8 posts tagged motherhood
Sad White Babies With Mean Feminist Mommies
The Atlantic is reviving the tired feminist-baiting question “can women have it all.” Le sigh. In celebration of this backlashtastic event, I’ve compiled some of my favorite images that are often the art in these kinds of articles: The mean/frazzled/distracted working white mom (because WOC don’t exist in this narrative) who has been fooled into thinking she can have it all by feminism. Good times.
Note: I haven’t read the piece (it’s not out yet) and for all I know is a scorchingly awesome piece of feminist writing. But the headline/art/cover is just too awful and (knowingly) plays into the anti-feminist cliche the search for work/life balance is greedily trying to have “it all.”
“I’m so grateful that Ronan is my child. I also wish he’d never been born; no person should suffer in this way—daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain—with no hope for a cure. Both of these statements are categorically true; neither one is mutually exclusive.”
Yesterday, when I quoted Lorrie Hearts about a hospital’s decision to stop making free formula available to new moms in an effort to be “baby-friendly”, I got a lot of supportive comments and questions through Tumblr. (Thanks, y’all!) I also got a lot of hate and misrepresentation directed at me through Twitter. (Does this decide the never-ending social media battle in my head? Maybe!)
When I wrote about breastfeeding and formula feeding for my column in The Daily earlier this year, what I stressed was that too many moms who choose (or must) formula feed are outright shamed for it:
But why a woman doesn’t nurse is beside the point. Whether she’s unable to or simply chooses not to, the guilt has got to go.
We should reserve our motherly disdain for systemic issues that make parenting harder — workplace inequities and the maternal wage gap, the lack of paid maternity leave and affordable child-care options — not other women’s personal decisions about how to feed their babies.
So it’s all the more infuriating that the responses directed at me (shrouded in patronizing rhetoric about wanting to “educate”) have been absolutely rife with shaming.
FeministBreeder, a blogger and lactivist whose Twitter description touts herself as a “rocker chick turned natural mom” (I’m dying to know what kind of mother isn’t a “natural” one), started in by suggesting my post was “harmful to women’s health,” that I hadn’t researched the issue, and that I was “siding with the formula marketing industry” who take advantage of “vulnerable” women.
Her tweets actually embody the main issues I have with those who shame formula-feeding mothers: the condescending attitude that women who formula feed are somehow stupid or have been duped, the assumption that anyone who formula feeds or supports women who do so isn’t educated on the issue, and, of course, the shaming inherent in suggesting that formula hurt women (and babies). The other issue, which I’ll get into in a bit, is the mind-boggling classism I’ve seen bandied about.