This is a guest post by Rita Banerji
I know I’m going to be the party-pooper at this grande-monde celebration of madre-hood today in India.
But the thing is that I don’t really buy the idea of a ‘mother’s day’ or for that matter a ‘father’s day.’ Let me explain.
This lady, who is my mother’s age, recently said to me, “You know that Elton John singer. He’s gay and he married a man! And now they have a baby. That’s impossible.” I asked why. And she said, “How are they going to raise a baby without a mother? A baby needs a mother.” I told her she reminded me of some of my students, when I taught biology. For the laboratory exams when asked to identify the sex of fetal pigs, the boys would invariably write, “Female, because it has nipples.” And I always told them that they needed to go home and take a good look at themselves in the mirror, and I would give them the chance to re-write their answers.
Motherhood is pushed and promoted like it’s the biggest, global brand-name that every woman must have! First it’s about the ‘biological instinct’ that demands to be fulfilled through imageries of ‘weeping wombs’ and ‘ticking clocks.’ And later on, as with celebrations of mother’s day, it becomes this over-arching, altar of self-sacrifice. It’s fundamentally illogical: First it’s an acquisition, something that a woman craves for, and chases after. And once she has it – it becomes this icon of selflessness.
What happened there? Why does the image of motherhood go from hankerer to altruist?
My argument is, that this is because women are never told what motherhood is really about. It is not about the pregnancy glow, the nine-month bump, the maternity dresses, or the cute, bright nurseries with Disney prints.
Motherhood is really about a person raising a person. The child is always a totally separate and unknown entity, and the real job of the parent is to recognize and foster that. Motherhood is no different from any other kind of parenthood, whoever the parent is: man or woman, father or mother or guardian, straight or gay.
It is a difficult job, a demanding career, and a womb and mammary glands don’t necessarily equip you for it. Nor are they equipments that are necessary for it!
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Sex equality