If you’re the type of mother who will do anything to help your kids get ahead, you might consider scrapping your husband to make way for a lesbian partner. Or maybe not. In any case, the news that lesbian couples tend to raise kids that are healthier, better adjusted and with higher self-esteems than average is at once fabulous and disconcerting.
Fabulous because, you know, TOLD YOU SO!
But disconcerting if you happen to be straight.
I mean, no matter what your personal beliefs are, we straights can also be loving couples with strong values and an abiding loyalty to the well-being of our children. We don’t have to become someone we’re not, just to have kids and raise them well!
So what’s going on with this lesbian mom superiority? What do they know that the rest don’t?
Over at Double X, Amanda Marcotte thinks it comes down to the one thing that lesbian couples — unlike straight couples — have in common: their femaleness. And more specifically, how that femaleness was socialized since birth: to be nurturers.
Here’s the crux of her argument:
Gay or not, your average woman has had a lifetime of experience in the neccessary-for-parenting arts of boosting self-esteem, monitoring loved ones to see if they want for anything, and even minor things like choosing food for nutritional value instead of taste. Obviously, individuals will vary, but few women, regardless of sexual orientation, escape the gendered training to put others before yourself.
She goes on to say that men raised in sexist cultures, such as ours, is it discourages men from learning the above skills and also shames them for showing feelings and emotions and for caring. And with the continued imbalance of housework — women still do tons more, even in the majority of enlightened partnerships — if you replace the man with a woman, “more work (and nurturing) gets done. And children benefit.”
In fact, Marcotte thinks, and I agree, a study of straight partnerships with more flexible gender roles would likely show children not unlike those raised by lesbian couples.
What do you think? Any duo-moms out there want to weigh in or are you still (smugly!) celebrating this news? Also, men, Dads — gay or straight — what do you think of the study and Marcotte’s argument?