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Jul 09 2011

Spinster aunt forgets she has blog, again

I’ve just been through the comments queue and freed those of your brilliant remarks that set off the spamulator. Sorry for the delay. It’s almost as though my assistant Phil hasn’t been doing his job!

Meanwhile, about Casey Anthony: the global frenzy over her trial and acquittal says more about our culture’s obsessive sentimentalization of motherhood and its addiction to misogyny than it does about this particular little instance of adjudication. Crikey, it’s like a woman can’t even kill her kid these days without setting off a grotesque national spew codifying the precise manner in which it permissible for any mother to behave!

We can learn a thing or two about proper, Patriarchy2K-Compliant female deportment from Casey Anthony’s mistakes. If your kid goes missing, even if there’s no forensic evidence linking you to the crime, you’d better look fucking suicidal all the time. Like, never leave the house without looking like you’ve been up all night crying, and never, ever, be seen yukking it up in a bar, ever again. No partying, no selfishness, no murdering, and it’s so tacky if you sell your story afterward. Watch it, ladies, because we’ve got our eye on you.

96 comments

1 ping

  1. Laila

    Thanks so much for this! Other feminist blogs I frequent have been curiously silent, and I had an almost-argument with my roommate over whether or not it was relevant that Casey Anthony “partied.”

  2. angie

    You need more than “she’s a lying slut with a tattoo” to get a murder conviction. But, truthfully, I was surprised the jury was able to see that. I shouldn’t have expected so little of them.

  3. Comrade PhysioProf

    I was very heartened that this jury realized that a dead child and a mother who behaves “inappropriately” and lies about all kinds of shitte concerning the circumstances of the child’s death do not constitute proof beyond a reasonable doubt of murder.

  4. anne

    Was this a murder trial? Watching CNN I got the impression Anthony was charged for aggravated stone-faced-bitchness.

  5. Saurs

    I want to know what would have happened (re the verdict, the ridiculous “news” coverage) had the child been a boy. Seriously.

  6. Clarissa

    What you say about Casey Anthony would have made sense had she been convicted. She was acquitted, though, which kind of makes hard to see her as a victim of misogyny. Of course, if she were black, I doubt she’d see the light of day again. Cute, young, white rarely gets convicted in this country, though.

  7. Kea

    Clarissa, the question is, why was she ever charged in the first place?

  8. M

    So, I’ve finally given in to the urge to go to wikipedia, being as I’m in the UK, where this has not been mainstream international news, so far’s I’m aware.

    So far, I’m getting “she was raped by her father and brother for 11 years before becoming mysteriously pregnant, while still a teenager, with a child she didn’t much want to look after – which is clearly all her fault”.

  9. Saurs

    Clarissa, everything that has been said about Anthony is informed by misogyny. Here’s but one good example (NB whole thing is rape-y, including comments), about an offer extended to Anthony after the verdict by Vivid Video/Entertainment, later withdrawn.

  10. anne

    The usual apologists that pipe up with “innocent until proven guilty” etcetera whenever there’s a rape case got a little taste of their own medicine with the Anthony verdict. They’re really frothing over it too.

  11. TwissB

    @Saurs – In The Informer, Rupert Murdoch may have found the perfect substitute for the late lamented News of the World.

  12. Saurs

    Ha!

    Yeah, you know what, I’m just gonna screencap this shit for future generations to weep over. NB a category devoted to porn, the photograph with OJ Simpson and Anthony (for realz, you guyz), homeless unprotected sex (what?), the notion that a porn dude can “speak for America,” and so forth. Thas my hometown for ya!

    Folks still not getting that this is misogyny and patriarchy in motion: why is every discussion about Anthony dominated by accusations of slut-dom or expressions of keen desire to see* her raped?

    *Not only that she be raped, but that Angry Justice-Seekers can see her be raped for their wanky entertainment?

  13. ashley

    I normally agree with pretty much everything on the radfem agenda, but throughout this case I’ve disagreed with what the sisters are saying. personally I think Casey Anthony’s behavior does show that she didn’t give a shit, and I do not think people “deal with grief in different ways.”

    Yes, it is a sexist assumption that a woman who wants to party is automatically a bad mother. But it’s also a dead giveaway to get celebratory tattoos and get shitfaced with big smiles written all over your face while your kid is missing. for someone of either gender.

    personally, yes, i do think having your child go missing does merit sitting at home being semi suicidal. I’m sorry, but I’d feel that way if one of my little cousins went missing, and I’m sure it would be times ten for my own kid. I think her behavior is suspicious as fuck and I totally think she killed her daughter. the fact that we have a sexist news media and that Nancy Grace is a loony tunes witch-hunter doesn’t change that. I don’t think Casey Anthony is a cause for feminist sympathy. sorry.

  14. angie

    ashley — Do you honestly think the DA would have gone to trial, asking for the death penalty no less, with the “evidence” he had if Casey was a man? I don’t think so. Therein lies my problem with it. The fact that she *probably* did it is irrelevant. Heck, I’ll grant you that she probably did it. But the evidence against her just did not exist to warrant a Murder One charge. The reason the DA felt he could get a conviction on a Murder One charge against her (and no DA brings a charge unless he/she believes he can get a conviction) was *precisely* and *only* because she was a woman.

  15. ashley

    no, not at all. I totally agree the response to Casey is sexist. I am in complete agreement with that.

    my point is, the altogether spiteful hatred with which she has been treated sucks, but I do not think it changes the fact that she probably killed her daughter. that is a shitty thing, whether or not people react badly to her. In this case I think the thing that’s of import is her crime, not what other people did. the death penalty (which I”m against) is a separate issue. my statement was, I won’t waste my time being pissed about the way the media has treated her. she doesn’t deserve it, but she. killed. a. child. I think that’s a big deal.

  16. ashley

    and also, YES. the sexism of asking for Murder One when the evidence didn’t merit it in my opinion is THE REASON she walks free. the DA thought he could get her on the sexism rampant in society by showing that she partied, and that’s where he fucked up. so yes, I totally agree with you. she should be in jail, and because of that arrogance and sexism on the DA’s part, she’ll be out on Wednesday. I agree with you, girl. But I’m saying, SHE KILLED HER DAUGHTER. feminists have better shit to worry about. I mean, as a woman, I have standards for my behavior- I think that’s a part of feminism. Casey Anthony is an adult- whatever sexist trauma she’s endured, you can’t kill a kid. make another choice.

  17. Ugsome

    Casey who? I don’t even live here anymore, I live in France, and let me tell you we have our own misogynist clusterfuck to deal with.

    For everyone ripping their hair out over Casey, I got two letters: O. J. What goes around comes around.

  18. yttik

    I found it kind of funny in a darkly humorous way, some women, Casey obsessed groupees, said that she needed to be found guilty and punished as a deterrent to other mothers. Yeah, ss if we’d all be killing our kids, but darn, it’s illegal and I don’t want to go to jail.

