1) First, Annie from PhD in Parenting really hit the nail on the head with this essay about women and the media. In this article, she quotes Tara Sophia Mohr in her Huffington Post critique of the montage of great movie moments shown at the Oscars:
When women can't see strong, interesting, female protagonists in the stories we watch, it becomes harder for us to see ourselves as the strong, interesting protagonists of our own lives. When girls grow up seeing story after story that tells them they are sex objects, accessories or victims, they will learn that to be a "woman" is to play one of those three roles.This was certainly true for for me. I had a rather defining experience when I was young. I was old enough to stay at home at night by myself, and was surfing the channels. My family had gotten cable fairly recently and I settled on an HBO movie that I was much too young to have been watching. Without going into too much detail, I saw images that taught me that my role as a woman in this society would be that of sexual victim, and the role of men is that of sexual predator. I spent a good portion of my young adulthood challenging and resisting that role of woman as sexual victim.
2) Here's another by Annie from PhDin Parenting about the controversial book by Elizabeth Badinter called "The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women". I've read quite a bit about this book and the perspectives of mothers that challenge Badinter's assertions. You can read those articles too through links that Annie provides. I highly encourage you to do so, especially the articles by one of my favorite feminist parenting bloggers, Blue Milk. Here is a highlight of Annie's analysis:
Choosing a parenting style shouldn't be something the mother does alone. She should have control over her body (and therefore have the final say on issues like breastfeeding), but decisions about how to parent the child should be something that both parents make together and that both of them invest equally in. There are certainly mothers who choose very intensive parenting styles and take everything on their own shoulders. But I don't think the answer to that problem is to suggest that certain parenting styles (like attachment parenting) are wrong.
The solution is to ensure that fathers are equal partners in parenting, so that mothers are not the only ones to suffer physically, professionally and personally from the demands of parenting. Being a parent is incredibly fulfilling, but it also involves challenges. In my opinion, both the rewards and the sacrifices stemming from the decision to procreate should be shared equally by both parents.
3) I love this perspective on the fire storm that occurred in the media a few weeks ago when the SAHM vs WOHM war was rekindled by Hilary Rosen's comment that Mitt Romney's wife "never worked a day in her life". Paige at Baby Dust Diaries brings up the primary issue on what makes the best mom - and it has nothing to do with whether a mom works outside the house or stays at home, per se:
I’m not a better parent because I’m at home – I’m a better parent because I love where I’m at and I throw myself fully into it. You are not a better parent because you work – You are a better parent because you love what you do and throw yourself fully into it.
All of us are valuable to society because we are raising the next generation! We all deserve the support and accolades of society.
The sad circumstance is when a woman is not in a place that fulfills her and thus maximizes her mothering potential. This is where I want to see OPTIONS for women.