In less than 2 weeks, the controversial European best seller The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women will be released in the United States. The well known feminist author, Elisabeth Badinter is already under fire for her extreme views of modern motherhood, what she considers as “a spreading cult of motherhood fundamentalism.” Badinter believes attachment parenting victimizes women more than men ever have. Though, Badinter isn’t the first to claim attachment parenting confines women to their children.
Here is a the blurb about the book from Amazon:
“Elisabeth Badinter has for decades been in the vanguard of the European fight for women’s equality. Now, in an explosive new book, she points her finger at a most unlikely force undermining the status of women: liberal motherhood, in thrall to all that is “natural.” Attachment parenting, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and especially breast-feeding—these hallmarks of contemporary motherhood have succeeded in tethering women to the home and family to an extent not seen since the 1950s. Badinter argues that the taboos now surrounding epidurals, formula, disposable diapers, cribs—and anything that distracts a mother’s attention from her offspring—have turned childrearing into a singularly regressive force.
In sharp, engaging prose, Badinter names a reactionary shift that is intensely felt but has not been clearly articulated until now, a shift that America has pioneered. She reserves special ire for the orthodoxy of the La Leche League—an offshoot of conservative Evangelicalism—showing how on-demand breastfeeding, with all its limitations, curtails women’s choices. Moreover, the pressure to provide children with 24/7 availability and empathy has produced a generation of overwhelmed and guilt-laden mothers—one cause of the West’s alarming decline in birthrate.
A bestseller in Europe, The Conflict is a scathing indictment of a stealthy zealotry that cheats women of their full potential.”
Does it make you as angry as it did me?
Whether you believe in attachment parenting or not, if you are anything like me, you are pretty enraged by the book blurb. I think the “especially breastfeeding” part angered me the most. I know many feminist that are fighting for our breastfeeding rights (being able to nurse in public, pumping at work) and now this different type of feminist is saying it is tethering women to the house and family and keeping them from reaching their “full potential.” Kind of a slap in the face for feminist rights.
Elisabeth Badinter is known for her past feminist activism and now French intellectual status, which apparently is like a rock star status. Intellectual or not, isn’t publishing something like this anti-feminism? In my opinion, if anything is victimizing women, it is Badinter herself. Attacking women for their choices and rights seems very hypocritical. A feminist fights for the equal rights for women politically, economically, and socially. It seems Badinter’s only concern is that women detach themselves from their children and families to only focus on their “full potential.”
I know many mothers that were inspired because of their children and have reached their full potential as humans because of it. They have written books, created safer products, and are taking on chemical companies and the government with stride- all while homeschooling, wearing their babies, cloth diapering, and breastfeeding on the go. I find this book and Badinter’s views insulting to everything that they’ve done. I don’t see how this style of parenting victimizes women worse than in the 50’s when men could beat their wives.
What are your thoughts? Do you feel that your children have prevented you from reaching your full potential?