    It’s an oddly revealing statement, because the patriarchy really does view biology, reproduction, through male eyes. They simply don’t understand why we don’t all eat our young. I mean for a male, creating a life is a 3 second muscle spasm. If that’s the extent of your biological investment, you won’t even comprehend what females put into it. The result is that they’re always worried we’re going to casually kill all our fetuses out of laziness or kill or neglect our kids if someone doesn’t constantly demand we take care of them. Women must be relentlessly monitored and controlled. It’s projection, it’s reproduction exclusively through male eyes. They know if they were required to do what women do, they’d casually be offing their children on a whim all the time.

    I don’t believe Casey Anthony killed her kid in this case, but I’m of such a radical mind that I think even if a woman does, it’s not her fault, it’s a societal failing. Once the investment is made, it’s incredibly difficult to break that mother-bond and requires circumstances way beyond her control, post-partum depression, incest, mental illness, starvation, war.

  19. JT

    Even if she did it, all this frenzy makes me angry. Really, how many fathers/boyfriends/etc. murder kids each and every year?? And it MIGHT make page 5 or something, unless it was particularly gruesome. But as soon as a WOMAN does it (and it’s MUCH rarer than a man doing it, whether they are his biological sprogs or not), everyone calls for her head on a pike *ahemYatesahem*.

  20. teekay

    It doesn’t matter if she didn’t demonstrate ‘appropriate’ grief, or if she was a ‘bad’ mother (whatever those two things are – who makes these decisions? Oh yeah, that’s right.) It doesn’t matter if she actually did commit the crime, the point is that the justice system is supposed to be based upon the premise of PROVING such charges beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, the prosecution failed to prove their case and the jury duly aquitted.

    Proof beyond reasonable doubt before conviction is a privelege in court traditionally only metered out to rich white guys; and that’s why this is a feminist issue – women (and indeed all people regardless of race, colour or gender) deserve the same treatment.

  21. Citizen Taqueau

    IBTP for women being forced to give birth to and raise children they hate because of being impregnated by men they hate.

  22. Cara

    But I’m saying, SHE KILLED HER DAUGHTER. feminists have better shit to worry about.

    You, ashley, have no clue whether she killed her daughter or not, and the inequities in the law (depending on whether women or men are being charged) are exactly the kind of thing feminists need to be concerned about.

    It’s not like feminism is a finite resource. It’s needed everywhere in every instance. We can pay attention to more than one thing at once, really.

  23. nicolien

    “You, ashley, have no clue whether she killed her daughter or not, and the inequities in the law (depending on whether women or men are being charged) are exactly the kind of thing feminists need to be concerned about.

    It’s not like feminism is a finite resource. It’s needed everywhere in every instance. We can pay attention to more than one thing at once, really.”

    Exactly that. Thank you, Cara.

  24. Laughingrat

    JT and others are spot on. Men murder family members all the time, and it either barely makes the news, or quickly gets pushed under the carpet or dismissed as the result of derangement, and therefore no longer subject to analysis or indicative of a large-scale social problem. For the millions of people slavishly tuning in to this case, it was not really about whether one person was guilty of murder. It was about whether this woman was a bad mother, in a society that rigorously polices women’s femininity, especially their maternal qualities.

    Since women are all forced to constantly worry about their place on the scale of Bitch to Angel, and since the shit-work of enforcing society’s BS usually falls to women as well, it is no wonder that women, especially, were following this court case religiously. They could watch this and think, “I might hit my kid, but I’m not Casey Anthony”; “I might not have wanted this baby, but at least I’m not Casey Anthony”; “I’d really like to run away to the Bahamas and never come back, but I’m not as bad as Casey Anthony.” Etc.

    It’s no wonder, too, that women’s fascination with the case is the butt of jokes on TV and radio, rather than something to be examined insightfully. What’s the mass-media for, if not setting women up for the femininity trap, then mocking them when they fall into it?

  25. IrishUp

    “…the patriarchy really does view biology, reproduction, through male eyes.”
    Right on. This explains a thing I’ve recently noticed. Het/cis couple is in the family way. Doodz invariably convey this as “$_Dude is having/just had a baby”. Yeahno, *SHE* is pregnant/ gave birth. Doodz get all whateverey when I make the correction. Aggravating shit.

    Citizen Taqueau has nailed it. Further lobe-blowing example of a forced birth (h/t to Misty @shakesville):
    http://www.newsregister.com/article?articleTitle=inmate+denied+furlough+for+abortion–1309704422–1080–

  26. Cyberwulf

    Really, how many fathers/boyfriends/etc. murder kids each and every year?? And it MIGHT make page 5 or something, unless it was particularly gruesome. But as soon as a WOMAN does it (and it’s MUCH rarer than a man doing it, whether they are his biological sprogs or not), everyone calls for her head on a pike *ahemYatesahem*.

    There was a case in Ireland a few years ago where a women was convicted of raping her own children. Because of the antiquated incest laws (dating back to 1831), the maximum sentence the judge could give her was six years. Of course there was an outcry, as there should be…except that in the same country, old men convicted of raping their children regularly get seven years or less, and nobody ever gives a fuck.

    Speaking of Andrea Yates, I saw a documentary about her a few months ago. I hadn’t known much about the case except she drowned her kids. Apparently she was hospitalised with post-partum depression and told not to have any more children. Of course, Fucksticks Husband (who didn’t help with their first four kids) went ahead and impregnated her again anyway. They interviewed him, too. Comedy fucking gold it was. “Well, you see a person and you know they’re not quite right, but they can take care of themselves and take care of the children, so…” Attempting suicide and having to be committed while in a near-catatonic state is “not quite right”. Okay playa.

  27. Astraia

    IrishUp, I thought I was the only one bothered by that. Even worse is the just plain inaccurate construction: ‘We are pregnant.’

  28. Mary

    I hated when my Nigel told people that “we” were pregnant. The fucking hell “we” were! He usually got a kick in the nuts when he said it.

  29. stacey

    I didn’t mind when people (or my Nigel) referred to “us” as being pregnant, because he did all the cooking and cleaning while I lolled around eating strawberries and growing the baby. Still does, in fact. Makes up for all the emotional crap our kid throws at me.

    Being Canadian, we (and by that I mean I) only heard about the Anthony case just last week. We – and by that I mean the Canadian media – were too busy documenting Duchess Kate’s every outfit to pay much attention. Honestly, when they said “allegedly killed her child,” I (and by that I mean me) thought, “she must have had a flipping good reason.”

    Familial sexual abuse is a good one. How can a mother feel attached to her child when she has never learned attachment herself? If she’s been treated like an object, how can she not consider her own child an object? I’m not a believer in the “instant, unbreakable” bond between mother and child. Being a mom is hard work, and kids can be total assholes – even when they’re babies and don’t know they’re being assholes. As yttik said, I can’t believe more of us don’t eat our own young.

  30. Nepenthe

    Have to admit, that, being the hairy-legged angry feminist that I am, I generally blurt out “No, you’re not. She’s pregnant.” No one ever likes that, but they always admit that it’s true.

  31. allhellsloose

    Casey did what? She went out after her child died and had some too many? She did what???? Got a tatooooooo????? Lock her up and throw away the key. Or execute her, yeah let’s execute bad mom.

