I’ve been linked to by one of my preferred bloggers, bluemilk . And once again I find myself thinking and not being able to answer my own questions. So, please do it for me and then ask some other people as well?
I am often bemused and bewildered by feminism and motherhood , and while i am very keenly experienced in one and not well read on either, I suppose I form my own opinions from experience and common sense. A fundamental point seems to be that there will always be a basic conflict between mothers and fathers. Our brains are wired differently, that’s just how it is, and we notice different things and have different priorities. I saw a telly show recently which did some cortisol level readings in children’s brains and it showed the chemical was present in frightening amounts in the brains of children while being looked after by their fathers. Even the child of the eco-hippy-dad (who was just about the most at peace male I’ve seen and obviously very involved and caring) registered dangerously high levels of cortisol in the brain. I remember years and years ago a New Scientist article statistics which showed that children who were cared for their paternal grandparents had several years shaved off their life expectancy. (some of us are aware that if our children were primarily cared for by their paternal grandparents, they would have no life expectancy.)
Cortisol is not good for kids. It isn’t good for grown ups either, and I suppose I’m not attempting to make a value judgement here, as my husband looks after our kids often, and increasingly so, but it really does make sense in a way. Dads do stuff differently. They just don’t have the same level of instinctive/intuitive care that mothers give. Even I have “eyes in the back of my head”. There are certain silences and moments when I am outside, or involved, and I just know to yell/run to stop/save someone from something silly. DishPig just doesn’t have it. He doesn’t even register about half of the dangerousness/silliness going on. No blame placed, its just what it is.
The few dads I have come across who do the early-babyhood care while mums go back to work, look dreadfully tired and, well, haggered. It took me a while to realise that every time I breastfeed my baby, I get to sit down for up to an hour, and I get a nice flush of endorphins to zone me out and give me some happy rest. (well, once the initial pain of breastfeeding subsided anyways!) Dads don’t get any of these hormones! Of course they look/are more tired!
Some other thoughts I have often thought….
Why does feminism mean not having babies and staying in paid employment?
Why does feminism seem to mean returning to work 10 mins after giving birth?
Why does it seem that the “choice” of synthetic liquid baby food is healthier than breastfeeding so you can return to work quicker?
Why does it mean that women who return to work to earn money are more feminist than those who don’t?
Can you stay at home full time and be a feminist? How do you articulate this?
Why does feminism seem to be so tied up with sex?
Why does having lots of sex=feminist?
What makes being a female pron star or a sex worker seem to be more feministic to some than staying at home with kids?
Can you be the primary care giver in the household and be a feminist? How?
Can you indulge in the “gentle arts” (sewing, knitting, crochet, etc) and have feminist street cred? Can you be smitten/preoccupied with the history of such domestic arts and still have street cred?
Is it possible for a feminist mother to recommend The Wiggles when that fucking dinosaur is such a twit? On those grounds is it then possible that the females portrayed in Hi5 are actually more realistic than the females in The Wiggles?
What is feminism about now? Is it simply about having “choice” (a confusing notion to me, as I feel that many choices we are “given” as mothers under the guise of “freedom”/”independence” are more often compromising to the health and well being of our offspring)? Is it about maintaining the hard fought right to make a choice, rather than just choosing?
Is having such a plethora of choice helpful to us anyway and do we feel more free for it?
Does the fact that many women/mothers now work just as hard as their male partners to earn money actually mean that we have earned equality of the sexes? Or does it mean that we are simply of more use to the consumerist society so many of us claim to be bucking against?
Are you still are full-card-holding feminist if you don’t split living costs equally with your man/woman/elephant?
And finally, When a 4 year old boy you have never met starts telling you about how he and his dad play violent virtual games which involve men killing men and that girls can’t be in the army, and you interject and say that girls/women can be in the army and shoot to kill as well, have you gone too far?