Women In Social Policy

10401 words, 42 pages

Intro Sample...

The term ''mother'' is ambiguous between a woman who gives birth and a female who parents, that is, rears a child--often but not necessarily the same woman. The term ''motherhood'' is ambiguous between the experience of mothers (in either sense, usually the second) and a social practice the rules of which structure child rearing. It is the latter that interests me here. Just as some today would stretch the concept of ''family'' to cover any committed partnership, household, or close and enduring network of friends, others would stretch the concept of ''motherhood'' to cover any mode of child rearing. That is not how I understand ''motherhood.'' Just as not every durable intimate partnership is a marriage, not... View More »

Body Sample...

Many children are raised by older siblings, even in households in which someone else is called ''Mother.''
My point is not to support Newt Gingrich by glorifying orphanages or other hired caretakers but to put in perspective rhetoric about children's needs and about the ideal relationships of children to mothers. Much ink has been spilled debunking what passes for ''love'' in marriage. It is time to consider how much of the ''love'' that children are said to need is no more love than spousal attachments have been. Children do need stable intimate bonds with adults. But they also need supervision, education, health care, and a variety of relationships with people of a variety of ages. What the State tends to enforce in motherhood is the child's access to its mother, which guarantees none of these things, and the mother's answerability for her child's waywardness, which gives her a motive for constant supervision, thereby removing certain burdens from others but easily also endangering the well-being of her child if she is ill supplied with resources. Lacking adequate social or material resources, many a parent resorts to violent discipline in such situations, which the State has been reluctant to prevent or even acknowledge. This is what it has meant, legally, for a child to be a mother's ''own'': her own is the child who has legal rights of access to her and for whose waywardness she becomes answerable, although she is largely left to her own devices for carrying out the entailed responsibilities.
By contrast, children raised by lesbian or gay parents today are much ...

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