    Geez she’s so guilty.

    Ashley, Casey was from the start, “innocent until proven guilty”. Heh heh. She was found not guilty to the charges of murder. Hence Casey Antony is innocent of the crime by which she was charged. OK? They couldn’t pin it on her. Big fail to the patriarchy and let’s celebrate. Believe me Ashley, if they could have pinned it on her they would. But saying that she got a tatoo and got drunk after her child died is not, repeat not, an indication of murder.

    Ashley, word of advice, stop reading ‘Eyes for Lies’.

  32. Jill

    “Hence Casey Antony is innocent of the crime”

    Well, technically I believe she was found not guilty on accounta reasonable doubt.

    “We’re pregnant” is to the spinster aunt just as horrible, albeit in a different sort of way, as “we’re lovers” or, in still another different sort of way, “we’re out of margaritas.” In all cases: NOOOOOOO! It burns!

  33. virago

    “Even if she did it, all this frenzy makes me angry. Really, how many fathers/boyfriends/etc. murder kids each and every year?? And it MIGHT make page 5 or something, unless it was particularly gruesome.”

    This is exactly how I feel. Case in point. Thomas Jefferson Meece was found not guilty for killing his 14 month old daughter in Dec., 2009. How many people even know about that? How come there was no global frenzy or mass media scrutiny of his verdict? People only give a shit when it’s the mother.

  34. angie

    allhellsloose — “Not Guilty” is not the same as “Innocent.” I, personally, don’t care if Casey Anthony is innocent or not (not, btw, that I think killing anybody is ok).

    My problem, as I said earlier in the thread, is you need more to get a murder conviction than “she’s a lying slut with a tattoo.” (Although it *is* enough, apparently, for the morons on Twitter & Facebook).

    If Casey Anthony had been a man, no way would the DA have brought Murder 1 charges against him. The DA only felt he would be able to convict Casey Anthony of Murder 1 by showing what a horrible mother & all around “slut” she was. That about as sexist as you can get, IMO, & I’m glad it backfired in the DA’s face.

  35. Ginjoint

    Has anyone seen today’s PostSecret? There’s a postcard with a picture of Casey Anthony surrounded by flames (!) that says, “I’ve always felt unsure whether or not there is a God. But I really want to believe right now. I need to know that this woman will PAY.” I knew there was a reason I liked that site less and less.

    I’m of two minds on this. The coverage of this case was revoltingly (and typically) sexist, but I also think that if your kid’s missing, you should be trying to find her. But then I think, well, this family is apparently FUBAR, so maybe that’s where Casey’s behavior comes from, as Stacey alluded to. Or, in a nutshell: I don’t know what the fuck to think about this, as there’s no way to know what truly happened. Hence, I’m shutting up.

  36. nails

    As if there are people out there who wouldn’t be glad if *someone else* murdered their loved one. That is totally within a reasonable doubt for me, some personality disorders cause people to not really care about others. It is completely within the realm of possibility. I was pissed when Scott Peterson got convicted on the same flimsy non-evidence (lack of bereavement). These abnormal sociopaths are all over the place, and they don’t necessarily care enough to kill people who annoy them.

  37. SamanthaB

    The response I got as as a 10- or 11-year-old child after asking my mother in all sincerity, “Why do people think it’s so much worse when a kid dies instead of an adult?” was as if I’d landed here from another planet. I’m still not sure of the answer. She probably didn’t know herself.

  38. nails

    I have been reading a lot of material from women who grew up with mentally ill mothers, ones with personality disorders who won’t ever really change. Many of them have talked about how they are really turned off to feminism because some feminists don’t hear or believe what women did to them, excuse it away. Many of the women with cruel mothers see a lot of their own moms in Casey. The only thing we can be sure of is that the state did a terrible job of trying to prove their case. There is a certain level of sexism involved in thinking that mothers simply don’t do this kind of thing, it is what keeps children in homes with abusive mothers.

    I do think it is dishonest to focus on her drinking and partying and not on the fact that she didn’t report her daughter missing for a month. It was a crappy thing to do and does show a certain level of indifference to the life of another human being. If nothing else that makes her a pretty crappy person in my book. It reminds me of the old palin wars at IBTP- it is completely possible to see the misogyny in news coverage of a woman and also condemn the same woman’s actions for being abhorrent.

    “I don’t believe Casey Anthony killed her kid in this case, but I’m of such a radical mind that I think even if a woman does, it’s not her fault, it’s a societal failing. Once the investment is made, it’s incredibly difficult to break that mother-bond and requires circumstances way beyond her control, post-partum depression, incest, mental illness, starvation, war.”

    Mental illness isn’t necessarily society’s fault, and people with mental illnesses do not all kill people. Whose fault is it when a woman like Theresa Cross tortures her kids and kills one of them? She shot one of her daughters and survived. Years later when she tried to leave her mom told her that she could if the bullet was removed first. She was worried about being caught and calculatedly decided to do some home surgery to keep anyone from catching her. She made her other kids do the surgery. The infection that resulted from using an exacto knife to extract the bullet killed that daughter. She had the rest of her children get rid of the body and cover for her. Whose fault is it? Her children, who are still alive, might beg to differ about the guiltlessness of their mom, considering her grip on reality was good enough to know how to conceal evidence and manipulate everyone involved.

  39. Kristine

    Having used my fantastical Wikipedia skills to analyze the data on the Casey Anthony trial, I have come to the stunning conclusion that everything about it sucks shit through hefty bags. The evidence has been so thoroughly manipulated by public expectations and controversy that I cannot decide for myself whether or not she did it, and quite frankly, I don’t want to. The whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing was created based on the idea that it is worse to have innocent people in jail than to have criminals roaming the streets. And being an innocent person, I agree wholeheartedly. However, it would not make any difference at all for women if it was “guilty until proven innocent.” The patriarchy would still use it to publicly humiliate and shame women in rape (and other) trials.

    I can’t help but shake the feeling that Casey’s daughter, Caylee, is being horribly dehumanized by the same media who supposedly care so much about her death. Maybe its because the patriarchy doesn’t see children as human beings in the first place, but it would be much clearer to me if I could find an instance of her dehumanization. Does anyone else have any ideas about this?

  40. Moonlight

    I managed to ignore this trial almost completely (not having cable TV helps) and thus was truly surprised not just at the verdict but by all the anguish that followed it. “Burn her! Burn her!”

  41. Treefinger

    @Samantha B

    It’s because the kid “never got to experience” the joys (?) of life, whereas adults supposedly have.

    Also, for a reason that makes more sense to me: kids are (generally) powerless socially and rather innocent/naive, and so if they are murdered as opposed to just dying of cancer or something, it’s extra horrible and creepy because the murderer exploited the power differential and abused the child to death. The same reason hate crimes are more insidious than random shootings.

  42. tinfoil hattie

    Men murder family members all the time, and it either barely makes the news, or quickly gets pushed under the carpet or dismissed as the result of derangement, and therefore no longer subject to analysis or indicative of a large-scale social problem.

