Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rage against the baby machines?

Where did that title come from?

A new wave of anti-feminism is taking hold of Germany. Former career women-turned-housewives are spreading the word about a "new femininity" which encourages women to stay at home and embrace motherhood...

With the birth of her son ten years ago, the three-times divorcee transformed herself into a devoted wife and wannabe mother of the nation. Since then she's been spreading her new-found wisdom in literary oeuvres like "The Joy of Breastfeeding" (2003) or "My Child Sleeps Through The Night" (2005).

Last year Herman graduated from child-rearing to sociology with "The Eva Principle" -- and became the target of scorn from all sides of the political spectrum. Critics accused her of sending women back to the 1950s and said that she, as someone who successfully combines her career with child-rearing, was guilty of hypocrisy. Several German women have written their own books in response, damning Herman's thesis.

Hmm. Children need love, stability and stimulus in their early years. The mother is an obvious source. But provided child-care is stable (i.e. not more than three different carers and no `disappearing carers') I don't think it has to be the mother. Having said that, the state usually provides creches or similar forms of childcare and it's appalling. No stability, inadequate communication, an emphasis on socialisation with and by other infants when they need adult stimulus. All in all a rolling disaster. But it's all about your ideology, not about bringing up healthy children. So let's keep all the mothers out at work and let them come home late, tired and above all guilty about the crap care their children are receiving. Better still, let's not have any children. After all, in the UK we need both people in a couple to be in paid work in order to afford the tax and mortgage payments.

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