Browsing around Blogher, there were two posts that particulary caught my attention: The Real "C" Word by Suzanne Reisman and Married vs. Single, and Condi by Morra Arrons. Morra's post started off with the subject of mommy bloggers - how their sheer existance seems to annoy people. Yes, I do think the glorification and fetishization of motherhood in the West has continued to work as a means of oppression for women and that being female and childless (whether by choice or not)comes with a certain level of condemnation by society. However, there is a tendency to assume that all mothers revel in this glorification and that all those that rally around motherhood as a common point do so because they are all self-indulgent ego-maniacs who somehow take pleasure in excluding those that do not have children.
Having recently given birth, I conclude that one of the primary reasons for rallying around motherhood, for instance through mommy blogging, is not for my own satisfaction but stems instead from a sense of isolation. This isolation has not developed from personal isolation but rather from the fact that now I find my life all the more gendered than it was before. In somes ways this is great - I have access to so many more woman-friendly environments (such as breast feeding groups etc...) but at the same time, I am all the more aware that the Western society has not been built for mothers, most obviously in the public realm: from the most obvious examples of maternity pay inadequacies to feeling uncomfortable breast feeding in public.
Also this is highlighted by the fact that more than ever pregnant women and mothers undergo constant criticism from the outside world. I have never been in another situation where strangers think it is appropriate to give advice, judge and ignore all sense of personal space than when you are pregnant or walking around with a small child.
During my time in labour and recovery for three days after in the hospital, there were some moments were the "isms" of the world was horribly blatant. The first being that all the midwives were female (having said that I did encounter one male midwive once I was discharged) whereas all the consultants were male....
Once my baby was out and I was sent onto a ward with three other women, the male consultants disapeared and the only men around were fathers. All the nurses were women, midwives were still women. Cleanning and catering staff were all black women.
Also, on a side note. I thought it was infuriating before while I was pregnant that the majority of reading I did about pregnancy etc refered to the child as a boy. When you came across a 'she', you really noticed it. Well, this obviously also applies to the majority of reading that you have to do when your baby has arrived. But what I also find suprising is that people still function according to the 'girls wear pink, boys in blue (or yellow)'. Dress your baby in the wrong colour and people will start asking you how 'your little boy is' when she's wearing yellow.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Happy Holidays!! As we all try desperately to navigate this time of year without totally breaking the bank, I just wanted to put a couple links out there for those of you looking to give gifts that give back.
The Case Foundation's new spotlight on Giving provides a good guide on some interesting and innovative charitable donations, a how-to guide and some other neat features.
My personal favorite this holiday season is definitely Global Giving. The site acts as a conduit for lots of small projects that nonprofits all over the world are doing (and looking for funding for). So you can give to build a school in Kenya or donate a computer to a tech center in Pakistan if you want.
The best thing about Global Giving is that they have a whole section of projects on Gender and Equality where you can donate to a woman's football team in Rwanda, to help girls out of bonded labor in Nepal, or offer leadership training to women in India.
Use your spending power this holiday to help women all over the world! I can't imagine a better way to engage in the spirit of the season.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
As part of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence, the Association of Progressive Communications, Women's Networking Support Programme(APC WNSP)has started Take Back the Tech (in the spirit of Take Back the Night.The campaign demonstrates the association between communication technologies and violence against women and also change the association of ICT's being male. Some amazing projects have sprung up from Take Back the Tech - I especially like Blank Noise Project.