Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Erica Jong is late to the AP backlash party

Is attachment parenting - or any combination of modern, yuppy (upper/upper middle class, white) parenting trends - just a new form of prison for women? She breaks absolutely no ground asking this question. Everytime I see this argument, however, I think it misses the point of what we should be focused on because it's reactive to today's institutions rather than proactive in its views on what should be.

I think this paragraph comes closest to what I think should be the starting point:
Is it even possible to satisfy the needs of both parents and children? In agrarian societies, perhaps wearing your baby was the norm, but today's corporate culture scarcely makes room for breast-feeding on the job, let alone baby-wearing. So it seems we have devised a new torture for mothers—a set of expectations that makes them feel inadequate no matter how passionately they attend to their children.
The system is set up for upper/upper middle class, white) mothers to fail. Or at least feel that they are failing. Instead of saying, "look, see, not possible!" Why aren't we focusing instead on whether we can alter these institutions? Today's corporate culture still finds women mainly conforming to the male culture that set up the corporations.

There's just nothing new in this article - it rehashes the current state of the Mom wars just fine, sure, but I don't need another description of my daily life thankyouverymuch.

Here's what I think: there's an overlooked biological component to birthing a child.  I was shocked to shit about that.  Child cry! Pick up child! Make child not cry! Do now! I think the biological component hits women differently.  I don't know if that's pseduo-scientific thinking or not. I will never be able to understand how my husband sees our child, though, because he's him, a dude, and I'm me, not a dude.  I know he loves her crazy.  I don't know if that feels differently to him than it does to me.

I know I'd be far, far more comfortable if I had been/was able to stay home for the complete first year, at least, of my daughter's life.  I say this even as I am endlessly glad I'm NOT the one staying home with her, every day, struggling to find a way to fill the day and keep her occupied.  I wouldn't have to pump breastmilk for one thing - an endless and awful chore that ruins a lot of my day.

I don't know how to fully express my thoughts on gender, parenting, and American culture because I'm too new to the scene. But Jong barks up the wrong tree here.

I'll probably come back and work on this post more later. Or not. Who knows. It should get more attention . . . .

Update: There's a piece from her daughter on what kind of mom Jong herself was/is. She says, "We can devote ourselves to our work, or we can decide to be 1950s June Cleaver types. And that's because of the sacrifices that my mom and her feminist comrades made."  To which I say, is it? I'm not so sure. 

Also, there's a video if you care to see what Jong repeat the content live on tape.  She doesn't actually explain attachment parenting but from what I do know of it, I didn't get the feeling it was quite as, well, attached as she implies. But I have yet to read a parenting book - and god willing, I never will.

And - shaking a fist at baby"wearing" - just sticking the kid in a carr
Publish Post
ier instead of a stroller - is a stupid thing to be mad at. Those things are magical, give you your hands back, work well in crowds and places with stairs.  It's that it gets called babywearing and not hi, this product is helpful for you so buy it.  The downside to turning a consumer item into a philosophy.

No comments:

Post a Comment