In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

New York City to teen moms: You suck, and your kids hate you.

An ad campaign by the NYC Human Resources Administration would like you to know that your kids hate you for being a teen mom. Or, more accurately, that your future kids will hate you if you become a teen mom, much like the kids of current teen moms hate them. Because Daddy left, and now he’s absent and stuck with child support, and Mommy’s alone and poor, and the kid will never make anything of herself, and why did you not just keep your legs together, Mom?

Surrogacy, paying for pregnancy and whose rights end where

This entire story about a surrogate mother, Chrystal Kelley, pregnant with a fetus with severe abnormalities, is disturbing and heartbreaking. A low-income woman, desperate for money, agreed to be a surrogate for a wealthier family, something she had done before. Everyone was excited. Then, an ultrasound showed the fetus had several abnormalities — heart problems, organ problems. The parents, who had given birth to two premature babies before and knew the difficulties of raising children with health issues, wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Kelley did not.

Not For Girls

Today, I picked up my daughter (who’s three and a half) from her preschool/daycare. Most days, I’m coming from work and I don’t have time to change before headed there, so I pick her up in my work clothes. Work clothes for me happen to be an Army uniform, ACUs to be precise: jacket, t-shirt underneath, pants, and combat boots. I’ve dropped her off and picked her up in this outfit daily for the past 6 weeks. I’m still getting to know her new school and the kids in her classroom since she just started there, but when I’m there, some of the kids say hi, I wave to others, things like that. Her classroom is all kids between the ages of three and four.

Tonight, one of the little girls whose name I don’t know said hi when I came in. She had brown hair in a ponytail and shiny black Mary Janes. She stood very close to me while my daughter hurried around the room, and said “Why do you always wear that jacket?”

“It’s my uniform,” I said.

“No, it’s not,” she said. “Girls don’t wear that.”

“I do,” I replied. “I wear this to work every day. I’m in the Army.”

“No, you’re not. Girls can’t do that, and you shouldn’t wear it!” She was starting to get mad.

“Lots of girls can and do. I know lots of women who are soldiers.”

“No! You can’t! Girls can’t do that!”

“Girls can do pretty much anything they like.” (One of the teachers chimed in on this point and also reminded the little girl to use her manners and not yell.)

“Not that. You shouldn’t wear that jacket!”

What was there to say? I repeated that it was my uniform and that anyone, including girls, could be in the Army and went to go collect my daughter’s things. As I turned to go, the little girl looked down at my feet and saw my combat boots.

“Those are boy boots! You can’t wear those! Take them off! Take it all off! Those aren’t for you!”

And then she started stepping on my feet. “No, no boots, not for girls!”

I stared for a second and stepped back out of the reach of her shiny black Mary Janes.

The teacher and I addressed the foot stepping and by then my daughter was ready to go, showing me her drawing where she’d been practicing the letter J, reminding me to put her doll’s hat back on so it wouldn’t get lost, and asking if there were graham crackers out at the car for a snack.

On the way home, she chatted cheerfully about her day. After a short narrative about how someone wasn’t listening at circle time, she looked out the window and said, “Mommy, I see an airplane! Maybe when I’m a grown up, I can fly airplanes!”

Yes, kiddo, maybe you can.

Divorcing ourselves from traditional marriage

My latest column in the Guardian is about the latest move from a group of conservatives to call a truce on gay marriage and get back to blaming single moms and poor people for destroying marriage itself. They say that poor and middle-class people aren’t getting married, and that’s hurting them financially and socially, keeping them poor. I say that working-class and middle-class people are marrying less often precisely because of economic insecurity: Outdated views of men as breadwinners mean that men who aren’t making enough to support a family may be less enthusiastic about marriage; increases in gender equality mean that working women no longer need to get married for social status and may not want to take on a husband who doesn’t pull his own weight inside the home and out; and with divorce being financially ruinous for women in particular, it’s probably a good idea to avoid marriage if you aren’t reasonably sure you’re hitching yourself to a good horse. If conservatives actually care about the things they say are the purpose of marriage — a good environment for children, family stability, accumulation of personal wealth — then they should support policies that directly promote those things instead of claiming marriage is the one and only solution, because it’s clearly not. A taste:

Apparently it’s National Sanctimommy Week on the internet

Did you know that All Moms judge you if you’re a mom and consider abortion? Or that All Moms think you’re a whiny selfish narcissist who reminds them of their kindergartner if you haven’t had babies yet? No? Well, these moms, who speak for All Moms On The Internet, would like you to know that they’re judging you. Especially if you’re one of their “close friends” who confides in them, and especially if they are so selfless (being MOMS) that they naturally hear about 1/2 of what you’re saying and then make everything else about them.