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Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

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Mamapalooza Festival 2016 – celebrating mothers in the arts – kicks off in Sydney shortly. Running from 14-28 May with film, stand-up comedy and bands, you can get more information by contacting mamapaloozasydney@gmail.com

Speaking of film, I have long wanted to see this one, the award-winning Who Does She Think She Is. If you’re in Sydney I recommend catching it as part of the festival program. And then telling me about it, because I was a guest speaker at Mamapalooza a couple of years ago but my budget doesn’t extend to getting to Sydney again right now.

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In 1974, the sociologist Richard Sennett worried that “the more a person concentrates on feeling genuinely, rather on the objective content of what is felt, the more subjectivity becomes an end in itself, the less expressive he can be.”

This quest to understand and cope with our own feelings and desires – the current term of art is “self-care” – can lead to what the writer Christopher Lasch called “pseudo-self-awareness”. It can leave us too preoccupied with personal satisfaction to see the world clearly. “The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety,” Mr Lasch wrote in his 1979 book “The Culture of Narcissism.” “He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life.”

In her 2001 book “Race Experts,” Dr. Lasch-Quinn (who is Christopher Lasch’s daughter) argues that the vogue for therapeutic self-help has steered the American left off course, encouraging well-meaning activists to push for sensitivity training seminars instead of real gains in racial and economic equality. The phrase “I feel like” is a mundane extension of this pattern, a means of avoiding rigorous debate over structures of society that are hard to change.

From Molly Worthen’s “Stop saying ‘I feel like'” in The New York Times. 

It must be said about Lasch that while he did highlight the importance of unpaid care work, he was not always so very popular with feminists for good reason. But I like the idea of pseudo-self-awareness. (And I love Richard Sennett).

 

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There are lots of spoilers in the link below if you are not up to date with Game of Thrones, but otherwise, an interesting take on what the show is currently exploring. (The picture I used is from an old episode and not a spoiler. The quote selected below does not include any spoilers either, because I love you so).

From Megan Garber’s “Game of Thrones’ Epidemic of Kid-Killing” in The Atlantic:

Childhood, according to this logic, is a form of social sacrifice, and in that of personal indulgence: It is a luxury unfit for a time in which, yes, winter is coming.

It’s a sad suggestion, but a resonant one for a show that is operating in a culture that finds itself asking similar—if, thankfully, much less violent—questions about childhood and adulthood and the line between the two. Helicopter parenting, emerging adulthood, boomerang kids, sexting, playgrounds designed to be safe and dangerous at the same time—these are all components of a broad cultural conversation that redounds to a basic question: What is childhood, at this particular juncture? How sacred should childhood be?

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Here is my latest article for Daily Life:

And dependence is a funny word to use for older women.

By the time they are claiming the aged pension, paltry as it is, a lot of older women will have raised children, coddled a husband through his working life (that might seem harsh but, honestly, what would you call the fact that she, alone, washed and ironed all their work clothes, cooked the dinners and made him those daily cups of tea), maintained at least one deteriorating elderly parent, and had a hand in also caring for grandchildren.

These women have known some dependency, but you can see it was not all their own. The economy is built upon the toil of unpaid care, largely undertaken by women. That the provision of this essential care work leaves women financially depleted is evidenced by their eventual over-representation in numbers on the age pension, which the Treasurer has so sympathetically observed.

He notes the government pays for these women’s public healthcare, saying it as though governments did not raise revenue from their taxes. Which is interesting, because older women are contributing the fastest growing incomes to the gender income ratio. If women are to eventually catch up to men in terms of income and employment, it may be older women who get us there.

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I am so incredibly charmed by Overland‘s inaugural writer’s residency being offered this year to single mothers. 

If this is you, please please consider applying. It’s a wonderful opportunity including space, resources, money and an amazing mentor in Alison Croggon.

It’s based in Melbourne, so there is that to consider in applying but may many more writing centres in other places consider single mother writers as their pool for residencies in the future.  Because some of my very favourite writers have been single mothers. And I was a single mother and I know it is so hard to write on top of all that.

And basically, this is one of the most feminist gestures I’ve witnessed by a literary journal, go Overland.

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I bought Cormac a camera for his birthday and he’s completely captivated. Rarely have have I got it more right with a present for the children.

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File this under: Maybe how you feel about mothering, and your feminism, says something about how your country feels about you as a mother.

Great article from Abigail Rasminsky in The Cut, “I had a baby in Europe; here’s what it did to me”.  

But unlike my husband and me, my expat friends didn’t struggle over the gendered turn their marriages had taken. These women had already given up their careers upon moving to Vienna, or had always expected a year or two of paid leave with a new baby. They felt little anxiety about keeping their careers going — or, like me, getting them out of the red. Why should they? By law, their jobs were protected.

A few months in, I started to understand the question my midwife had posed when I asked her about using a breast pump. “But where are you going?” she’d wanted to know, as if I were planning to abandon my child. The logic seemed to be: My husband had his job, and I had mine, which was culturally mandated and for which I was paid. What else could I possibly want?

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