    You forgot, Or given sympathy because “he was in such a touch financial spot, poor fella; he was despondent over losing his job. Tsk tsk, this mancession is just so hard on the dudes.”

  43. humanbein

    When I start to speculate on all the different ways that child could have died, my head hurts. Saying that woman was guilty is just too easy. When I think of all the sick reasons she might have had not to report the kid missing, my head hurts.

    I’m not going to buy any narrative constructed by that prosecution team when they were so obviously having more fun conducting a slut-shaming carnival ride than actually doing any real investigating.

  44. Paula

    @SamanthaB

    I think it is more horrible when a child dies because that child hasn’t really had a chance to live their life. They also haven’t had much of a chance to screw things up for others.

  45. Arugala A. Alagura

    The lack of comparison to the Lindy Chamberlain case is more surprising than diarrhea! Join me in the Way Back Machine for a moment. Okay. To your right, you will see Uluru, more colonially known as Ayers Rock. Hard to miss; it is, like, the biggest damn rock in the whole damn world. Also it’s 1980. On your left, note 9-month-old Azaria Chamberlain being dragged out of a camping tent and eaten by a dingo.

    Oops. No. I meant “having her throat ritually slashed by a cold, evil witch.” Fast forward eight years and one matinée jacket, and it’s the dingo again–but only after Lindy Chamberlain has endured two years of media harrassment and six years of hard labor toward her life sentence (but I’m sure her labor of childbirth in prison was real fun and easy).

    Since the media’s romp never ends, here’s some quotes from an article regarding a new opera on the topic:

    “From this place emerged a woman who did not behave as a “stereotypical” grieving mother was expected to, says Glenda Cloughley, a Canberra-based Jungian analyst.

    “Her reaction after the loss of her baby filled journalists covering the case with this kind of doubt about her emotional attachment to the child,” she says.

    [...]

    But when the witch-hunt ends no psychic lesson is learned and another scapegoat is sought. “When someone like Lindy finally proves her innocence, the psychology just seeks another person to hang that thing on,” she says.”

    I’m sure we weren’t short any examples of systemic misogyny (is there really any other kind?), and maybe Lindy didn’t get a tattoo (!) or get crunk (!!!), but it’s an interesting example of a woman who was TOO patriarchy-compliant to possibly be innocent–a white, sober, middle-class stay-at-home minister’s wife. Didn’t smile enough; didn’t cry enough. Didn’t get pregnant again; did get pregnant again! And let’s not even start on her new hair-do: those are the bangs of a liar if I’ve ever seen ‘em.

    There’s even a Meryl Streep movie, called Evil Angels to the Aussies, A Cry in the Dark to the USies, and A Dingo Ate My Baby to those of us in the know. It’s not patriarchy-free, but that’s why I usually catch my flicks on Mars.

  46. tinfoil hattie

    “she must have had a flipping good reason.”

    Christmas trees, Nepenthe. There’s NO good reason to kill your child. And babies are not assholes. Neither are children.

    PATRIARCHY is full of assholes. And PATRIARCHY is to blame for women killing their children.

  47. speedbudget

    What if the child drowned in the pool while Anthony was doing something else, not paying attention? What if she came out back and found the body in the pool and panicked? What if she just quick put the child in the car while she tried to figure out what to do?

    The juror I saw talking after the trial was saying how this woman lied about anything and everything and her whole family was fucked up. He was saying that her whole vision of reality is skewed, and the jury understood that and understood that her lies meant nothing to her because her whole life was full of lies.

    I can imagine being in a situation like the above and then pile a nice layer of incest and anti-police bullshit on top of that (because I’m pretty sure if my family members were raping me constantly, they would probably not want me talking to the police, and would probably spend a lot of time convincing me that the police are my enemy) and having a situation where the shit just gets out of hand too fast for me to comprehend and suddenly it’s been a month and where is the kid.

  48. alamo

    “it would be much clearer to me if I could find an instance of her dehumanization. Does anyone else have any ideas about this?”

    Read the comments in this thread and you’ll find several examples. Other than this, no I can’t think of any other place where people say “Even if she killed her it’s not her fault, she probably had a good reason for doing it, the baby was probably an asshole, and why do people make such a big deal about babies anyway?”

  49. Ottawa Gardener

    Clearly, her behaviour after her daughter died cannot prove whether or not she was guilty. Afterall, maybe she didn’t care much about her child. This does not make her a murderer but it is sad for various reasons. My issue is that it is weird that she was unaware, or more likely, intentionally ignored her basic duty to report the death. Maybe she was frightened that she would be convicted of murder/neglect. Maybe she really just didn’t get it. Maybe, and I think this is a strong possibility, she objectified her child so when it was broken, she just threw it away. Children, like women, lack power. It could be argued that women have a natural alignment with them NOT because we have a instant maternal bond but because they suffer from some of same injustices. Of course the arguement for biological differences – they’re small and not very experienced, often can’t speak in full, coherent sentences and shouldn’t be trusted with heavy machinery – is more tenable in their case.

    I did not know about this case either (another Canadian) until I read about it on this forum. And of course, I cannot support the statement that because a human life is annoying, it can be discarded. Children are just as worthy of basic rights and respect as women.

  50. Jill

    You will seldom find a less sentimental old crone on this or any other Internet, but even I cringe at the statement “babies are assholes.” Babies have no agency whatsover, and therefore cannot express malice.

    Baby lives are not intrinsically worth more than adult lives, but it is understandable when people get more maudlin about it when they die. Babies are hapless, helpless pawns in the patriarchal machine; no human with even a partially developed ethical lobe could turn a blind eye to the pathos inherent in baby death.

  51. speedbudget

    To address the point of male homicide of babies and small children, I will note that all the cases I know about in my area (mid Atlantic region) involve men actually beating the children to death or shaking them to death. In other words, the children died with injuries consistent with a fresh beating. There is no better evidence that a homicide occurred than that.

    In Anthony’s case, nobody knows how this child died. She could have drowned accidentally or been drowned purposefully. She could have been strangled. She could have been smothered. She could have choked on a piece of chicken. Nobody knows how the girl died, and yet Casey Anthony gets vilified and held up in the media as this evil woman, while the men mentioned earlier are given the “tsk tsk” treatment and everybody asks why the mothers left those guys with the baby in the first place.

  52. Jill

    @nails: I had never heard of this Theresa Cross. I just read a sensationalized account on a true crime site. Whao-baby, that’s some majorly fucked up sinister-ass shit.

  53. yttik

    Theresa Cross committed horrendous atrocities, but yes in the giant scheme of things, the patriarchy was to blame. As a kid her own mother died, she went into a terrible depression and so to be helpful, some guy pronged her, impregnating her at 16. She married him, gave birth and then shot him, allegedly in self defense according to the jury. Not to worry, another helpful dude immediately pronged her again. So why blame the patriarchy? Because the woman had major mental health issues, evidenced by her childhood depression, the abuse she suffered in her marriage, the belief that her children were possessed by Satan. This was not a mentally healthy woman, but that didn’t stop dudes from impregnating her six more times.

