I promise, my book isn’t all about motherhood by any means (it’s also about crafting, and cooking, and women’s history, and pie!). But there’s been so much interesting discussion about mothering lately, what with the continuing fallout from Elisabeth Badinter’s book. Today, the New York Times has convened one of its “Room for Debate” panels to referee the deathmatch of “Motherhood vs. Feminism.” Fun!
To save you time, I’ll summarize.
Mayim Bialik (AKA Blossom!) says no, attachment parenting is empowering because it celebrates what’s natural and rejects male-dominated ideologies about what ladies should do with their vaginas.
Heather McDonald (a comedy writer) says yes, because as a woman you shouldn’t “sacrifice your career, your financial security and oftentimes your happiness all in the name of motherhood?” She also offers that she didn’t breastfeed and her son is still good at basketball. So…
LaShaun Williams (a blogger) says yes, but “good riddance to feminism” anyway, because feminism “devalued marriage and the familial and societal benefits of homemaking and encouraged self-indulgence.” I’ll spare you my long-winded historical analysis of why this is bullshit (you’ll have to buy the book!) and simply say, “this is bullshit.”
Erica Jong (zipless fuck enthusiast) says yes, because women who are busy breastfeeding and co-sleeping don’t have time for “making music” or “data entry.” I hear Jong spent a lot of time doing “data entry” in the 1970s, if you know what I mean!
Pamela Druckerman (cheese-eating surrender monkey enthusiast) says yes, and points out that the French don’t do “mommy martyrdom.” And the French are amazing. Baguettes, hello!
Annie Urban (blogger) says no, and wisely points out that fathers can parent just as well as mothers – though she doesn’t say whether or not they parent as often as mothers (they don’t. Not even close).
Maria Blois (author of a book about babywearing) says no, and quit being judgmental, jerks!
All fun aside, I do think looking at how parenting trends impact women’s lives is totally valid. And it’s clear that many young women today are choosing very, very intensive methods of parenting. In my book, I hope to offer more than a knee jerk yes-no opinion on what natural parenting means for feminism, instead giving some historical and cultural context on why women are choosing this.