Friday, March 30, 2012

attachment parenting and feminism

Photo: Chasing Virtue
New York Times review of Poser
I'm in the midst of Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer, a self-conscious freelance book critic and new mom, surrounded by North Seattle's organically living attachment parenting moms. Dederer's voice is funny and often right on in pointing out how exhausting attachment parenting can be. Still, I find myself viscerally reacting against some of what she's saying.

What bothers me, I think, is how Dederer puts up this simplistic division between her mom's generation of women who, intoxicated by the women's movement, left their families to pursue their own lives, turning their children into attachment parenting moms with mommy brains on a mission. That just doesn't sit with my own experiences of attachment parenting as a feminist woman:

Which is why I found blue milk's recent post on feminism and attachment parenting, and why they’ve more in common than in conflict. Excerpt:
Recently I was interviewed by a feminist writer about my thoughts on where the resurgence in attachment parenting fits with feminism. I raised a number of challenges but I also higlighted what I see as harmonies between feminism and this style of parenting. There are two significant areas of overlap in my opinion. The first is that attachment parenting, at least in theory, is a style of parenting allowing women to perform parenting within their everyday lives. When babies are breastfed, co-sleeping and carried they’re potentially very portable. You can be caring for your baby while also getting shit done. In practice this isn’t always the case. The workplace, and public space in general, can be pretty child unfriendly and not every mother decides this is how she wants to live her life. But in theory it should be possible – women should be able to be full participants in life without being marginalised by their gender. And that’s feminism.
Secondly, attachment parenting is also supposed to be about attending to, listening to, and encouraging reciprocal communication with a child. It is about respecting the full humanity of a person regardless of their abilities, age and status. And that’s feminism, too.
Read all of blue milk's post here.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very good argument for what "women and children first" ought to mean but almost never does. Bravo, blue milk.


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