    If a man had done the things this woman had done, we would have blamed it on the bad economy, the way he was raised, his drinking, his difficulties with woman, any dozens of stressors that don’t even begin to compare to what this particular psycho mother was dealing with. In the patriarchy it is perfectly acceptable to prong and impregnate mentally unstable women and than to totally blame them when they are atrocious failures at motherhood. Mothers are expected to be superhuman, to have eyes in the back of their head, to magically attain perfect mental health and the grace of the Mother Mary, not matter what their circumstances are.

    Recognizing cause and effect is not the same thing as excusing their atrocities or labeling them an innocent victim, but completely failing to recognize the cause and effect that is behind mothers who harm their children is misogynistic and irrational. Believe it or not, women are not simply evil for evil’s sake.

  54. laxsoppa

    Ottawa Gardener: “It could be argued that women have a natural alignment with them NOT because we have a instant maternal bond but because they suffer from some of same injustices. Of course the arguement for biological differences – they’re small and not very experienced, often can’t speak in full, coherent sentences and shouldn’t be trusted with heavy machinery – is more tenable in their case.”

    Yeah, that’s where dehumanization starts for all of us, and that’s exactly why that argument has got to go. I don’t care how “tenable” it is from an indivual psychophysical development viewpoint – it’s just a reiteration of the age-old “women are physically weaker and therefore submissive” mantra.

    This thread and that tedious discussion thread on Feministe about spanking children made me realize that a majority of people, some of them even feminists, do not think of children as full humans, and therefore unwittingly enable their own oppression as well. “Not human” makes physical discipline and crossing one’s personal boundaries justified. It is the exact same thing that keeps us women under constant threat of being beaten, raped, harassed or murdered by our loved ones, while said loved ones can’t even begin to think why it would not be okay to not listen when their girlfriend says no.

    Within patriarchy, physical inviolability is not a right – it’s a privilege. Children, especially children of lower classes, learn that pretty early on if the statistics provided in the Feministe article are correct: they have to *earn* humane treatment, be good and grow the fuck up already to escape the threat of physical or emotional abuse.

    If they’re boys, they may well succeed unless they’re black or have an accent. If they’re girls, tough shit – they’ll never be eligible for that particular privilege. We can try and jump through all of the hoops in front of us, to be good girls and responsible adults to earn at least some respect and that precious privilege of physical inviolability, but at the end of the day, if the fancy takes them, any dude or dudes with sufficient privilege within the kyriarchy can take that away with little or no consequence to themselves. I hope no-one will ask for examples of THIS happening every fucking minute, and the programming that enables this to happen at all starts right from our childhood when we’re alternately threatened with spankings or isolation or what have you, or put on a pedestal as sweet little angels like Caylee.

    In this scenario, mothers get screwed over pretty badly, which Laughingrat dissects pretty well in an earlier comment. They get given the choice between saintly self-sacrifice or being deemed an evil selfish bitch without a shred of motherly love or respect for their sacred duty of preserving and supporting the lives of their dudes’ genetic property.

    Feminists have better things to worry about my arse.

  55. Frumious B.

    Societally speaking, the love fest we show to kids who die isn’t worth a hill of beans. Kids are even less empowered than women, have even fewer rights, and no agency at all. We stuff them into institutions to get them out of the way during the day and to indoctrinate them into the society that doesn’t really like them that much. If we, societally speaking, valued kids so damn much, their lives would be a lot different. There’s some ideal of kid-ness that we pay lip service to and mourn at funerals, but it’s in no way related to the reality of kid-ness. Kind of like mother-ness. Mom-hood is so sacred and all that we totally have enough maternity leave for everyone, institutional support for breastfeeding for those who want to do so, and respect for the agency of the mother. Oh, but we don’t. And so goes the sacred kid-ness, too.

    None of that changes the age-dependent value to society of an individual. Fetuses are the most valuable, the elderly are the least. Special mention for children who die vs. adults who die is just a less extreme version of the horror at fetus death vs the non-event of the death of an elderly person. It’s all illusions, though. Society doesn’t really care about fetuses or children. We just like to pretend we do.

  56. stacey

    OKAY BABIES AREN’T ASSHOLES. I was being flip and glib. Please let me explain, so that y’all don’t think I’m a complete monster-mom:

    It can be easy, extremely easy, to feel that my child is out to get me. When he dances on that one last nerve, when he immediately turns around and does something I tell him not to do, and when he pushes all my buttons, I really have to remind myself that he’s a child, and this is normal behaviour for a child, and that this is what children do – test their parents to find their limits. I’m very lucky to be able to recognise this, to read the behaviours, and to defuse the situation before it gets out of control.

    I think this takes a huge amount of patience, understanding, and self-control. Think of your annoying co-worker, your awful neighbours, etc… it’s a wonder we don’t smack at least three people a day.

    This testing-of-limits can be very difficult to understand for someone who is emotionally stunted or has otherwise been alienated from nurturing relationships. The baby that cries all night becomes the “baby that hates me.” From there, the baby gets dehumanised or objectified further and further until whatever tragedy occurs.

    So that’s what I meant… not that babies ARE assholes, but that babies (and children) can be PERCIEVED as acting like assholes by those too emotionally immature or unequipped to deal with it. And those persons are likely to find justifications for their abuse of those children.

  57. Ottawa Gardener

    @laxsoppa: My argument was precisely that rather than the opposite and I was drawing the parallel on purpose but I was also explaining that I wasn’t expecting the same level of competance from children as it is a sliding scale of strength (really, I have a score of children and 2 year olds just can’t carry grocery bags), experience and critical reasoning skills. I had hoped to convey that “that is where dehumanize begins” rather than saying children weren’t fully human. In fact, I homeschool my kids (there are some serious issues here in regards to patriarchy but I digress) in part to allow them to be more fully part of the world as full human beings.

    Sometimes the truth is messy and difficult but to discard the argument that children should be treated somewhat differently than a full adult, whether male or female, is also problematic precisely because a baby requires help going to the bathroom. An eight year old is again a different entity. You may choose not to focus on this aspect because of a fear that you would be dehumanizing their potential but I am not sure how helpful this is.

    My children a strong desire to include themselves in making real change, doing real things not just play. So do many women. So do many poor people. So do many, many other disenfranchized people. Anyhow, I do not dehumanize my babies by breastfeeding and carrying them but I do have to do it because they are physically different.

  58. Ottawa Gardener

    Just to add to the last comment, my final paragraph was meant that I think everyone should be allowed to be full members of society.

  59. tinfoil hattie

    Okay, Stacey, I do hear you. And your experience, multiplied a jillion times by the other mothers (including me) who have had the SAME DAMN EXPERIENCE, is just another illustration of what’s really wrong with the way we raise children. We raise them in isolation, with one or two people (mostly one person, the mother) trying to meet all the demands and needs of an entirely dependent little human being. IT SUCKS. Having a newborn at home and being expected to meet all the needs of that baby is INHUMANE. It is horrifying. But that’s how we do it, and then we add more children to the mix, and the mother is supposed to do it ALL, and if she doesn’t, SHE SUCKS AS A HUMAN BEING and she’s a slut and a bitch and a cunt besides.

