Maternal Double Bind

On the maternal double bind.

Motherhood is in many ways ‘compulsory’ for women with it being an assumed, desirable, and potentially socially coerced role. For instance, how many times as a kid are you told ‘when you grow up, get married, and have kids’? How many times are you told if you say you’re not interested in having children that ‘you’ll change your mind’ ? While this might be the case, are young women who say they do want to have children subject to the same refrain? And how many ways are people set up to get themselves into reproduction or more likely to reproduce (lack of accessible birth control and abortion, sex defined as penile-vaginal penetration, heterosexuality normalized, etc.)?

But despite being considered the ‘normal’, expected, and desirable outcome, on the other side there is a whole other world of problems for women who do become mothers. From Feministe:

It’s one thing to be handed a cookie for breeding. It’s entirely another thing to be handed actual, concrete assistance, understanding, and genuine respect for one’s mothering and sadly the latter is too rarely in evidence at a societal level. Importantly, there are many parents who get no cookies because they do not meet the criteria of ‘good parent’; that is, they dare to have children whilst being poor, or disabled, or non-white, or queer, or trans, or too young, or too old, or too fat.

Do go read the whole article which has links and info on feminist mothering, and keep in mind that all feminist struggles are about removing barriers and giving people more options and support, not necessarily just about resisting the one dominating norm (and therefore replacing it with a new one).

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