Saturday, July 19, 2008

all about food and sex

its been rankling me,but i let it pass. but because there have been a lot of posts by mommy bloggers on articles abouts parents from hell, read new age parenting, i let the rankling get the better of me.

so beware: its a rankling induced post!

a couple of weeks back a journalist doing an article on motherhood had called. she had her premise in place- the professional, social, economic lives of women perish when they become mothers. and there must surely be severe resentment about the fact. every question of hers and every answer of mine were pretty much at cross purposes.

but that did not get my goat.

at some point i mentioned how most of my friends do not have kids, and for most its a choice they have made. ah ha, she latched on. so why do you think they dont have kids, why have they taken that decision, you think they are too self centered and unwilling to allow the changes in their lives that a child will bring....

hey hey hey, i said. its a choice they have made because of a variety of reasons. being fully wrapped up in their writing/films/art/teaching, does not translate to being selfish and self centered. and not having kids does not mean that these are child hating adults. and, i added, do try your best to not latch onto easy and empty generalisations.

but thats what these articles are. easy generalisations, or worse, taking some extreme case and spinning a broad generalisation around it.

easy to imagine what article she would have written, professionals who no longer want to make the time to have or care for children. any layered understanding of the choices people make would be reduced to this one premise. too busy for kids.

ofcourse, you cannot question the premise that having kids is the default option!so the fact that i chose to have a kid is the 'normal', 'logical' thing to do. and if she/he chose not to, then something is wrong- they did not find a partner, they cant make babies, they are selfish, etc etc etc etc etc.

so the choices my partner and i negotiate are reduced to 'normal and logical'. all the cracks and creases are cleared out.
and they, the fact that they give more of themselves to their work than you can when you are responsible for another being, is air brushed into being self centered.

parenting seems to be the hot hot topic. parenting and affairs. i read a couple of articles EVERYDAY in the newspaper about parenting and affairs, and ofcourse how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat, and ofcourse what to feed your child and what to feed your lover.

but it does fit in, food and sex/procreation, those are the main preoccupations of the human race. so why should newspapers restrict themselves to news gathering, and analysis.

bring on the articles on evil parents, and how to go into/deal with/hide/come out of affairs. and lets reduce the no confidence vote to a betting bonanza.


dipali said...

So true!

Roma said...

I wonder then, what this "reporter" would say about us singles, who choose not to get married. We must be the most selfish of all, really enjoying life to the fullest!

karmickids said...

I agree completely, Sur, there seems to be a sudden race to tar everyone who chooses not to have kids with selfishness, everyone who chooses to have kids and pursue a career with neglect and those who choose to have a child and give up a career as paranoid helicopter parents. Its a no win situation.

parotechnics said...

well i want to add my two bits here - haven't found much of the selfish single thing in the papers - but maybe haven't been reading much about it - nor have i seen much of the paranoid parent thing. I think the flat, stereotyped, unthinking, ignorant writing that passes for journalism pretty much cuts a wide swathe from parenting to sex to depression to development so it must be very frustrating to talk to a journalist about nuance in identity or choice...

But I do think that single life is always potrayed as a transitional, not real space and one mostly connected to playtime -going out, dressing up, having many flirtations and romantic encounters - which may roughly be the single life (in different registers and economic categories) of younger single people - usually upwardly mobile younger people though.

But what I do hear often in the quotes from stay/work at home mothers, both in the press and otherwise is a subtext about their choice being the more noble one. This is not a popular thing to be saying, but I think it needs saying. Where the choice one has made is unquestionably the best one for the self and for the child and by implication those who don't make it are unfortunate or hard to understand (although it's often expressed benignly as "don't know how she does it"). There's a great erasure of class when one is speaking of motherhood - as there is also some erasure of complex feminist thinking, infrequent admission of ambivalence.

So all in all I think the discussion itself is a bit obscuring of its underpinnings and is therefore not finding its way into the mainstream discussion in a serious way.

parotechnics said...

oh and about food and sex - after all doesn't an age of consumption seek to create themost basic model of human being - consuming and living by the basic acts around consuming?

Or to post a huge comment - but not in my words, in TS Eliot's

Sweeney: I'll carry you off
To a cannibal isle.
Doris: You'll be the cannibal!
Sweeney: You'll be the missionary!
You'll be my little seven stone missionary!
I'll gobble you up. I'll be cannibal.
Doris: You'll carry me off? To a cannibal isle?
Sweeney: I'll be the cannibal.
Doris: I'll be the missinary,
I'll convert you!
Sweeney: I'll convert you!
Into a stew.
A nice little, white little, missionary stew.
Doris: You wouldn't eat me!
Sweeney: Yes, I'd eat you!
In a nice little, white little, soft little, tender little,
Juicy little, right little, missionary stew.
You see this egg
You see this egg
Well, that's life on a crocodile isle.
There's no telephones
There's no gramophones
There no motor cars
No two seaters, no six seaters,
No Citroen, no Rolls Royce.
Nothing to eat but the fruit as it grows.
Nothing to see but the palmtrees one way
And the sea the other way
Nothing to hear but the sound of the surf.
Nothing at all but three things
Doris: What things?
Sweeney: Birth, and copulation and death.
That's all, that's all, that's all, that's all,
Birth, and copulation, and death