A man-mother denies even the hormonal avalanche of birth, knowing that emotion is an embarrassing weakness that must be overcome.My problems with all this, in a nutshell:
She typically works right up till labour, and barks orders on her cellphone minutes after delivery, as another woman I know did. Maternal bonding and love must be sidelined if you have "no right to fail", as the French premier has told Dati is her situation. In any case, you wouldn't want to appear inferior, like someone's housebound wife.
Women everywhere, and this is hardly news, have to hide the stresses of organising a child's life, even their illnesses, to hold down their jobs. Few can afford nannies, or to give up work. Such women, looking to Dati for inspiration, won't find any, and women who guiltily enjoy spending time with their babies will feel even more marginalised, inferior and judged.
I'm fed up with man-mothers being held up as examples for all women to emulate and admire. Real progress will come when we're truly able to put the needs of a child first, and be respected for it.
- McLeod seems to be denying that Dati is female, in particular with the title to her column. Now that's a mature way to start. Frankly I just found it confusing because I wasn't quite sure what she was talking about for a while.
- Calling someone a "man", or a "man-mother" shouldn't be an insult, surely?
- A whole mountain of assumptions are being made here about how Dati is managing her family, with a lot of negative conclusions drawn as a result. Not least all the judgemental stuff about who the father is. And that working mums can't breastfeed.
- If we're going to treat women as full human beings and respect their right to make their own decisions then sometimes there will be women who make decisions we don't agree with. For example, I don't agree with all those women who voted Act in the last election, but I don't think the solution to that disagreement is arguing that only my approach to electoral politics puts the children first and that therefore Act-voting women should be disenfranchised. In fact I'm not sure it's a disagreement that needs to be "solved" at all.
- Yet again we see this "think of the children" mentality, that assumes women can only be good mothers if they are making some kind of dramatic sacrifice for their offspring. I am so over this.
Despite what male journalists may believe, the unmarried mother who must work through her pregnancy and return to work instantly is no new thing. Poor women do it everywhere, unnoticed. They have no choice.But I don't appreciate her assumption that if all women could choose they would pick what she appears to prescribe; to stop work early in the pregnancy and then not return to work for an undisclosed period of time; for all mothers to take primary responsibility for their baby; to breast-feed (not always a choice either in my experience) because bottles are bad bad bad.
I'm not clear on how McLeod's judgemental attitude helps any mothers, be they in paid employment full time, part time, or not at all.