Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Mothers are not 'opting out' - they are out of options
This article is so critically important that I wanted to post a portion here. Please go to the website and read the full article.
"Corporate feminists like Sheryl Sandberg frame female success as a matter of attitude. But it is really a matter of money - or the lack thereof. For all but the fortunate few, American motherhood is making sure you have enough lifeboats for your sinking ship. American motherhood is a cost-cutting, debt-dodging scramble somehow interpreted as a series of purposeful moves. American mothers are not "leaning in". American mothers are not "opting out". American mothers are barely hanging on.
Careers in this economy are not about choices. They are about structural constraints masquerading as choice. Being a mother is a structural constraint regardless of your economic position. Mothers pay a higher price in a collapsed economy, but that does not mean they should not demand change - both in institutions and perceptions.
Erasing stigma - whether of hard-working, impoverished single mothers branded as "lazy", or of wealthier mothers whose skills outside the home are downplayed and denied - does not cost a thing.
The irony of American motherhood is that the politicians and corporations who hold power do have a choice in how they treat mothers and their children. Yet they act as if they are held hostage to intractable policies and market forces, excusing the incompetence and corporate malfeasance that drain our households dry.
Mothers can emulate them and treat "choice" as an individual burden - or we can work together and push for accountability and reform. This option is not easy. But we are used to that."
Sarah Kendzior is St Louis-based writer who studies politics and media.
Follow her on Twitter: @sarahkendzior
Read the full article at m.aljazeera.com
Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes