymore.”
- How not to flaunt your childfree cluelessness
“Ah, here we go: a standard child/parent hater statement. Talking about children is dull; parents only ever talk about their children; if you want to retain non-parent friends you must never talk about your children; your non-parent friends are quite right to drop you if you don’t comply. Hey, I got a line on my bingo card!
See what they did there? Yes, that’s right. Us gays who actually already do have children either don’t exist, or can no longer be spoken about with the generic word “gay”.
Leaving aside “we live in a country” which, in fact, we don’t all live in, there’s then the assumption that getting kids as a queer necessarily involves medical intervention. News: turkey basters are in the cookery section, not in medical supplies!”
- Not the first: a belated Mother’s Day post
“My mother, for all that she at times has been known to say “I’m really more of a humanist”, did a pretty good job of raising a feminist boy. One of my favorite stories is that, he being a first child but with the anticipation he not be an only, my brother’s wardrobe for his first three years consisted of an equal mix of “boy” clothes and “girl”clothes, with the rationale that all the clothes would get handed down (to a girl, my mother hoped), and the next child shouldn’t be the only one wearing the “wrong” gendered clothes.
And it worked: my brother, privileged straight white male that he is, openly identified as a feminist, at least while in college. And I, of course, am hard at work raising her grandson feminist.”
- Breastfeeding Nazis
“Day in and day out, I keep hearing and reading the term Breastfeeding Nazi used to describe lactation consultants, La Leche League leaders, breastfeeding advocates and other lactivists. I think it is completely inappropriate.
First, lactivists have not killed millions of people like the Nazis did. People that advocate for breastfeeding are doing so to give babies the best possible start in life and to save lives. In fact, improved and increased breastfeeding could save millions of lives each year.
Second, calling someone that is an enthusiastic advocate of something a Nazi trivializes and minimizes the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust. Even if you feel like you have been a “victim” of extreme lactivism, you cannot in good conscience compare that to the complete and utter horror that the Nazis carried out.
So stop. Please stop. It is not appropriate. Not funny.
Don’t believe me? Want to know more? Then read the perspective of Kathy Kuhn, a Jewish lactation consultant.”
- When Breastfeeders Attack
“It was a nightmare.” said Mrs Sweet, 33, of Pennington. My best friend Clara and I were talking about gravy granules, when we heard the shrieking. We looked up, and they were everywhere, ripping off their blouses and thrusting their breasts in our faces. I looked away, but it was too late.” Mrs Sweet was treated for fainting, by St Joan’s Ambulance staff, who arrived on the scene several moments later. “Clara is one of those in hospital.” continued Mrs Sweet bravely “I believe her hearing has been affected by the loud cracks as all the boobs whipped out in formation. They’d obviously been practising.”
“It was carnage,” said Mr John Snivel, who was in the first ambulance to arrive. “There were women everywhere, lying and crying in piles. One mother had thrown herself onto her two small children, who were also in the store. Luckily, she knocked them both out before they were exposed to the breastfeeders.”
- More Pinkification Of Mothers
“Good grief! Can we please, please get over this girl = pink nonsense, and the constant infantilising of women by associating them with soft, pinky, girly colours.”
- Rally Wrap-Up: It Was A Great Mother’s Day!!
“Here they are in all their glory — the fabulous mamas who made up the 1st annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health, with direct links to each of their letters to new moms. Thank you so much to everyone who participated. And to anyone who is interested in participating next year, please let me know! I hope these letters will serve as comfort and support to all women who may be wondering whether they are all alone in their feelings about or experiences with motherhood.”
- Pregnant Bodies Piling Up
“I heard about the discovery of Demery’s body on the local news the other day. It’s chilling that “get the boyfriend” is the first thing that pops into my head in cases like hers. But, sadly, it’s the surest path to finding the killers – men who consider murder a good alternative to fatherhood (or a monthly child support payment). These murders are not isolated incidents; they are symptomatic of a culture wherein men feel entitled to control women’s lives and bodies. Step out of line, make a decision they don’t like, and they might punish you for it. I don’t know how to put an end to it, but I know pregnancy should not be a risk factor for murder.”
“This is why it annoys me so much to hear about privileged women having children by a ’surrogate’ or adopting third world children. It’s the idea that children are just consumer goods that can be merrily passed around, with no effect on the child, and no regard for the women who actually gave birth to them.
Privileged women (and men) should not have the right to use their wealth to in effect ‘buy’ a child. Whether that is removing a child from the community into which it was born, or paying another, poorer, woman for the use of her body. Children are small human beings. They do not simply forget their past, or not wonder about their origins. They are not possessions, or parcels to be passed. They have the right to know where they came from and to have contact with the woman who gave birth to them. Women who give birth to children are not human incubators but mothers, no matter what. Roots matter.”