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Motherhood, footbinding, and privilege

(64 Posts)
AbortionFairyGodmother Fri 15-May-15 02:08:05

I've been hearing a lot of feminists on Facebook and elsewhere talk about the notion that mothers (because they are viewed as "complete" women and are seen as more socially acceptable than non-mothers) are a privileged class. I wrote this blog entry on the topic, but am curious to hear your thoughts. Have you seen these accusations of "mommy privilege" or "non-mother privilege," and where have they come from in your experience? Is this yet another case of men using groups of women to divide and conquer, or is there another explanation in your view?

YonicScrewdriver Fri 15-May-15 07:36:44

I will post something before I read your blog. I don't see mummies as privileged economically, for sure. I haven't seen any accusations if privilege flying between the two groups - WOHM and SAHM occasionally, I guess.

LotusLight Fri 15-May-15 07:40:25

Earned 10x my husband and got some other poor sucker to do dull domestic toil - wonderful. I recommend it to all women.

YonicScrewdriver Fri 15-May-15 07:45:19

Lotus, I know you've spoken with affection or at least respect about your nanny before. I reckon she'd be hurt if she read that poor sucker comment.

Incidentally, the blog piece isn't about WOHM/SAHM - though its conclusions are relevant to that debate too.

YonicScrewdriver Fri 15-May-15 07:45:54

I liked this AFG:

"I implore my feminist friends: Stop fighting for scraps when the whole table stands above you. Stop wielding privilege rhetoric against other women without asking the question: where is the oppression coming from, and who decided that your group of women should be treated in the way that they are? You’ll be surprised how rarely the answer to these questions is actually “other women in that other group.”

If the answer is “men,” don’t we have better things we could be doing?"

cailindana Fri 15-May-15 08:55:37

Very interesting piece and I agree. I like that analogy with footbinding I think it gets the point across well.

LotusLight Fri 15-May-15 08:58:55

Each to their own but for most people cleaning and childcare 24/7 is not the best balanced life. Suggesting staying home is some kind of wonderful prize for women is just pulling the wool over eyes. |if it's such fun cleaning the loo and changing 20 nappies a day let men do it.

YonicScrewdriver Fri 15-May-15 08:59:33

Lotus, the article isn't about that! Did you read it???

cailindana Fri 15-May-15 09:00:04

Lotus read the article pet.

YonicScrewdriver Fri 15-May-15 09:00:20

And you know, I think, that I'm not a SAHM, if that's what you meant by your post?

YonicScrewdriver Fri 15-May-15 09:01:10

Anyone who cleans 24/7 gets a grip handed to them on here, I'd say grin

HapShawl Fri 15-May-15 10:07:17

i haven't seen any of the discussions about privileges and motherhood vs non-motherhood, but i thought your blog post was excellent, thanks for highlighting it

TheBlackRider Fri 15-May-15 10:32:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BuffyNeverBreaks Fri 15-May-15 10:34:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheBlackRider Fri 15-May-15 10:37:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatharineEdgar Fri 15-May-15 10:42:20

Love that blog post - superb. And it has a much wider resonance than just the 'mother privilege' thing.

KatharineEdgar Fri 15-May-15 10:43:59

oops, namechange fail.

almondcakes Fri 15-May-15 11:22:44

I disagree OP.

Your discussion of foot binding was really good and showed how two groups can both be in awful situations and neither have privilege over the other. It highlights one of the problems of privilege as an explanation for anything.

But, it is completely absurd for women who do not have children, as a group, to claim they are remotely as disadvantaged by that situation as women with children. It is not comparable to the foot binding situation.

There seem to be more and more cases where 'feminists' (and I am not sure what group of feminists they are from) seem more keen to deny women's situation and rights than national and international legal institutions.

TheBlackRider Fri 15-May-15 11:30:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheBlackRider Fri 15-May-15 11:35:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

almondcakes Fri 15-May-15 11:42:15

Because motherhood is magic and prevents you from experiencing infertility?

In those same countries mothers have a worse time than here- forced pregnancies for huge numbers of girls, shunning and losing your husband if you suffer disability as a consequence of pregnancy.

Many women who become infertile and get shunned and lose economic security already are mothers. It is often pregnancy and rape intended to cause pregnancy that made them infertile in the first place.

TheBlackRider Fri 15-May-15 12:28:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AbortionFairyGodmother Fri 15-May-15 12:39:25

Exactly. None of the "privileges," so-called, afforded to either motherhood or non-motherhood actually have anything to do with motherhood itself. It's a system of punishments and rewards that have everything to do with controlling women and their bodies.

TheBlackRider Fri 15-May-15 12:44:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gamache Fri 15-May-15 13:14:20

Great blog and I think the analogy does its job of highlighting the way women live within a structure created and maintained by men very well.

I was thinking along these lines earlier on a thread about SAHPs.

Some posters were criticising SAHMs for being a net economic drain on society.

Completely missing the point that most SAHMs do not work, and therefore contribute economically, because the whole employment system is set up and maintained by men in such a way that makes it very difficult for the majority of women to combine work with caring.

If the system were set up and maintained by women then we would design the system in such a way as to enable workers to both work and care.

Criticising women for not working within the patriarchal system we have is perhaps similar to criticising someone for not walking with bound feet - the system is set up in a way that prevents walking.

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