An Indefinite Moratorium on the Term "Mommy Wars," Please?
Can we please stop using the term “Mommy Wars,” even if it is nestled between quotes or emphasized in italics?
I am a mother of two children. I never refer to myself as a “mommy.” I use “Mama” as a tongue-in-cheek term of endearment for friends, as in “What up, Mama?” My kids call me Mom or Mommy or Mama, but no one else does.
The term Mommy Wars is dismissive and is no different than yelling “CAT FIGHT!” Women have intelligent discussions and there is no benefit to reframing discourse as playground hair pulling. Apparently women still cannot be angry and have opinions. I might not agree with your opinions on the right way to do things. I don’t agree that there ever is one right way to do things. HISSSSS! REEEEEEEER!
Hanna Rosin’s article, “The Case Against Breastfeeding,” has generated a lot of discussion, most of which was labeled as Mommy Wars. I would like to think that perhaps Rosin is one step ahead of everyone. Maybe she deliberately tossed together a few flimsy arguments KNOWING that it would drag people out of the woodwork to refute them. After the knee-jerk reactivity subsided, some of us would stick around to discuss the challenges that women who enjoying working and enjoy being with their children face.
Let’s see how the most popular feminist blogs weighed in on the article:
Barely anything. There was a media sandstorm (and by “sand”, I of course mean “shit”) about women’s rights, equality and embracing our own physiology and only Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon and Debra Dickerson at Mother Jones weighed in on the so-called controversy. Marcotte compared it to anti-vaccination “hysteria” (yes, hysteria) and that “[a]ll these things cause anxiety to flare up, and therefore Mommy War judging and posturing.” Dickerson admittedly tried to provoke rage while supporting her friend Hanna Rosin by telling her “oh-so-progressive readers” that the science cited for breastfeeding is indeed bogus because Hanna Rosin has the proof.
I would say that it has been an embarrassing couple of weeks for the feminist movement online, except that I have personally come in contact with many other women who felt the same way about Milkgate 2009—the “science” in the article was flimsy, parenting from a place of guilt is no good for anyone and some of us do work meaningfully while pumping and breastfeeding. More importantly, many women would like to see more cultural and institutional support for breastfeeding.
And human milk remains the best choice for human babies. That is a neutral, non-judgmental, evidence-based statement.
I like being a mother. It’s a wonderful thing and I’m really grateful that I made a few little people. I would, however, appreciate not being referred to as a Mommy, Mommie or Mommee unless you are between the ages of one and three-and-a-half and you came out of me.