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September 03, 2009



[...You are the vague, slow, exhausted animal nursing its young. Anything graceful, original, sharp, intelligent about you is gone. And it is that sacrifice of self, that total denial of the outside world, that uncompromising violence done to your everyday life, that is this period’s appeal. You are transported in a way you will never be transported again; this is the vacation to end all vacations...]

Cummon Abiola! This is too much and it plays right into the criticisms of many feminists.

1. I agree that feminists have tended to denigrate motherhood.

2. I agree with *them*, for their period and context and not with the slow, exhausted animal pontificating on the pages of XX.

3. The reason is simple: the transports Roiphe describes are simply not to be found in many cultures: Certainly not cultures where infanticide might be a just as necessary or near as necessary a behavioral / cultural adaptation predicated on evolution as the supposed transports we now learn of.

4. I dont know of any major feminists who have actually completely ruled out the possibility of enjoying motherhood. Some people enjoy doing chores.

5. I do believe gender is more of a construct than it isnt. A pet peeve of mine years ago was watching and seeing how Western feminists coopt non Western cultures to prove their pet theories about social organization, but then, the non Western authors started playing along and then I went, oh well... Wasnt it Evans Pritchard or some other ethnologist of the Azande or the Nuer, I forget which who pointed out the female role playing of young North East Africans - i.e., the whole boy-wife discourse, then a bunch of others...and then Ify Amadiume (Male Daughters and Female Husbands) and then Oyeronke Oyewumi (The Invention of Women - later parodied as Yoruba Dont Do Gender) Its dubious when white peeps go out and start superimposing constructs on cultures of alterity, but are we to claim Amadiume and Oyewumi are possessed of a false consciousness? I know that at least Oyewumi has been accused of in fact not doing social science at all, but instead relying on insider knowledge, i.e. knowledge gained as a member of the Yoruba, etc. The behavioral presentation induced in female mammals by reproductive realities might be inducible in any member of the species under the right circumstances: Reproduction is real, yes, but that is necessitates certain kinds of roles is the imperative that drives constructionism.

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