Motherhood & Feminism


Just in time for the celebration on Sunday -- the war on Moms. Author Elisabeth Badinter says motherhood chips away at women's hard-fought feminist gains. We find out what she thinks is wrong with 21st century moms, and why many other women find her message so uninspiring.

Part Three of The Current

Friday Mail - Mosquito Device

We started this segment with a couple of comments about a story you may have heard yesterday on something called The Mosquito. It's a device that emits a high pitched noice, audible to the ears of young people. It was used at several schools in the Vancouver area to keep teenagers from congregating in their playgrounds during off hours. Silese Lebedovich is a parent at Kerrisdale Annex Elementary in Vancouver. She described the playground before the mosquito was installed. The device has been disconnected after complaints from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. We received lots of thoughts on this yesterday and shared a few listener responses.

Want to have your say? Email us from our website. Or call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366.

Motherhood & Feminism - Feminist Philosopher, Elisabeth Badinter

Mother's Day is just around the corner, and as many Canadians prepare to celebrate one of the hardest working members of their family with flowers and breakfast in bed, a new book has sparked an old debate over the impact of motherhood on feminism.

In her new book, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, the French feminist philosopher Elisabeth Badinter doesn't take long to stir the pot.

The object of this book is to defend the right of women to make their own choices and to take issue with this idea that you are a bad mother if you bottle feed your baby, if you put your kid in daycare and if you work. And what bothers me terribly is that because of this return to nature, the idea is that there is now this one unique model of motherhood which implies that everyone who doesn't fit that model should be condemned.

And it's not just peer pressure that is destroying feminism today, according to Elisabeth Badinter:

Motherhood today .... really for the past 15 years, has become crushing for women. In the sense that it monopolizes women's time - 24/hours a day. But also because there is this new set of obligations that comes from this oragnic ideology. That weighs on a mother's time. Now you not only have to breast feed 24 hours a day - you have to make your own natural baby food, there are an incredible number of obligations weighhing on the shoulder of new mothers. Which I think are dangerous for their desires and their ambitions and their freedom as women.

Motherhood & Feminism - Mom Panel

As more intensive forms of raising children gain popularity -- some moms are annoyed by Badinter's argument that babies are the "best ally of masculine domination." Helicopter moms, tiger moms and mommy bloggers all have their critics and advocates... does there really need to be a conflict over the ever-changing role of mother?

To talk about the pressures and pleasures of modern motherhood, we were joined by two women - both mothers raising school-aged children. Renee Martin is a freelance writer and blogger at Womanist Musings. She was in Niagra Falls. Cori Howard is the founder of The Momoir Project, an online writing centre that offers memoir and blog writing classes for moms and she is also the editor of the anthology, Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood. She was Vancouver.

To hear more from French philospher Elisabeth Badinter, tune in to CBC Radio One's Day 6 tomorrow for her conversation with Brent Bambury.

Last Word - Jody Miller Mom Tribute Song

We've been talking today about dueling perceptions of motherhood. But really, if you want to see how fast expectations change, just tune the Wayback Machine to the 1960's.

Jody Miller won a Grammy with this tribute to overworked, underpaid, sex-starved endurance. On today's Last Word, we played the 1965 hit, Queen of the House.

Other segments from today's show:

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