Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Book; The Conflict:How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women

Withey: Modern moms under pressure to do what’s right by the planet

This article discusses the book The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women

This is a scathing, controversial and brilliant piece of writing about how moms have effectively regressed as women in their efforts to do everything the so-called ‘natural’ way, be it drug-free deliveries, co-sleeping or on-demand breastfeeding.

“We have agreed to this regression in the name of moral superiority, the love we bear for our children, and some ideal notion of child rearing, all of which are proving far more effective than external constraints,” Badinter writes. “As everyone knows, there is nothing quite like voluntary servitude.”
. . .
Many women are, of course, furious about the book, especially the “atayollahs of breast-feeding,” as Badinter dubs them. Special aim is taken at pro-breastfeeding group La Leche League, whose “crusade,” Badinter says, supports traditional parenting (namely, that mommy and her milk supply stay home with the baby), eroding women’s freedoms.

Ruffled feathers? Just a bit. France’s foremost feminist (who by the way is a mother) has had death threats for her explosive views.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Badinter writes. Still, I think this book is an essential read, whether or not you plan to have a child. Because she also touches on society’s treatment of women who remain childfree, either by choice or not. Though it’s becoming increasinly acceptable, the tendency is still to see these women as failures, she says, to view them with “pity or rebuke.”

Yet we don’t tend to question people’s decision to have children, and we certainly don’t care about their regret. “Society is not ready to hear that some parents feel frustrated and bitter and would perhaps have done better without children.”

While many modern women pin their identity to their status as moms, even title themselves such (mommy bloggers, mompreneurs), others find this a tough road to hoe. It has nothing to do with how much we love our children. We love them! But as Badinter argues, a mom’s instinct is not innate.
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1 comment:

eleanore said...

Being a mother is intense. In addition to actually raising the kid, the pressure around being the "right kind of mother" would make my stomach hurt. I've never been happier with my decision not to have a kid. I can relax.

Here's a book with the opposite view: being single and child free is good. The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree. https://www.createspace.com/3780256