Whine me, Dine me...Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Apparently the online feminist community is all atwitter about NYU prof Katie Roiphe's article on Hanna Rosin's site Double X. Maybe it's because I'm not much of a feminist, but I enjoyed this brief piece and can't really see what the hubbub is all about.
I imagine a better metaphor would be addiction. There is an opium-den quality to maternity leave. The high of a love that obliterates everything. A need so consuming that it is threatening to everything you are and care about. Where did your day go? Did you stare blankly at the baby for hours? And was that staring blankly more fiercely pleasurable, more compelling than nearly anything you have ever done?
One of the minor dishonesties of the feminist movement has been to underestimate the passion of this time, to try for a rational, politically expedient assessment. Historically, feminists have emphasized the difficulty, the drudgery of new motherhood. They have tried to analogize childcare to the work of men; and so for a long time, women have called motherhood a "vocation." The act of caring for a baby is demanding, and arduous, of course, but it is wilder and more narcotic than any kind of work I have ever done.