Leslie Carol Botha: Chris Bobel has written an excellent commentary on the breast feeding frenzy in the latest version of the ‘mommy wars’ – another tactical strategy used in the war on women.
Why it’s easier to be a good daddy than a good mommy
Christian Science Monitor
by Chris Bobel
June 1, 2012
Time magazine’s recent ‘breast-feeding cover’ fueled another spat in the ‘mommy wars.’ Debating the ‘perfect mother’ ideal is a misogynistic narrative. We need to stop pitting moms against moms and start fighting the real battles, like defending against attacks on women’s health care.
Time magazine’s controversial cover from a couple weeks ago, which depicted young mother Jamie Lynne Grumet while her 3-year-old son stood on a stool suckling at her breast, was yet another unhelpful salvo in the “mommy wars.”
Ms. Grumet’s contrived pose seemed to throw down the gauntlet to moms everywhere: “Who’s the better mother?” And media outlets have been picking up the debate ever since.
The ongoing firestorm surrounding Time’s cover reveals how limiting and degrading Western society’s story of the “good mother” or “perfect mom” really is. It’s a narrative steeped in misogynistic assumptions about womanhood – at once self-sacrificing and inevitably deficient.
Mothers are measured against an impossible standard because they are women. Fathers, as men, are held to a markedly lesser set of expectations. It is, therefore, much easier to earn props for being a good Daddy than a good Mommy.
The Time story was about attachment parenting, a practice in which parents keep their kids close through co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, and “baby wearing.” Many attachment mothers breastfeed their children until age two, three, or four.
Thanks to Time’s art department, the magazine made extended breastfeeding, and by extension, attachment parenting, look like something freaky. The reality, however, is that this practice is ancient and global and works beautifully for many families.