So Law & Order: SVU, ok? The most recent episode.
Amanda is a cop and a single mother who for some mysterious reason decided not to maintain a relationship with the baby’s father, a stunningly attractive police with a cute Irish accent. In a feat of horrifying self-centeredness, she never even informed him of the pregnancy or given him a choice to be present for the birth.
Now Amanda is pregnant again. The father is a rich doctor. Cute, although nothing like the truly sensational Irish guy. The doctor proposes to Amanda and offers a diamond as big as my head as she goes into labor but she says no. Because she doesn’t love him.
It’s a TV show, so let’s forget how unrealistic it is to have rich doctors desperate to marry single mothers who work as cops and throwing gigantic diamonds at them. Or to have police who look like Amanda and like baby daddy #1. What I find curious is the aggressive peddling on so many TV shows of this ridiculous neoliberal mentality of women running around arresting dangerous psychopaths and looking for “looove” while literally being in labor. The idea that maybe the baby would prefer the nearly middle-aged mother not to put herself in danger while heavily pregnant or to have daddy in the house never occurs to anybody.
The episode ends with Amanda holding the newborn while surrounded by her “real family” of coworkers. The actual blood relatives of the baby, like the father and the grandma, are conspicuously absent.
Yes, it’s just TV. But that’s how this mentality gets normalized and disseminated among the masses. There is nothing more important than work, you have to be working constantly, if you want a maternity leave something is deeply wrong with you, human beings are disposable if they are not completely perfect, children are consumer objects, there’s always a better love object out there, there’s nothing more important than individual whims, taking into account the interests of others is out of the question even if they are your own infant children.
Day in and day out we are bombarded by this messaging. The messaging is created by the economic agents that profit from our acceptance of this ideology. All we can do is develop a critical distance from the brainwashing. This is my favorite show but you can do it for yours.