The Rise Of The Dummy Mummies

“The Rise Of The Dummy Mummies” – this was the title of an article in the Sunday Life Magazine from The Sunday Age on April 19, 2009. With a title like that I had to check it out. A quick Google search found that this was actually an extract from an original article published by the UK Guardian under the following title and by line:

The dummy mummy decade
Boring, selfish, smug: How a generation of women became obsessed with motherhood

While I appreciate diversity and respect the right of women to choose to have children or not, I found this article by Rachel Cooke quite offensive. I will quote a few sentences that I had most trouble with:

Once upon a time, educated women fought to separate their identities from the ideal of mother, knowing that until the two came to be seen as wholly distinct they would never be taken seriously; and, in any case, who wants to be defined by only one aspect of their life?

Nor am I going to list the ways that childless women sometimes carry an extra burden of work in the office compared to their colleagues who are mothers because my own strongly-felt feminism means that I will always believe in maternity rights, flexible working and all the rest of it, even though I am unlikely ever to benefit from these things (pious, eh? – and get this: I used to be a school governor, too).

No, all I want to say here, really, is that all this droning on about baby and toddler world is not, in the long run, doing any of us any good. For me, and many other women, it’s boring and selfish, and it implicitly casts judgment on the way we choose to live our lives. For men, it just confirms what many of them secretly think, which is that women, bottom line, are only really interested in one thing, and that is making babies, and why should they be promoted or taken seriously or paid well?

Rachel Cooke’s main issue is with women who she believes can only talk about their children. Is there not people who all they can talk about is their work or their sport etc? Any conversation that is dominated by the interest of one person is not going to be an enjoyable conversation for both parties.

At a party or function is it not commonplace to ask of an acquaintance “How’s work?” Does not the “work” of a mother involve her children?

I find it disappointing the way that women can attack each other in the media like this. There is still a distance to be traveled before women can achieve equality in all areas. What is needed is appreciation of the right for women to choose the lifestyle they wish to lead, and appreciation of the diversity that will come from this choice.

I did however ask myself the question “Am I being too sensitive about this?”. As I am a stay at home mum, who blogs about kids, has this just touched a raw nerve? I don’t think so.

What do you think? Is this article offensive or does it have a point?