Happy Mother’s Day Elton John!


by guest
8th May, 2011 at 8:56 am    

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!


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39 Comments below   |  

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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Happy Mother’s Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kCQgbp


  2. Bianca Jagger

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Happy Mother’s Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kCQgbp


  3. Rita Banerji

    RT @sunny_hundal: Happy Mother’s Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kCQgbp


  4. Happy Mother’s Day To Elton John « Rita's Blog

    [...] 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.”  Read the full article on Pickled Politics [...]


  5. Ja ime

    RT @BiancaJagger: RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Happy Mother’s Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kCQgbp


  6. jessica mitchell

    RT @BiancaJagger: RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Happy Mother’s Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kCQgbp


  7. 50 Million Missing

    Motherhood's the same as #parenthood whoever the parent is: man, woman, father,mother, guardian, straight or gay. http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  8. 50 Million Missing

    Motherhood's the same as #parenthood whoever the parent is: man, woman, father,mother, guardian, straight or gay. http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  9. 50 Million Missing

    The child is a totally separate and unknown entity, and the real job of the #parent is to recognize and foster that. http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  10. 50 Million Missing

    The child is a totally separate and unknown entity, and the real job of the #parent is to recognize and foster that. http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  11. 50 Million Missing

    What is it about #motherhood that women are never told? http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  12. 50 Million Missing

    What is it about #motherhood that women are never told? http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  13. 50 Million Missing

    Why have a separate mother's day and father's day? Should there be a difference?http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  14. 50 Million Missing

    Why have a separate mother's day and father's day? Should there be a difference?http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  15. 50 Million Missing

    #Motherhood is pushed and promoted by the media like it’s the biggest, global brand-name that every #woman must have! http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  16. 50 Million Missing

    Is there any reason why being a mother should be different from being a father? http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  17. Rita Banerji

    Mother's Day today — and I want to be the party pooper :-) http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  18. Rita Banerji

    RT @50millionmissin: What is it about #motherhood that women are never told? http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  19. Rita Banerji

    RT @50millionmissin: Why have a separate mother's day and father's day? Should there be a difference?http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  20. Rita Banerji

    RT @50millionmissin: Is there any reason why being a mother should be different from being a father? http://tiny.cc/t8uq0


  21. Alberto Heckler

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/lQ7VkI


  22. Melody Gill

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/j3LmTa


  23. Simon Charter

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kOvsEM


  24. kranti gunthoti

    Happy Mother’s Day Elton John! – http://bit.ly/kCQgbp #mothersday #LGBT


  25. Calvin Barba

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/jjGPwC


  26. Tristen Biggins

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/mDhHOf


  27. Rachael Ochoa

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kPtNOE


  28. Professor Grimm

    Pickled <b>Politics</b> » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/kXu4c6


  29. Lizbeth Ashton

    Pickled Politics » Happy Mother's Day Elton John! http://bit.ly/l8d9Cj


  30. Rita Banerji

    I argue here that #motherhood is a loaded word. We need to focus more on #parenthood as a #gender neutral concept http://t.co/QHfc0TB9


  31. Arvind Ratnoo

    I argue here that #motherhood is a loaded word. We need to focus more on #parenthood as a #gender neutral concept http://t.co/QHfc0TB9




  1. jamal — on 8th May, 2011 at 11:46 am  

    Love your parents everyday of the year not just on these commercialized gimmick days called mother’s day and fathers day!

  2. janos — on 8th May, 2011 at 4:17 pm  

    Of course a child need at least one and preferably two or more loving adults. Gender is of no initial substantial importance. Unfortunately, Elton doesn’t speak with his own 86 year old mother since three years. That’s crucial because such wounded emotions tend to be planted through the next generation. My “Happy Mother’s Day” goes out to Sheila Farebrother with a hope of a soon reunion with her son.

  3. jo — on 8th May, 2011 at 4:56 pm  

    What subversive far left crap.

    Children need mothers, nature won’t allow any othe entry into this world.

    The bond between mother and child is quite clearly stronger then the bond between Elton and the one he bought like a pet and raises via a nanny.

  4. Don — on 8th May, 2011 at 5:26 pm  

    Children need mothers, nature won’t allow any other entry into this world

    True enough, but historically providing entry into this world for a child has been probably the main cause of exiting this world for mothers. So, being motherless is a common part of the human condition. This isn’t some new-fangled development.

    If the maternal role is delegated to an employee, however valued, that might raise issues. I’d agree with that, but I don’t know that this is the case. I don’t know much about celebs.

    But functional family units come in many forms. It isn’t about the formal structure, it’s about the people involved and their ability to love.

  5. jo — on 8th May, 2011 at 6:33 pm  

    Death in childbirth by no means provides the highest mortality rate for women, certainly not in the west.

    My point is that if nature wanted two men to have a child together, it would have allowed them to do so. Naturally. Rather then having to take someone else’s.

    I have heard all of the lame ‘what about infertile couple’ canards and they don’t wash as an often remedied physical defect has no equivalence to a physical impossibility.

    Now I am no expert on Elton either, but I do know that he employs several nannies to look after the child 24/7 and that recently he and his partner posed for several photos with the child before handing the baby straight back to the nannies, like some novelty to snap and discard.

    The extreme left have always sought to undermine the very fabric of society and that is why families are always subject to attack. This countries many feral youths and its huge youth crime rate are a testament to the results of broken families: A mother, a father, love and discipline is what is needed in this world.

  6. janos — on 8th May, 2011 at 8:35 pm  

    What neo conservative far right crap.

  7. jo — on 8th May, 2011 at 9:07 pm  

    Janos, thanks for the reasoned insight.

    I am no ‘neo-con’, we dont have them where I come from. Nor am I ‘far right.’ But thanks for the effort.

    The other problem is that everything I have said is true.

  8. Arif — on 11th May, 2011 at 7:54 am  

    jo, I don’t have a fixed position on adoption rules, but I think you are confusing lots of things.

    You are relying on arguing about what is natural, but skip over Don’s point about death in childbirth. If western medical care (unnatural interventions?) have reduced such deaths, it does not make safe childbirth the natural state of being, just a modern phenomenon, a bit like how you might see gay parents adopting children.

    And nature does not “want” anybody in particular to care or not care for a child. That is either anthropomorphising or shorthand for something else you mean. If nature wants only the biological parents of a child to care for it, then it has failed in many cases, and we either let children die or come up with alternative care-giving options. You can argue that if nature wanted us to fly we would have wings. If nature wanted us to stay married, adultery would be physically impossible. If nature wanted us to avoid gay adoption, there would be no orphans and no gay people. But the reality is that nature does not guide our decisions, and we often defy nature in order to survive longer and suffer less.

    On the fabric of society, I want to agree with you, but we should have an evidence-based discussion. What are the rates of crime and violence in times and in societies where people could not divorce or where gay people could not adopt – how much change has there really been? What are the real causes of stress on the family? Is it really the natural response to social freedom (and what does that mean for your argument about doing what is natural?) Or perhaps it may be due to economic changes – both pressures and opportunities – which both the left and the right need to think about?

    I agree with you on the importance of how Elton John treats the child, as a person rather than an accessory, with love and respect for the child’s needs, etc. It may be that you can relate some deficiencies in caring to his being gay. But that is again something which cannot be proven with anecdotes, any more than an anecdote about a “bad mother” undermines the value of motherhood or traditional parenting.

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