    IBT – well, you can fill it in.

  60. yttik

    “..we have a instant maternal bond”

    Just for the record, there’s nothing “instant” about it. It takes many months, even years of menstrual cramps, a hopefully consensual pronging event, nine months of having something growing within your body, followed by the pain and trauma of 12-36 hours of labor, followed by weeks of healing and milk production. There’s nothing “instant” about a maternal bond, it represents years of biological investment and a rather complex hormonal response to a long term major physical disruption.

    Yes indeed, babies can be assholes. It’s not logical or cost effective to relentlessly care for them and yet mothers do it all the time, because of that biological maternal bond.

    The patriarchy doesn’t get this. A female’s role is viewed as nothing more than a male’s a role, a 3 second muscle spasm. Because people don’t understand the investment women make in producing children, it becomes very easy to simply label women as evil or selfish, as if all that stands between a child surviving or not is the good graces of a woman, and whether or not women actually have any good graces is constantly the subject of debate.

  61. laxsoppa

    @Ottawa Gardener: Thanks for the clarification, it seems that we’re making the same point from entirely different sides.

    “Sometimes the truth is messy and difficult but to discard the argument that children should be treated somewhat differently than a full adult, whether male or female, is also problematic precisely because a baby requires help going to the bathroom. An eight year old is again a different entity. You may choose not to focus on this aspect because of a fear that you would be dehumanizing their potential but I am not sure how helpful this is. ”

    I am not oblivious to the fact that children have very different cognitive and physical capabilities compared to adults, nor do I believe that these differences shouldn’t be accounted for in everyday life. Same with old people – in my country they get their driver’s licences taken away at a certain age unless they pass some additional physical exams, and nobody seems to think it’s somehow bad or dehumanizing. It’s just the reality of people’s perceptive skills and reaction time getting slower and rustier with age. (As a sidenote, there was a short news story in my country a while back about someone wanting to raise the age limit for getting driver’s licence to 20 for men on the grounds of their testosterone-induced recklessness. This is an initiative I will support, but I digress.)

    Anyway, in my comment I was solely focusing on how children’s non-adultness is routinely used as an excuse for *real* dehumanization and oppression, like spanking and other arbitrary punishments. This in turn paves the way for continued oppression, dehumanization and regulation for adult women, disabled people, wrong-coloured people and so on, again on the grounds of conceiveable physical and rumoured cognitive differences, however superficial and irrelevant they might be to the person’s actual capacity for being a contributing member of society.

    I never questioned the fact that children do in fact have a limited or at least significantly different capacity for being members of society as we know it, I merely pointed out that that fact is often abused and stretched up to great lengths to justify violating a child’s personal boundaries (re: the spanking thread, children being not fully human) and/or sense of safety. From these real differences the P doesn’t have to go that far to come up with and add into the programming an array of physical features unique to women that somehow limit an adult woman’s capacity for running her own goddamn life. One the rhetoric has been established in early childhood, it’s all about creating a suitable narrative for applying it to situations dealing with capable adults.

    The remark about you not dehumanizing your child by breastfeeding was just weird. I thought it was usually the breastfeeding *mother* who gets dehumanized or at least a fair share of dirty looks in P-powered society.

  62. tinfoil hattie

    Please stop saying babies are “assholes.” Children are an oppressed class. Babies are helpless and dependent. That is not being an “asshole.” It makes me cringe, because it sounds freaking abusive.

  63. Valerian

    The guy trying to pick you up at the grocery store when you’re just trying to buy some fucking dinner is an asshole. The 1 year old bawling in a pub at midnight is not- but their parent is.

    You can’t be an asshole without the reasonable expectation that you shouldn’t be behaving this way.

  64. yttik

    You can’t even acknowledge the realities of motherhood without offending people. Babies are unconditionally angelic and being a mother is a saintly privilege that only an innately evil woman would fail to embrace. That’s all BS. We devalue and dismiss the incredible amount of work and sacrifice, and the biological investment women make, when we insist on such myths. Babies are supposed to be these perfect human beings that women better feel grateful they’re allowed to have anything to do with.

    Can the people who made the huge biological investment, sacrificed their bodies, cared for the babies 24/7, went without sleep, gave everything they had financially, cleaned up puke, pee, poo, and peanut butter, sacrificed their entire identity, admit that babies and children can be real assholes? Hell no, you’re being abusive to an oppressed group, in fact, you’re the one who oppressed them, you dehumanizing evil bitch! Watch your privilege, woman! You better be damn grateful we even allowed you to do 18 yrs of hard labor for free.

    Bah.

  65. Milly

    Well I don’t know about babies being ” assholes” but I used to joke after having my first, that it was like living with an insane dictator,(that you adore), that kept you hopping 24/7. As toddlerhood hit it felt more like living with a dictator, after that you’re left with the mess of Democracy, though it’s not always clear who’s the leader and who’s the ” people”.

  66. laxsoppa

    yttik, how exactly does one do ANYTHING to acknowledge the hard labour and investment mothers put in with their children by calling those children “assholes”?

    I’m not saying venting doesn’t usually alleviate any stressful situation which caring for a child or several undoubtedly is, but how exactly are you hoping to get the mothers’ input appreciated in society or even this thread by degrading the children, even if it is just by calling them names among your girlfriends? Because last time I checked, calling people names IS degrading and abusive behaviour, regardless of who gets name-called.

  67. yttik

    laxsoppa, I said above, “Because people don’t understand the investment women make in producing children, it becomes very easy to simply label women as evil or selfish, as if all that stands between a child surviving or not is the good graces of a woman, and whether or not women actually have any good graces is constantly the subject of debate.”

    I’m not hoping to get a mother’s input appreciated by society, that’s a lost cause. I’m trying to convince other women not to view motherhood exclusively through patriarchal eyes so they aren’t so quick to rush to judgement and accuse a woman of simply being evil. That maternal bond is not broken easily, so when a woman places an infant in a trash can, it is because of outside circumstances that are so horrific they have destroyed the natural order of things and broken that maternal bond.

    Babies are not angelic, oppressed, innocent beings that women care for just because they’re cute and vulnerable. Babies are a real pain in the ass, but in spite of this, the majority of mothers sacrifice everything because they have invested more in them than a 3 second muscle spasm.

  68. Milly

    I get where you’re coming from laxsoppa. Hope I wasn’t contributing to any sense of degrading infants or children. It’s hard sometimes to get at the reality of being a parent, without sounding like an asshole yourself. Anyway, I’d just like to second tinfoil hattie’s comment that expecting one or two people to care for an infant is inhumane. Human babies need at least 6 parents/ alloparents/ caregivers to fully meet all their needs and to provide the adults caring for them the dignity of meal breaks, toilet breaks, sick days, rest times, SLEEP and holidays. Basically all the conditions the (male) worker has fought for over the previous century and a half.

