Motherhood Is Not A Woman’s Most Important Job by J. Wright

Motherhood Is Not A Woman’s Most Important Job by J. Wright

(Link): Motherhood Is Not A Woman’s Most Important Job by J. Wright


…Except, for women, their mothering skills are becoming an increasingly relevant topic of discussion. In the past year, women have been told either implicitly or explicitly that traditional roles are the ones they should be most focused on fulfilling. We’re dealing with a President who has said “putting a wife to work is a dangerous thing,” because, “a softness disappeared.” He also said that “when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”

….Being a parent is a source of joy and challenge and meaning for many humans of all genders. But it’s not the most important job there is. It’s not even technically a job, insofar as it pays no money. It is more like a very demanding volunteer position that you can never, ever get out of.

And, as rewarding as that position may be, producing a younger person is not necessarily the main contribution people make to the world. People can probably not tell you how many children Harriet Tubman or Marie Curie or Elizabeth Cady Stanton had, but they can, hopefully, tell you what they did.

Society’s specific glorification of motherhood—the repeated emphasis that it is a woman’s most important job—implies that a woman’s main purpose is not to change the world. It’s not to write books or invent or be feminist abolitionists. It is just to serve as a vessel for younger women and future men. Despite the perkier language, this is a view not far removed from the GOP congressmen who said women were “hosts.”

Subtly, gently, it is a view that tells women to do less. Why would a woman bother with the business of trying to lead a government or corporation when society is continually quick to remind her that, really, she should be focusing on mothering? Because that is her most important job.

….This notion that motherhood is a woman’s most important job is a holdover from days when women couldn’t have many other jobs. And the glorification of a woman’s role as a mother has always been a breadcrumb intended to sate women who might otherwise demand to be more than mothers. From the early suffragette days, women who did not ask for rights were seen as good mothers, while women who did were (Link): seen as terrible mothers. This was a view espoused by people who would have had them be only mothers.

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