Ooooo, this can make one’s head hurt.

According to the NY Times, it’s the Mommy Wars: Special Campaign Edition

But this time the battle lines are drawn inside out, with social conservatives, usually staunch advocates for stay-at-home motherhood, mostly defending her [Gov. Palin], while some others, including plenty of working mothers, worry that she is taking on too much.

And the others include working mothers who support Obama. 

In interviews, many women, citing their own difficulties with less demanding jobs, said it would be impossible for Ms. Palin to succeed both at motherhood and in the nation’s second-highest elected position at once.

“You can juggle a BlackBerry and a breast pump in a lot of jobs, but not in the vice presidency,” said Christina Henry de Tessan, a mother of two in Portland, Ore., who supports Mr. Obama.

Isn’t the idea supposed to be that the children are the responsibility of a family?  There might be a good argument for saying that a family cannot take on the VP-ship and a special needs child, but to assume that the clash is between being a mother with such a child and the  job is, surely, just a bit…well, what?…Post-feminist?

Of course, there’s an easy explanation here.  The working mothers recognize that she’d happily take away some of their most important choices, and fail to recognize some of their most important needs.  So they’re dumping on her.  Well, maybe, but let’s remember that the way these things get described is very important, and we are not doing ourselves a favor by suggesting that motherhood might bring special conflicts with a very demanding job that others, and that the mother’s decision is not necessarily the last word..

What do you think?

But surely the APA national office recognizes there are female faculty

One would think so, but read on.

Of course, we do complain on this site about the state of women’s participation in philosophy.  And, of course, titles are in some ways not all that important.  However, titles may indicate attitudes, and so when a reader received a ill-informed chastising letter from the national office of the American Philosophical Association, it did not seem to make it any better that it was addressed to Ms FP Reader.

Do you want the details?  I’ll be brief.  The submissions for the Pacific APA were Sept. 1st, a national holiday.  And there’s a small quirk in the submissions process.  You are asked to submit your information and abstract and then press a button which will send you confirmation of your submission.  Terrific, but what happens when you go onto the next stage and the site says it won’t accept your word doc paper because it is not a word doc paper?  One thing you might try is to do it again.  Ha!  You cannot do it again, since it now has sent you confirmation of your submission and won’t let you submit something else.

So what should you do?  Well, Professor FP Reader wrote the person listed on the web-site as the secretary-treasurer, who of course is not the secretary-treasurer, but who was helpful nonetheless.  After all, the national office is closed, totally, and won’t be open until after the deadline.

That, according to the national office, was inappropriate for her to do, because she shouldn’t write a chair when the submission is anonymous. And the instructions are to contact the national office.  In fact, she didn’t write a chair and the national office was closed, but never mind.  Facts hardly seem the point.

Now, back to the main issue:  this is the kind of demeaning reaction to a double-bind situation that was familiar to me in convent schools as they were many years ago.  (One never forgets these things.)  It is, to borrow their word, inappropriate for the national office of the APA to address female faculty in this fashion.  It is almost, dare one say it, as if we didn’t count for all that much.