  69. Nolabelfits

    Milly-you hit the nail on the head. Mothers get zero breaks, zero sick time, zero vacation, zero health benefits, unless afforded them by males who might be willing to pitch in on behalf of their own offspring. Also zero social security contribution benefits, despite raising the next generation of doctors, lawyers, policemen and women, teachers, nurses, road construction workers and what have you. If its such an important role in society, why aren’t we paid for it?

  70. tinfoil hattie

    yttik, there’s not a mother among us who believes that babies are perfect angels. To whom do you believe you are directing your comments? The idiots who write tv ads? For crying out loud, we KNOW how much the daily rigors of motherhood can suck!

    THAT DOES NOT MAKE BABIES ASSHOLES. Calling children and babies “assholes” is abusive. Period. And yeah, children are an oppressed class. Feminism 401, maybe, but look where you’re blaming! We get it.

  71. laxsoppa

    yttik – My mother raised four children without much support from any of our fathers, and the reality of motherhood’s sacrifices were on the table every day. Not having experienced that from the side of the mother does NOT mean I cannot see the struggle for what it is. I never questioned motherhood being hard work and and a huge investment that is both glorified and undervalued in a patriarchal society.

    I already took issue with placing women in the impossible situation of either conforming to the perfect martyr mother stereotype or being labeled as evil, selfish bitches. This polarized and unrealistic image of motherhood combined with the nuclear family is inextricably linked to the ongoing oppression of both mothers and children, and the breeding ground for the further oppression of women.

    But at the end of the day, degrading an even more disenfranchised group than yours in order to draw attention to your own oppression does nothing to fight the oppression itself.

    Milly and tinfoil hattie have it right – it takes a village. The patriarchy has gone to great lengths to destroy that village and existing networks for mothers and parents, and to keep new ones from being formed. That’s the real problem, not children being “pains in the ass”.

  72. tinfoil hattie

    If its such an important role in society, why aren’t we paid for it?

    And why aren’t men clamoring to take this great important job?

  73. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Here in Cleveland, Anthony Sowell is on trial. Despite the fact that he’s being tried for the murders of 13 women, the national news isn’t paying much attention. It was impossible not to be inundated with the Casey Anthony trial. Why? Casey Anthony and her daughter are pretty young white girls. Sowell and his alleged victims are not. Wanna guess who/what I blame?

  74. yttik

    I’m not sure if the coverage has to do with Casey Anthony being a white girl. It really seems to have more to do with gender than anything else. “Bad women” get some major press. Sadly there were dozens of women and children killed by men during the Anthony trial, but few of them got any news coverage at all.

    At the moment the media is pretty fixated on the woman who cut off her husband’s penis and put it in the garbage disposal. Women stepping out of line makes for big news. Men killing women and children, just business as usual.

  75. Cyberwulf

    yttik – why are you assuming there’s always a maternal bond? Women still get abortions. Women still end up giving birth to babies they don’t want. I don’t deny that most mothers – hell, even involved fathers – feel a primal attachment and love for their young. But insisting on maternal bonds as the natural order of things further feeds the myth that all women want babies, therefore only callous, murdering bitches would want abortions, or therefore parenting comes naturally so who cares if Mom has post-partum depression, MATERNAL BOND will ensure she doesn’t drown her kids in the tub, OMG SHE DID DROWN THEM SHE’S EVIL.

  76. anne

    Not to get all TMI and me-me-me, but my mother didn’t bond with me for shit, which has always indicated to me that mothers bond with their babies and children when they’re inclined to work at forging that bond. It doesn’t just happen.
    Meanwhile, you can spit at a google news search and hit a dead kid who’d been tortured for months or years by some dude and the cable news media could give a hoot.
    yttik – Likewise, for every one breathless shocker news story about some woman who Krazy Glued some dude’s penis to his abdomen, there’s about a million rapes regarded as a matter of course.

  77. buttercup

    Currently reading Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin” and there is a quote I had to bring back here.

    “What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves – our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies. Now that I’ve been one myself, I know.”

  78. yttik

    Good Atwood quote, Buttercup.

    Why am I insisting that there are maternal bonds? Because it’s a part of basic biology and so much harm is done to women by denying it and perceiving that a female’s contribution is exactly the same as a male’s, that things are completely equal or even that a male’s investment is greater. Reproduction is totally viewed through male eyes. That is why people are so concerned that women will callously have abortions or kill their children or why men think they should have complete control over a woman’s reproduction. People think that women only care for their children because somebody else has told them to, that we don’t want to go to jail, that society and men police us constantly. We’re viewed as basically evil and must be threatened, intimidated, forced into bringing children into the world and caring for them.

    Having access to safe abortion is a good thing, but it also hides a couple of realities. One, somebody had no respect for a woman’s body and did not care or consider the impact of pregnancy on her body, and two, conditions in the culture, in the woman’s individual circumstances, make it impossible for that woman to consider bringing a child into the world. Abortions are damage control, they are harm reduction, they are not evidence that maternal bonds happen on a whim, based on nothing but the goodness or evilness of a particular woman.

    If you believe maternal bonds are a part of basic biology, Casey Anthony’s behavior after her child was missing makes a lot more sense. That is the behavior of denial, of a psyche that had to split, of somebody attempting to disconnect from reality and numb out. In fact, her behavior is the behavior of somebody so damaged by what she knew but refused to process, it’s unlikely she was responsible for the child’s death herself. Somebody callous, not traumatized by the sudden loss of a maternal bond, would not have behaved that way. She wasn’t celebrating her freedom, she was trying to escape reality. If she was simply “not maternal”, then she wouldn’t have gone off the deep end like that because she wouldn’t have had any emotional attachment to begin with.

  79. stacey

    Not to change the subject or anything, but I’ve always, *always* misread that title as “The Blind Assmaster.”

  80. Jill

    Atwood’s a pretty good writer, for a girl.

  81. alamo

    “her behavior is the behavior of somebody so damaged by what she knew but refused to process”

    Or she could just be a sociopath. I have known both male and female sociopaths, and once you have met a couple of them they are easy to spot.

  82. yttik

    “Or she could just be a sociopath”

    Right, but that would completely disregard the female view of reproduction which is nine months of pregnancy, the trauma of labor, the hormonal impact, nursing, lack of sleep, caring for a dependent infant for nearly three years. After all that emotional attachment, she suddenly became a sociopath out of the blue?

    That’s what I mean about viewing reproduction exclusively through male eyes. It is not an equal process, men have to willingly bond with their children from the outside. Some do, but many skip out on their children without a second thought and have to be hunted down and forced into even paying child support. Casey Anthony is not a male simply skipping out on her parental responsibilities. The whole concept of women not being attached to their children unless the system forces them to be, and threatens them with punishment if they fail, is a male view. That is how many men view the whole process. That is what they do. Many of them anyway.

  83. buttercup

    Atwood blames with a great deal of skill and subtlety, doesn’t she?

