• Jennie

    Such a great article. Thank you so much!

  • lioness

    Nice article. I have no time for “feminists” who do not recognize the importance of good mothering. I am a feminist who is working to not shortchange the next generation of feminist women and men.

    • Arekushieru

      Minor quibble: I am a feminist who recognizes the importance of good parenting, whether you are a mother a father. However, the reason I have a problem with ‘recognizing the importance of good mothering’, is because the direct association between importance and mothering seems to imply that women’s roles as mothers is the only important thing, after all. It doesn’t seem, however, to address the disparities observed between those who take on the PRIMARY responsibility of care-giving (women) and those who don’t (men).

      • lioness

        I would never imply that all women should be mothers. Not every woman has what it takes to be a good mother, just as not every woman has what it takes to be a good Supreme Court Justice (not that the two positions are incompatible, but I had to throw something up there to end the sentence). I have nothing but respect for those women who know they would not be good mothers and choose to go against the social norm and remain child-free. The damage inflicted on children by bad mothers cripples them for a lifetime.

        • Arekushieru

          Or has the will to invest in being a mother whether or not she knows she would be good at it, no? ;)

          • lioness

            I have nothing but respect for the women who get the majority of their shit together before having children instead of after. Timing really does matter.

        • Euphony618

          Women may have many reasons for choosing not to have children, regardless of whether they think they would be good mothers. I know I’d probably be a great mother, but I’m not so sure I want to have children.

      • lioness

        I grew up believing that all good caregivers were equal. I dearly wish that had turned out to be the case; it would make life so much easier. However, the overwhelming majority of the evidence shows that newborn babies have a distinct preference for the owner of the womb that they gestated in to be their primary caregiver for the first three years. Those who are denied that caregiver, even when they have competent, loving replacements, suffer from trust issues and related problems for the rest of their lives. Our social, cultural, and legal policies don’t reflect that fact; and our society as a whole suffers because of that lack.

        • Arekushieru

          I am not discussing the differences between the preferences of newborns but the responsibility of primary caregiver that falls on women’s shoulders, *regardless* of that fact.

          • lioness

            But the preferences of newborns are only preferences that matter when dealing with newborns. On the other hand social constructions carried out by grownups can be altered by grownups, and many already have. Every couple composed of rational people divides their duties individually depending on who is best able to function in each particular circumstance, i.e. which one is able to wake up quicker when the baby cries at 3am. As for the broader social issues that need to be worked at, yes underneath a false “family-friendly” piety America is notoriously hostile to children, their needs, their caregivers, and the needs of those caregivers that will remain in place as long as America talks about the “importance” of childrearing as some mystical thing that comes along with a double-X chromosome and has nothing to do with implementing genuinely child-friendly policies. But to do that we’d have to stop talking about false associations and start talking about associations that really do matter.

          • colleen2

            But the preferences of newborns are only preferences that matter when dealing with newborns.

            not true. The preferences and well, reality of the mother are equally important. If we’re going to mandate that women care for their infants exclusively for the first 3 years of life then we need to make certain that those women and their children are supported physically, emotionally and financially. WE do the precise opposite of that, particularly if those women are single mothers.

            Also I don’t believe your uncited claim. infants whose biological mothers die in childbirth, for instance, don’t appear to inevitably “suffer from trust issues and related problems for the rest of their lives” as you claim.

          • lioness

            “If we’re going to mandate that women care for their infants exclusively
            for the first 3 years of life then we need to make certain that those
            women and their children are supported physically, emotionally and
            financially” EXACTLY, thank you. But I said “primarily”, not “exclusively”.

          • lioness

            “infants whose biological mothers die in childbirth, for instance, don’t
            appear to inevitably “suffer from trust issues and related problems for
            the rest of their lives” as you claim.” And yet the data on the subsequent problems of orphans goes back to World War I.

        • Euphony618

          Guess adopted children and children who aren’t raised by their mothers (for a variety of reasons, including maternal death or incarceration) are SOL then? I don’t believe this claim without scientific evidence.

  • painkills2

    In researching the feminist movement, I was disappointed to see that ALL women were not included in the fight, and that some were marginalized. We can blame it on the times, but marginalizing women in the 21st century should not be accepted.
    For women who have the ability to be good mothers, and for those who have the choice, not working outside of the home should not be considered an anti-feminist stance. That’s just ridiculous.
    And why does the First Lady have to label herself as a feminist, or even choose that as her one and only cause? For stay-at-home moms, Mrs. Obama is a great role model, and just because I’ve never been able to be a stay-at-home mom, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this role. After all, when a woman becomes president, her husband will fill the role of stay-at-home mom.
    And I don’t want to be a part of a movement that cannot see all sides, from the perspectives of ALL women, no matter their ethnicity, sexual preference, or gender role.

    • Arekushieru

      One glaring example of your first point: White suffragettes.

      I believe that feminism is about providing women with as much choice as possible. And, that, to varying extents, all women are still coerced by the patriarchy in some form or another, along race/class/sexual orientation/ability/looks/gender identity lines.

      And the fact that this would be considered revolutionary for men is part of the problem, unfortunately.

      • painkills2

        That was the point I was trying to make about a First Dad being revolutionary for men, when it really shouldn’t be. Just like it shouldn’t be considered odd when a feminist is a stay-at-home mom.

        Whenever the first woman is elected president, everyone will say it is the first step toward equality, just like they said President Obama’s election represented the removal of a barrier for race, but that turned out not to be true. It had the opposite effect, it seems, bringing out vitriol and hate like I’ve never seen before. I just can’t imagine what will happen when a woman becomes president. The First Dad better be one tough dude.

        • lioness

          Anytime a barrier falls, the energy that was holding it in place has to go somewhere. All that vitriol and hate is the dispersed rubble from that barrier falling.

  • Mikki Kendall

    Thank you all for reading & being willing to listen.

  • samazon13

    Thank you for this article – it shed some light on an area that is difficult for me to understand and navigate. When one has chosen to remain child-free, it is hard not to confuse the voices that are censuring and criticizing my choice, with the voices that are fighting for the ability to parent uncriticized and uncensured. Thank you for reminding me how very important this distinction is.

  • John H

    *Like*

  • Mandrake Park

    No type of feminist should hurt poor Black peoples, esepcially mommas and they babies. Michelle Obama have a long history of hurting poor black people in chicago, starting with her being Mayor Daleys assistant, the put the happy black face on lost of ethnic cleansing especially on the southside for him. The democ-rat-ic party just loves stuff like this to keep black folk on the plantation or keep the black bourgeoisie faithful in the garden, stables and big house,

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