Thursday, July 06, 2006

Despatches from the Mommy Wars

Katha Pollit's enduring contribution to the so-called mommy wars--the debate regarding the suitability of women returning to work after they've had a child--may well be this inspired comparison of Linda Hirshman and Caitlin Flanagan in The Nation. While Hirshman (for) and Flanagan (against) are on either side of the mommy battlelines both of them are highly opinionated and believe that feminism gives women too many choices.

Pollit also has problems with what she terms "choice-feminism," which she defines as "the philosophically absurd position of smiling politely at everything women do, from naked mud wrestling to home schooling." She'd like to ask: " But what happens when the choice is a bad idea, for yourself, for other women, for society?" "But what if the "choice" is the forced, or at any rate predictable, result of a lot of previous choices you didn't realize you were making?"

Her later sentence gave me a-ha moment goosebumps: "But really, isn't the stay-home vogue at bottom a response to the fact that society has failed to adapt to working mothers?"

I'm reading Daphne de Marneffe's Maternal Desire right now, of which more later.

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