Why is it, then, that women accept the burden of this unrealistic image of a perfect mother who sacrifices her career, hobbies, sex life, body and 100% of her time to motherhood?
For nearly three decades, a subterranean ideological war has been fought for a wholesale return to nature. We cannot yet assess its consequences for women. . . The advocates of this philosophy have an extraordinary weapon on their side: a mother’s guilt.
Women are guilt-tripped endlessly into feeling like there is something wrong with them if they don’t welcome the idea of diluting themselves completely in their children. So what do you expect to happen as a result?
If women are subjected to the relentless message that a mother must give her child everything—milk, time, energy—or pay for it later, inevitably more and more of them will give in.
Also, more and more of us will choose not to have children altogether if the only way to have them involves castrating our existence and reducing it to endless clucking around the poor children who eventually get so fed up with your annoying sacrifices that they leave home as soon as they can and only call you on Mother’s Day to expiate their own guilt.
Of course, if women could legitimately and without constantly being vilified for their choices select the method of childbirth that they prefer and that simplifies their life, breastfeed or not based on what suits their fancy, rely on daycare and babysitters without feeling guilty, and let the children be without feeling the need to schedule their every breath, more successful, accomplished and brilliant women would be interested in motherhood. And this would be a great thing because, contrary to what naturalists believe, breastfeeding has zero effect on a child’s IQ. Mother’s IQ is what matters. (I’m guessing father’s IQ, as well, but I haven’t seen any studies. Probably because people are still not managing to see the father’s participation in the creation of a child as something even worth studying.)
One of the reasons I like Badinter is that she does not take the easy road that so many feminists of the previous generation love to take in order to explain every problem that women face. Badinter does not blame men for every obstacle that women encounter in our path towards liberation. She states specifically in The Conflict that sexist men (who obviously do exist) had absolutely nothing to do with making this sad situation possible. A small but a very vocal number of women who didn’t make it professionally and financially have taken up the banner of the perfect motherhood and are now guilt-tripping women who haven’t failed in these arenas into feeling as lesser human beings precisely because we have not limited our entire existence to childbirth.
Do read the book, my friends. Read it and leave reviews on Amazon because, at this point, the only review that’s there has the following pearl of wisdom to share:
This is a feminist book, but it’s not of the rabid, aggressive sort. It’s more of an inside look into women’s lives and what they believe and value.
As one of those rabid, aggressive feminists, I find Elisabeth Badinter’s perspective on motherhood as an ideological construct to be very refreshing.
We, the successful, intelligent, professional women should reclaim our right to be mothers (only if that’s what we wish, of course) on our terms. We have allowed the naturalists to guilt-trip us into practices that harm mothers, fathers, and children. We need to start pushing back now. We need to stop letting the failures that constitute the naturalist movement to dictate their idiotic ideas to us and make us feel like we are the ones with a problem.
I suggest we start the anti-naturalist movement. Let’s celebrate the advances of our civilization that allow us to choose whether, when and how we want to become parents and that simplify parenthood for us. To hell with instincts! Long live intelligence!