Happy Mother’s Day. There’s no such thing as motherhood.
The Boston Globe and the President of Smith College would like to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and remind you that motherhood is a cultural invention.
Motherhood was believed to have been invented in Victorian England in 1862. From there the invention quickly spread to America, throughout the colonies and even into the animal kingdom, where many mammals swiftly adopted the human cultural invention without unpacking its patriarchal baggage.
That’s the message from the reality based community, which is so in tune with reality that it believes people can change gender by just thinking about it and that motherhood is cultural, rather than biological.
In this case the reality based community is represented by the President of Smith College who gets an editorial at the Boston Globe to argue for more parental leave while claiming that motherhood is a cultural invention and needs to be destroyed.
Motherhood is a cultural invention. It reflects a belief adopted by society that is passed down from one generation to the next. In US culture, we hold to the idea that young children are better off when cared for exclusively by their mothers. Mothers are bombarded by this message in the media, especially in programming directed to them. Only after five seasons does Claire Dunphy, the iconic mother of “Modern Family,” return to the workplace.
With award-winning research like that based on bad sitcoms, who can possibly argue with that?
Our cultural construction of motherhood is rooted in a particularly strong American bias toward personal responsibility, reflected across our social policies.
Come to Smith College… where we reject personal responsibility as a cultural invention.
Mother’s Day is a good day to double down on the work required to reconstruct our conception of motherhood. An essential step is to make the invisible visible, helping young mothers and their partners realize that social constructions of motherhood are just that — constructions. By doing that, we can build the political will necessary for change.
Apparently this is what Communist Mother’s Day looks like. Rally the proletariat! Crush the social constructions of motherhood!
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