Is motherhood a privilege?

This is likely to be a disputed position, but Forest Green Feminism believes so, and argues her point. She is very careful to point out that she does not deny male privilege or the fact that motherhood is a form of compliance, but she argues that beyond that motherhood does confer privilege over non-mothers.

First, the aggrandizement of motherhood is really about the favoring of sons — their creation, their nurture, their ultimate elevation into the power structure as high as they can go based on other factors, like race, class, and their own level of conformity. It is the duty of mothers to raise acculturated sons. Rape and male violence (down the hierarchy) are culturally-accepted norms. Mothers are to defend their sons against charges of rape and other forms of violence against ‘lessers,’ usually women but also marginalized men. And mothers do!

When I suggest that women’s loyalties must be to females, foremost, and against their misogynist sons, I get resistance. When I suggest that if a son rapes, is known to have raped, loyalty has to be to his victim, the female being, and he needs disowned, I hear, “How can you say this — he was born from my body, he is my child!?!” I can say it because it is high time our loyalties are to female humans. And I can say it because women defending the outrages done by patriarchy, even in the forms of their own sons, is a significant part of the problem. Patriarchy is maintained by unquestioned allegiances by the many, including the terribly-oppressed. All systems of subjugation can be reinforced this way (and usually are).

Second motherhood is, itself, loyalty to the norms of heterosexuality. I was at the time actually a part of the Great Lesbian Con into Motherhood. Lesbians everywhere were having children, and I wanted in! I read everywhere of women’s biological clocks and discovered I, too, had one! Is there an internal urge to procreate? There may well be, although I’m not convinced there is. Still, any valid urge or instinct is easily manipulable by incessant cultural pressure. Even more so if it’s subtle and proffered by members of your own minority group. The fact is that Lesbian Motherhood was an act of assimilation, complicity by its very nature. And I was a part of it. (Damn me!)

Third, motherhood brings rewards and attention at the expense of childless or child-free women. Women who eschew childbearing are “selfish,” and more.

3 thoughts on “Is motherhood a privilege?

  1. oopster74 March 29, 2015 at 05:06 Reply

    Reblogged this on oopster74 and commented:
    Why I thought this post would be anything different than “ooh, poor women being downtrodden by evil men” is beyond me, so I’ll answer the question I thought was being asked first.

    Is Motherhood a privilege? – When compared to “male privilege” or “white privilege”, then no, I don’t believe it is, as that implies you are in a better position as a parent than a non-parent. Is parenthood a right? No, you no more have the right to be a parent than you have the right to drive, or to a job. You choose to be a parent (for the most part), so it’s a privilege in the traditional meaning of the word.

    No, as for the usual “ooh poor women” blah blah blah. FFS! Adults have free will. We can do what we want within the laws of the country we’re in (yes in some countries some laws need changing but that’s for another blog post). Stop winging that “ooh the patriarchy is stopping me from doing this” or “the patriarchy is stopping me from doing that”, bollocks to the patriarchy, if you want to do something, it’s not illegal, no one’s going to get hurt or injured, then what the fuck is stopping you??? Honestly, if there’s someone you want to do or feel you need to do then fucking do it and stop complaining, and before anyone bangs on anymore about patriarchy, ask yourself, “can I vote?” and if you can, that’s because people stood up for their and your rights against oppression, and they most likely had bigger, badder oppression to deal with.

  2. lonesomeyogurt March 29, 2015 at 10:41 Reply

    My problem with this article is that it fails to account for the serious oppressions that follow motherhood. Mothers are more likely to be subject to intimate male partner violence, more likely to be in poverty, more likely to have their chances at a career or even economic stability dashed. Add to that that all mothers experience an oppression non-mothers don’t, which would be the use of one’s body as an incubator. Adding all that up, I can’t really see the “privilege” that it grants.

    I think this gets down to the question of what exactly privilege means. I for one don’t think “giving in” to the demands of a system that exists to exploit you is somehow “privilege” – it may reduce the violence you experience as punishment for resisting, but it brings with it an intimacy with the oppressive system that is, in its own way, equally terrible. I have the same problem with the idea of women having “straight privilege,” considering that close intimate contact with a man is incredibly dangerous and often incompatible with female self-actualization. Being fucked by a man who most likely hates you is not a privilege, even if it may confer some material benefits in exchange for one’s subjugation inside the system of male supremacy.

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