Posts Written by Sarah

If Gloria Steinem were a mother


A SYTYCB Entry.

Could Gloria Steinem be Gloria Steinem if she had kids?

I know this is an unfair question.  It’s inflammatory and controversial and no one would ask this of a successful man.  I know that even writing such a thing seems anti-feminist.  I don’t care if Gloria Steinem has/had/wanted/didn’t want kids.  I am concerned that part of what we admire about her might be that she didn’t take the conventional path of motherhood.  Maybe that says something about what we really value as a feminist community, and which choices we quietly endorse.  Maybe, in the end, our feminism does not encourage every choice.  Maybe we need to take another look about what is being said – and what is left unsaid – about women who are also mothers.

We talk about motherhood as a choice:  This is, in part, why we are so focused on access to abortion services, birth control and other women’s health services.  We want women to be informed, educated, trusted and responsible for our bodies and our decisions.  Choices are valid, options are necessary, and every woman will decide for herself what is right for her.

Part of the challenge is that once the decision to become a mother has been made, it is not easily undone.  I am not suggesting that mothers and fathers are not both challenged and changed by the arrival of a child.  In a perfect world, we would all be discussing work-life balance and ...

Formula, Criticism and Judgment in Motherhood

A SYTYCB entry.

In response to the “Latch On” program in New York which is designed to promote breastfeeding – and limit access to formula, depending on which source you read – a national newspaper here in Canada printed the following story this morning:  “Breast vs. bottle: Should the government intervene?” 

Invariably, this sort of thing brings about some rather important, but predictable, responses:  First, women’s choices aren’t being respected and acknowledged if they cannot choose to formula feed (or not).  Second, the government (or other patriarchal structure) is pushing an agenda at the expense of women’s freedom.  Finally, and what concerns me, is that articles like this tend to result in judgment.  It doesn’t take long before we are ...

A SYTYCB entry.

In response to the “Latch On” program in New York which is designed to promote breastfeeding – and limit access to formula, depending on which source you read – a national newspaper here in ...

Forget Breastfeeding…

The most controversial parenting (mothering) decision these days is whether or not to have your children vaccinated against H1N1.  This may not sound like a feminist issue, but I believe it is. It is assumed that the decision itself rests primarily with the mother, and being able to make (and carry out) an informed decision may, I believe, often be reserved for those with educational and socioeconomic privilege.

Lately, every mother I see, every gathering I find myself in, somehow manages to work into the conversation the dangers of Swine Flu either lurking in the virus itself or in the vaccine designed to prevent the virus from harming us.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to know if you are ...

The most controversial parenting (mothering) decision these days is whether or not to have your children vaccinated against H1N1.  This may not sound like a feminist issue, but I believe it is. It is assumed that the ...

Mothers parent, men “babysit”!

I have frequently heard fathers refer to time spent alone with their children as “babysitting”. I realize this may sound like I’m being picky about semantics, but when was the last time you heard a mother talk about babysitting her children?
As a society, we believe women should be caring for their children, whether they work outside the home or not. Women who are mothers have children who require their care. Great. This assumption has positive aspects: We value the maternal-child bond, perhaps; we believe women are excellent caregivers; we think young children in particular are devoted to their mothers and their mothers to them. [These assumptions are highly debatable; I'm just trying to offer a positive spin].
I’d like ...

I have frequently heard fathers refer to time spent alone with their children as “babysitting”. I realize this may sound like I’m being picky about semantics, but when was the last time you heard a mother talk ...

Feminism and Motherhood

As the mother of two young daughters, I am acutely aware of the influences upon my girls and how the choices I make on their behalf are effecting them.  One of my goals as a parent is to raise strong, assertive, confident women which, though relatively abstract, does help me strive to make informed decisions about concrete aspects of their lives.  My question is, where does it start?  Is it enough for me not to buy pink or otherwise gendered toys?  Is it enough to read them stories with strong female heroines who do more than prance around in pink dresses?  Is it enough to discuss the problems with barbie dolls and encourage my children to aspire to something other ...

As the mother of two young daughters, I am acutely aware of the influences upon my girls and how the choices I make on their behalf are effecting them.  One of my goals as a parent is ...