Motherlode Book Club: Elisabeth Badinter's The Conflict. Has Motherhood Replaced Sexism in Oppressing Women? | NYTimes.com
Wow, you guys. Who ever thought motherhood would become such a hot button issue? And in politics, no less. And yet Elisabeth Badinter’s book The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women provides more fodder for the debate.
I’m not going to get into my normal complaint about how dads aren’t represented here because stay-at-home and work-at-home moms still outnumber stay-at-home and work-at-home dads. Plus, as far as Badinter is concerned, it’s all a part of a vast conspiracy hatched by us dads.
[Women’s] increased responsibility for babies and young children has proved just as restrictive, if not more so, than sexism in the home or in the workplace… The best allies of men’s dominance have been, quite unwittingly, innocent infants.
Yes, that’s right. We dads hatched an evil plot to keep you ladies in indentured servitude and we enlisted an ally you could never defeat… Babies! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Seriously, though. Thoughts?
Ok, my $0.02 (as a SAHM who also happens to identify as a feminist):
Telling mothers we all HAVE to work is no less oppressive than telling us we all HAVE to stay home.
Last I checked, the women’s movement was about giving us the power of CHOICE. To decide for ourseves what we wanted to be and do, rather than do what society dictated as our “proper” course or “place.” That includes the decision to work outside the home, inside the home, or stay at home with our children.
Now a BIG part of this discussion, which is rarely acknowledged, is that even today there’s little “choice” in this matter. Many parents work despite wanting to be home with their kids, bc they can’t afford to take a break from their career. Others are forced to stay home because childcare costs would be higher than their earned income. Then answer here isn’t to whine about how difficult and oppressive parenthood is, but to find ways to HELP PARENTS.
How about we set up PAID parental leave of a decent length? How about better access to subsidized childcare for parents who want/need it? There are so many ways that society could HELP parents. But instead we make it as hard as possible, dumping the entire load of raising the next generation onto parents (even though EVERYONE even the childfree benefits from having that next generation, and their being raised well), and then talk about how “oppressive” motherhood is.
I suppose that’s more than 2 cents worth. I guess you can see this issue kinda bugs me just a little.
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