Wednesday, 20 June 2012

More from the Mommy Wars: Diane Johnson Reviews Books about Motherhood


The review of four books on motherhood in  the latest New York Review of Books by Diane Johnson,  are worth reading even if you aren't a mother, and never expect to be.  Chief among the books is one by French writer and philosopher Élisabeth Badinter, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women.    Her particular bugaboo appears to be breast-feeding: she all but calls it a form of slavery.

It has always seemed to me that, on the contrary, breast-feeding is the lazy woman's way because you don't have to do anything but uncover yourself and your child can feed.  Among the women I know, the high strung, Type A ones have more trouble than those who are a little sloppy and go-with-the flow. 

But as with so many other things in this life, economic considerations are behind many of the positions we take.  Johnson comments:  "Because of (Badinter's)  reputation for integrity, she has been mostly spared accusations of conflict of interest for defending infant formula and disposable diapers, while being the principal shareholder in the advertising agency handling the accounts of Nestlé and Procter and Gamble (the makers of Pampers)."

Yes, indeed.  He (or she) who pays the piper call the tune.

BTW,  Johnson mentions the support given to working mothers in France and elsewhere as being much better than what exists in the US.  If women want to fulfill their potential much better child care must be available, so that women can choose to work and have kids, too.

The other three books are also interesting:  They are;                                            

Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species

by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy)                                                

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

by Pamela Druckerman                                             

Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood

by Anne Enright

This is an extremely important point.  

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