The Top 10 Parenting Stories of the Weekcarolyncastiglia
1. Erica Jong calls modern motherhood a prison. The mom-o-sphere was on fire this week, criticizing and supporting Erica Jong’s take on attachment parenting and our culture’s worshipping of the cult of motherhood. Madeline thinks Jong misses the mark when she claims hands-on parenting is the reason “we’re in a period of retrenchment against progressive social policies.” I agree, but I do support Jong’s “skewering of the orgy of motherphilia,” and I believe parenting theories of any kind are for the “pedigreed progressives” Jong is fixated on.
2. Amazon sells, then pulls, how-to guide for pedophiles. “A child-lovers code of conduct,” really? Sierra was disgusted when she found out this self-published book was available to Kindle users. Moms all over the web put pressure on Amazon by threatening a boycott if they didn’t stop selling the book. Amazon initially defended their right to sell the book, then rescinded that position, all within the span of a day. Sierra’s boycotting Amazon, but she has been for a while now, ever since they “stripped thousands of GLBT titles of their sales rank because they were deemed inappropriate.” (Personally, I find it perplexing that Amazon thinks homosexuality is iffy but pedophilia is aces.) Paula won’t boycott the book behemoth, and stands by her opinion, asking, “Ultimately, what has the boycott accomplished? It has shown that crowd-sourcing censorship works. It has also helped boost sales of this repulsive book.”
3. Huffington Post Divorce launched this week. Nora Ephron, who’s helming the new channel, says troubled married couples should stay together for their kids. I appreciate the sentiment, but I know first-hand how dangerous it is to say, “unless the parents are beating each other up, or abusing the children, kids are better off if their parents are together.” Just because there isn’t physical violence in a home doesn’t mean that there isn’t abuse going on. (To read more about my take on breaking up, check out my new feature on HuffPo Divorce, The Grapes of Wrath.) Heather notes that HuffPo’s Jodyne Speyer came out of her parent’s divorce unscathed, adding, “I don’t think there is strong evidence that divorce actually matters, that’s why studies conflict and you’ll get a different answer from anyone you ask about their split home. What matters is the emotional climate around the divorce (just like it does in an intact family).”
4. Mom blogger makes stink online over Alaska Airlines. Colleen Roberge, a Canadian mom, started a blog called Alaska Airlines Hates Families, in an effort to be reimbursed for her travel expenses after the airline told her she could change her baby’s diaper before boarding and then gave her ticket away. The influence moms wield as consumers was once again proven by the fact that, after much media coverage of the issue, Alaska Airlines apologized for their behavior and paid the family $1000.
5. Fast food nation. McDonald’s and its competitors were all over the news this week. In San Francisco, the board of supervisors “decreed that restaurants cannot put free toys in meals that exceed set thresholds for calories, sugar or fat,” TIME magazine reports. A study released Monday by the Yale Food Policy & Obesity Center says “fast food chains are working harder to advertise to children,” despite the fact that only 12 out of 3,000 fast food meals meet the nutritional guidelines for preschool children. The voracious ads must be working, because according to The Consumerist, 84% of parents take their kids to fast food joints once a week, 66% specifically to McDonald’s. 40% of parents report that their child asks to go to McDonald’s at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.
6. Cop’s Wife and Princess Boy’s Mom appear on the TODAY show. The blogosphere was still a-twitter this week about Cop’s Wife, the mom who told the world her 5-year-old son was gay when he dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. John says it’s not her place to out her son, but I don’t think she did. By acknowledging that her son might be gay, Cop’s Mom is simply affirming the fact that it’s okay to be gay, and that being gay is about more than who you hop in the sack with.
7. Lesbians don’t beat their kids. Jezebel says, “The sample size was small — just 78 17-year-old children of lesbian parents, 39 boys and 39 girls. But strikingly, none of these kids reported sexual or physical abuse by their moms. That’s compared to 26% of American teens as a whole who report physical abuse by a parent, and 8.3% who report sexual abuse.” This study is of course imperfect, but Sierra notes “this study should help to further dispel the awful misconception that kids with gay parents are somehow at a higher risk for being abused.”
8. Who’s your Daddy? Gawker’s SciFi site, iO9, reports that 70% of ancient Amazon tribes “practiced multiple paternity, in which all of a woman’s sexual partners were fathers to her children.” Alasdair Wilkins writes, “Men also benefited from this system. Sharing paternity brought men together, cementing bonds and friendships (basically, just like Three Men and a Baby, just with less Steve Guttenberg).”
9. More parents choosing gender-neutral boy names. The Daily Beast’s Pamela Redmond Satran writes, “Fully half of the names on the most recent boys’ Top 100 list are choices that break with masculine naming tradition, compared with less than 20 percent of the names on the 1960 boys’ list.” And Peter Richmond, author of Badasses, says, “Naming your kid Hunter or Breaker is like saying f–k you to the world that invented feminism.”
10. Sarah Palin’s reality show premieres Sunday on TLC. The Week says, “The Alaskan conservative is shown roaming the northern wilderness, socializing with her family and marveling at a real-life mama grizzly and its cubs. But many critics think there’s a subtext to Palin’s Alaskan travelogue, despite its makers’ insistence that it is not a political show.”