Amy Allen on the “Mommy Wars” in the NY Times

Feminist philosopher gets it so very, very right:

If the “the conflict” continues to be framed as one between women — between liberal and cultural feminists, or between stay at home mothers and working women, or between affluent professionals and working class women, or between mothers and childless women — it will continue to distract us from what we should really be doing: working together — women and men together— to change the cultural, social and economic conditions within these crucial choices are made.

4 thoughts on “Amy Allen on the “Mommy Wars” in the NY Times

  1. I agree with your assessment, Jenny. It also reminded me of the content of the first Carus lecture that Sally Haslanger gave at the Pacific APA. Sally wanted to say, among other things, that highly educated women who choose to be stay-at-home moms may be being entirely rational; that may be their best choice. But what makes it their best choice may be (in fact I think she probably said are) the social structures we live in and with.

  2. I question the extent to which any of us are making free and rational choices given the societal pressures that surround the decision to have children or not.

  3. Justafp: I think one might see a choice as rational but not free. As when one does the best one can with bad alternnatives.
    I don’t want to try to speak for SH here.

  4. Thanks for the link to this article, Jenny! It’s refreshing to see a philosopher calling Badinter out on her denunciation of breastfeeding in light of her deep and decades-long connection with makers of various infant formulas. As the Slate authors point out, it’s a “laughable” conflict of interest.

    I love Amy Allen’s reinforcement of the 3rd wave denunciation of dichotomies, too. Here’s one more dichotomy I wish she had challenged: why should we think that certain contemporary style of mothering (attachment parenting, hovering, etc) is not compatible with working full-time and/or having children in child care? The majority of infants in my youngest child’s class were breastfed exclusively for the first year — and, for many of us, it extended well beyond that. I am as involved — or perhaps more involved — with my children’s school/activities/etc as my stay-at-home counterparts. The choice, for me, is one of time for the life of the body, e.g., personal trainers, facials, pedicures, eyebrows, etc (no thanks to all of those for me — but I genuinely respect those of my friends who do choose the grooming), versus time for the life of the mind. And, as with all *choices*, this is not a _dichotomy_, but rather a kaleidoscopic maze of shifting priorities and opportunities.

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