Monday, January 30, 2017

A Surprising Source of Sexist Oppression Against Mothers: Feminist Social Justice Activists


I have a casual acquaintance who likes to tell mothers they're "monsters" for gendering their children. Another acquaintance enjoys attacking mothers on Facebook for putting their children in gendered clothes. These people truly believe they are making the world a better place. They're both childless--as are most feminist activists who think it's appropriate to correct the "sexist" behavior of mothers.

I understand where they're coming from. The notion that any specific personality trait necessarily flows from gender or sex is the source of much oppression. We'd all be better of if we did away with gender socialization. There's tons of evidence that there is no benefit to gendered clothing, and that these clothes reinforce damaging, limiting gender norms in both boys and girls.

Attacking mothers, though, serves no purpose except to increase the misogynist onslaught most mothers face on a daily basis. Ultimately, corrections from well-meaning feminist activists only instruct mothers that they're incompetent. Remember, mothers, no matter what you're doing, you're doing it wrong.

Women get attacked on all sides. Embrace genderless parenting and 20 conservative family members will be thrilled to lambaste you. Put your daughter in a frilly dress and you're a traitor to the feminist cause.

Feminists should know better, particularly given what feminism teaches us about women's right to control their own lives, to make their own decisions, and to not be constantly subject to public scrutiny solely because they dared to leave their homes.

Here's why self-identified social justice warriors need to think twice before judging mothers.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thanks for the Parenting Advice, Asshole


Dear Self-Appointed Expert on My Child and My Parenting:

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me I'm doing parenting wrong! Few things bring me greater joy in life than when people assume my parenting jokes are the literal truth/treat the tiny slice of my parenting they see as the sum total of all that happens in my house/convince themselves that I am so stupid that I have never, not once, bothered to spend even a second of my time researching parenting issues.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Why Mothers Need to be Included in Social Justice Movements, and How to Do It



More than 80 percent of women eventually become mothers. Research consistently shows that motherhood escalates inequality between men and women. For many women, this escalating inequality, coupled with the need to forge a brighter future for their children, is radicalizing. This is especially true now that we have a misogynistic, racist, sexual predator for our president. As groups organize to fight back against Donald Trump, they must remember that mothers have a significant investment in securing a brighter, freer, more feminist future for their children. When people are fighting for their children, they fight harder.

Mothers want to participate in social justice movements. Because they're raising the next generation of activists, their contribution is invaluable. If your movement excludes mothers, you are excluding the majority of women. Mothers make up a larger segment of the population than almost any other group. So if you can't bring yourself to care about including mothers, it's time to examine your internalized misogyny.

I've written in more detail about the exclusion of mothers from social justice movements here. So if you think you're being radical or something by excluding moms, I strongly encourage you to read that piece before going any further.

What can social justice movements do to include mothers? Plenty.

Stop Whining, Ladies. Motherhood is Easy

Breastfeeding is one of the many easy things about motherhood.

A few times a day, I take a break from my relaxing, perfect, new-mother life to peruse the Internet. I inevitably find a bunch of whiners. Women posting to message boards wondering why their husbands won't do their fair share. Moms complaining about the challenges of breastfeeding, the agony of postpartum recovery, the fact that no one takes their pelvic floor issues seriously, the boss who won't pay them for maternity leave, the other boss who fired them for getting pregnant, and the family members who keep showing up, demanding to be entertained, and criticizing their parenting.