Friday, October 31, 2008

Keep repeating, 'poor bunnies'.

It's 2.16 a.m. The babies have colds which means they can't breathe properly which means they wake up every fifteen minutes. I try to exude 'poor little bunny' vibes, when what
I want to hiss is, 'For god's sake, will you go to sleep?'

The Victorian assisted reproductive technology vote is imminent, and looks close. If it passes, lesbians and single women in that state will be able to access ART services, and women second parents go on the birth certificate. It seems so archaic that this is not yet the case. As one of my interviewees last week said, 'I can't believe we are having to waste energy on struggling for this instead of on important issues like climate change.'

I'm on a lesbian parents' mailing list, and a woman whose partner is pregnant expressed dismay upon finding out that they are having a boy. A bunch of us mothers-of-boys leapt in and it turns out she is worried about 'not having a male role model'.

Here's what I wrote in response:

I think the whole male role model thing is crap. It's part of blaming single mothers and lesbians for not being 'good enough' parents. Don't people think boys will encounter men in their day to day lives? Our son has a donor, the donor's boyfriend, a godfather, 2 grandfathers and 4 uncles in his immediate family. Some of these are into football, some into music, some into crossdressing, some are f**ked up alcoholics (and it's not the gay ones). He will also, I am sure, form bonds with schoolteachers, sports coaches, scoutmasters and other boy's fathers. Most films he watches and books he reads will centre on the activities of male protagonists. Most people he sees making decisions about the world (politicians, industry leaders, most school principles, senior people in churches etc etc) will be men.
In short, there are men out there and it won't take much effort to find them.
The nuclear family is such a modern invention. In most cultures, the boys are brought up with the girl children in the women's camps, until puberty. Modern Westernised cultures, and in particular Australian culture, which is incredibly sexist (most other countries aren't so obsessed with blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls from infancy, for example) insist that children need to be taught their gender roles from birth or our society will be destroyed. There's a whole stream of academia about how capitalism depends on patriarchy. So by bringing up feminist boys, you are undermining capitalism - isn't that great!!

(The following bit is meant to be out of italics but I can't make them stop - annoying. I read things with a fdifferent inflection when they are in italics so this bit desn't 'sound' right in my head.)

The whole tired argument makes me furious. We are already so conscious of how we are bringing up Junior. I see the PFTC has a funding round for documentaries open at the moment. Maybe I'll propose one on women bringing up boys. I need some activity to do in the middle of the night with half-slumbrous babies.


stacey said...

Here here. Also, there is actually quite a bit of research on overall adjustment for children, and boys in particular, who are brought up in two women or single mother households. Turns out they are actually better adjusted on average than their "heterosexually-raised" counterparts.

JahTeh said...

My ex was totally useless as a father and that was due to his father being totally useless and that was due to his father being a right old bastard. I tried but couldn't break the genetic inheritance for non-fathering.
I have to say I'm proud I had more success with my son who turned out to be a terrific father albeit for too short a time.

Mikhela said...

Stacey, I'd be curious to see that research, if you know the references.

Jahteh, that is infinitely sad. One of my lie-awake-terrors is that I won't live to see my babies grow up, only eclipsed by my fear that something will happen to one of them.

JahTeh said...

That fear is part of the mother code and it never leaves us.