Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
i hear that!

i think this woman is confused...

i see her point, but there is a counterargument i think is valid, as a man.

for a start i agree with how men get away with doing less housework, and this is not ok. women always helped men harvest, men should know how to take care of themselves without women.

only then can we afford to go backwards, as she puts it.

knowing how vitally important it is for a baby's immune system to breast feed, society should save itself a whole bunch of trouble and expense down the road, by paying women triple minimum wage to stay home and breastfeed, the best investment in future generations' intelligence, couple with good nutrition counselling for the pregnant women.

not all men would handle staying at home being primary housekeeper/childminder, and i think many women are not cut out for the cut-throat world of men, a world delusionally over-valued right now, while the much more important world of creating future humans the best we can is pretty much left fallow, except for efforst by institutions like la leche league.

money can't buy intelligence later , neither can later education have anything like as strong an effect on a child's future as being breastfed, in a calm, nurturing environment.

right now the prized virtue is cunning, not wisdom, which makes the most cunning of all structure society in a way that women are undervalued, unless they excel in a crossed over reality, that of men.

it's very sad to see.

so i think it's great that women take a step back, and concentrate on doing what they do best, ie raising children, a far too important job to be as outsourced as it presently is.

what stops this from being just a regression from a career woman's pov, is the awareness that men actually need to understand and flow with the feminine psyche much more than women need to learn to be carly fiorina/hillary types.

we've got more than enough men doing that already...

we should lower the birth rate, and concentrate on raising kids better, with the help of both parents.

i don't agree with her pov at all, except for the bit i mentioned before about men needing to see house duties more equally, especially since thanks to machines, mens' work is a lot less arduous these days, while as we men know who learn to keep house, it's darn hard work, even with modern apps.

the whole part of feminism devoted to making men out of women is a massive fail, so some new visions of how women better interface with the world, so skewed in the male ego's favour right now.

very generous maternity leave for both sexes, more parenting attention to (and examples of) egalitarianism, equal pay for the labour market are all essential. it's not backward if we take care of those aspects, for which women are equally responsible for raising a different kind of man.

which they are, thank the fsm. this woman wants to strip more femininity from women, condemn children to under par childhoods, and all because she thinks that's what will help the womens' movement.

the only ways it will, are to put more women into positions of power, which is certainly a good thing per se, but as berlusconi is showing, doesn't really guarantee real change, and while having more women as 'deciders' is a good thing, it needs to be done in balance with respect for traditional womens' (prefeminist) values, which feminism has often thrown under the bus, in the hurry to become 'more equal'.

it's 'both-and', not 'either-or', methinks.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 16th, 2010 at 02:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo: it's 'both-and', not 'either-or', methinks.

i agree.  reading this single interview, i was put off by Badinter's very dualistic, very black-and-white language, pitting breast-feeding mothers against non-breast-feeders, men against women, children against mothers and fathers.  Badinter is obviously not a stupid woman, so this sort of self-indulgent rhetoric is unbecoming and intellectually dishonest.  all the more so since

1.  she in fact does raise some valid and important issues that are worth discussing


2.  when you read and listen to her beyond this interview, she reveals herself not to be so binary and simplistic, but more complex and nuanced in her opinions.

so it's a pity that she she comes across as idée fixée as the ideological opponents she caricatures in this piece.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Wed Feb 17th, 2010 at 02:12:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She does, but I'm not sure what those points are.

Is she saying that women have no maternal instincts, and that if they do have feelings, those feelings are irrational, created entirely by social pressure, and incorrect?

As opposed to - say - pressure to be 'scientific', 'productive' and 'consumerist', which is inherently good, right, noble, and so on, and therefore isn't pressure at all, but is actually a form of enlightened self-determination?

She really does seem to be arguing that women have no more responsibility for the welfare of their children than they decide they want to have - which seems like an entirely extreme position.

Never mind the irony of someone with a huge holding in an ad factory arguing against social pressure.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 17th, 2010 at 01:25:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy: Never mind the irony of someone with a huge holding in an ad factory arguing against social pressure.

Yes, and Daniel Schneidermann's comment on that score is right on the mark.

ThatBritGuy: She does, but I'm not sure what those points are.

From the book review I quoted below:

"Le conflit : la femme et la mère" d'Elisabeth Badinter - En aparté"Conflict : Woman and Mother" d'Elisabeth Badinter - En aparté
Ce contre quoi elle s'insurge :
- la tyrannie de la maternité pour se définir comme femme,
- la tyrannie de la mère parfaite : "la barque de la maternité est aujourd'hui chargée de trop d'attentes, de contraintes, d'obligations. Il y a péril tant pour la femme et le couple que pour le lien social".
- l'idéologie de la Leche League ("les oukases des ayatollah de l'aillaitement")
- l'idéologie du naturalisme, qui a resurgi avec la crise économique. Cette approche qui fait de la biologie et de la nature le socle de toutes les vertus et qui condamne plus ou moins la pilule contraceptive, les petits pots tout préparés, la péridurale, les couches jetables, etc. "La nature devient un argument décisif pour imposer ou dispenser des conseils. Elle est devenue une référence éthique difficilement critiquable, auprès de laquelle le reste fait grise mine. A elle seule, elle incarne le Bon, le Beau et le Vrai chers à Platon. La philosophie naturaliste détient le pouvoir suprême de culpabilisation, capable de changer les moeurs."
- l'existence de l'instinct maternel. "L'environnement, les pressions sociales, l'itinéraire psychologique semblent toujours peser plus lourd que la faible voix de "notre mère Nature" selon elle.
- certains pédiatres "réactionnaires" telles qu'Edwige Antier (pour rappel, j'avais consacré un billet à son dernier livre "Le courage des femmes").
What she decries:
- the tyranny of motherhood in defining oneself as a woman
- the tyranny of the perfect mother: "Today the raft of motherhood has been loaded with too many expectations, constraints and obligations. There is a danger for both the woman and the couple as well as for the social bond"
- the ideology of La Leche League ("the fatwas of the ayatollah of breast-feeding")
- the ideology of naturalism, which has re-emerged with the economic crisis. This trend which makes biology and nature the basis of all virtues and that more or less condemns the contraceptive pill, jars of pre-made baby food, epidural anesthesia, disposable diapers, etc. "Nature becomes the final authority for laying down or giving out advice. It's become an ethical framework that is difficult to criticize, next to which all else looks dour. Only nature can embody Plato's cherished Good, Beauty and Truth. Naturalist philosophy wields the supreme power to guiltify [if that's not a word, it should be], capable of changing attitude/habits/lifestyles/morals."
- the existence of the maternal instinct. Environment, social pressures, and personal experiences always seem to carry more weight than the feeble voice of "our Mother Nature", according to her.
- certain "reactionary" pediatricians like Edwige Antier (reminder: I dedicated a post to her last book, Women's Courage").
Ce qu'elle estime important et à défendre :
- la variété des désirs et des styles de vie féminins,
- la possibilité de concilier son rôle de mère et ses désirs de femme,
- le fait qu'être une femme ne doit pas se résumer au fait d'être mère,
- l'ambivalence de l'amour maternel et la possibilité de l'exprimer,
What she deems important and in need of defending:
- the diversity of women's desires and lifestyles
- the possibility of reconciling the role of the mother and the desires of the woman
- the fact of being a woman should not be limited to the fact of being a mother
- the multifacetedness of maternal love and the ways of expressing it

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Wed Feb 17th, 2010 at 02:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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