Sunday, January 28, 2007

Only Child and Feminism, Take 2...

On Friday, Daphne, contributor Amy Richards, and I were guests on "The Judith Warner Show" (XM radio). I'm a fan of Judith's book, Perfect Madness, and many of her feminist inklings dovetail with mine. Things I wished I had said but did not have a chance to on the air:

In the 1970s, the mother who chose to have 'only one' was sometimes stigmatized for selfishly privileging her desire to have a career over her desire to raise a brood. I wonder how the stigma Boomer women may have felt different from that experienced by today's mother-of-one. *Is* there a strong stigma today, and if so, is it perhaps differently inflected? Parent friends who ask us about our experience as onlies often seem so anxious - is this related, I wonder, to the intensive parenting Judith writes about so eloquently in her book? That is, the imperative to do-what's-best-for-your-kid at the expense of personal fulfillment, and the return of a new kind of feminine mystique.

I'd be curious to hear what others think.

PS. Check out Daphne's new website!


Alison said...

You know, now that I think of it, most of my girlfriends who have kids have two. So maybe there is still a stigma around having only one kid.

But most of them also talk about the bullshit of the do-what's-best-for-your-kid mentality.

Deborah Siegel said...

Hmm...My friends all have two too. And I'm thinking, in spite of what I thought most of my life, I'll likely have just one myself, because of life's timing - stigma, do-what's-best mentality aside. We'll see!