    Despite myself, I did some mild article-reading about this case and my heart breaks, for the baby and for the child who was her mother. I’ve very little doubt her life was a living hell for as much of it as she could remember. And now, all she will get is hatred and derision, everywhere she goes.

  84. Jezebella

    yttik, this: “Having access to safe abortion is a good thing, but it also hides a couple of realities. One, somebody had no respect for a woman’s body and did not care or consider the impact of pregnancy on her body, and two, conditions in the culture, in the woman’s individual circumstances, make it impossible for that woman to consider bringing a child into the world.”

    I have to disagree. These may be realities for SOME women who seek abortions, but by no means all women who seek them. Last I heard about half of abortions in the US were pregnancies that resulted from the failure of birth control. Are you suggesting that any woman who has consensual PIV sex, even with contraception, is a victim of…. what? disrespect? Really?

    Further, not everybody who chooses abortion is doing so because she simply cannot afford another baby. Medically necessary abortions come to mind, for example.

    You’re really missing the big picture with that assertion.

  85. yttik

    “Are you suggesting that any woman who has consensual PIV sex, even with contraception, is a victim of…. what? disrespect? Really?”

    Darn right I am. If inserting my penis into somebody’s vagina had the potential impact of causing something as minor as a root canal, I’d make sure I was a whole lot more careful on account of her biological vulnerability and the potential harm I could cause. In fact, if men could get pregnant, causing one an unwanted pregnancy would probably be viewed as criminal negligence.

    The majority of men don’t even begin to comprehend the health risk, indeed, even the potential death to a woman, that creating a pregnancy can cause. If they did, there wouldn’t be so many “accidents” so many “failures” of birth control. They wouldn’t even engage in PIV sex unless they were darn sure they wouldn’t be causing their partner potential harm. As it stands now, some simply don’t care, some simply don’t understand, and tiny handful have taken responsibility to ensure they never cause this kind of harm.

  86. Fictional Queen

    Or because they don’t WANT a damn baby!

  87. Cyberwulf

    yttik, no-one’s insisted that there’s no maternal bonding, ever. It exists, and I acknowledged as much in my last post. But it’s a big mistake to insist on it as something natural that always happens – it’s the other extreme of viewing reproduction through male eyes. The reason mothers who kill are vilified so much more is because we expect every woman to bond with her baby, and so for a woman to murder her own children becomes so unnatural and horrible that we react more strongly than we would when a father kills his own children.

    Some women don’t feel anything for their embryos/foetii/babies. Some women don’t feel anything right away and worry that they’re horrible mothers. Sometimes it prevents them seeking help because they don’t feel this connection that everyone tells them they’re supposed to feel.

  88. Jezebella

    Ah! Yes! THAT!

  89. Milly

    Yttik. Yes, how is it that men can do that? Really. Is that where it all begins? PIV puts women’s bodies on the line. To be comfortable doing that, you’d have to disassociate somewhat with the person whose life you were risking, at the very least. Even in cases where pregnancy is desired by both the woman and the man, or either of them are ambivalent. How do they knowingly impregnate another person in good conscience, without being more than a little bit concerned about the consequences. Is that love? What about the women, who’ve had really traumatic experiences of pregnancy and birth. It’s one thing to ignore those risks for yourself. What makes a man disregard that risk to her and claim to love her? The only thing anywhere near quid pro quo a marriedhet woman can get (putting his body on the line) is to request a vasectomy. All for the sake of PIV.

  90. alamo

    “After all that emotional attachment, she suddenly became a sociopath out of the blue?”

    You don’t get sociopaths. They have no emotional attachments. People are just a means to obtain whatever ends they desire. I’m not sure if you can truly understand this unless you have met a sociopath, seen what they are capable of, how convincing they can be. Have you heard of “The Sociopath Next Door”?
    http://www.bookbrowse.com/author_interviews/full/index.cfm?author_number=1097

  91. Kristine

    “If it’s such an important role in society, why aren’t we paid for it?”

    It is precisely because it’s so important that we are not paid for it. The more necessary to life a job is, the less you are paid for it. That’s why the people who grow food and work in factories are paid so little. If they were paid what they were worth, there wouldn’t be trillions of dollars left over for the company owners to hoard. Likewise, if motherhood were a paid job, and paid what it was worth, women would have total financial freedom from men. Economically speaking, motherhood is the most important job on earth. Without women to raise responsible, income-generating adults (human capital), there would be no economy. Modern life as we know it could not exist.

    The fact that most mothers do form close bonds with their children is used to manipulate and control them, thus making it nearly impossible for them to demand the help and compensation that they need (and deserve) from the rest of society. Motherhood doesn’t suck because babies are a pain in the ass; it sucks because it is a form of slavery that is overly romanticized and under-appreciated by patriarchal culture.

    There are two books that make a very strong case for this point of view: “The Price of Motherhood” by Ann Crittenden, and “The War Against Women” by Marilyn French.

  92. Kristine

    For the sake of clarity, I am not a mother. I’m just a young woman who is seriously questioning the common cultural understanding of motherhood, and whether or not it’s a good idea to become one.

  93. Jill

    “I’m just a young woman who is seriously questioning the common cultural understanding of motherhood, and whether or not it’s a good idea to become one.”

    Don’t do it! The current human population is unsustainable! Tens of thousands of people die every day from starvation as it is. Famine, disease, wars, water shortages, and other nasty stuff loom on the horizon, yes even for Americans. No kid needs to be born into that.

  94. AlienNumber

    Andrea Dworkin said in a speech at the Radcliffe Institute (RIP the women’s college with the same name) – when asked about her radfem opinion on reproductive technologies – that it’s one of the greater barriers to Revolutionary Action that so many women, even some of the most ardent feminists, are so brainwashed into wanting a kid more than they want anything else. She also made the very astute point that, economically speaking, it’s still dudes who make millions off reproductive technologies; and that dudes still pretty much don’t contribute anything to raising them children. (This was a paraphrase of the woman’s slightly much more articulate point).

    I’m slowly weaning myself off going goo goo ga ga over babies and their cute little drooly faces.

  95. Kristine

    Thanks Jill, your blog is what prompted to question it in the first place. Also, thanks to you, I am seriously considering never marrying. And I mean the thanks sincerely, not in a sarcastic way.

  96. Jezebella

    Oh, for fecks’ sake, yttik, it is absurd to posit that all women who engage in consensual PIV sex are victims of some dude’s rapey disrespect. Give me a break, lady.

    On another topic, I am about to have a serious Facebook freakout over the number of people foaming at the mouth and baying for Casey Anthony’s blood. I don’t suppose any blamer has a quick statistic at their fingertips re: murders in the US by parents in a given year, broken down by, say, gender of perpetrator? I’m sick unto death of the bullshit I’m hearing and would like to lay down some science regarding the hundreds (thousands?) of kids killed by parents every year, and therefore how many of them were NOT murdered by Ms. Anthony, and in fact how none of us even know their names unless we knew them personally.

  1. A bit of lighthearted fun « I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] which Jezebella, now exasperated, rejoins: “Oh, fer fecks’ sake, it is absurd to posit that all women who engage in consensual [...]

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