The fox and the lily

{March 1, 2010}   Baby daddy issues

Today I was at the store with a friend of mine. We were picking up peanut butter and soup, and there was supposed to be spinach somewhere in there but that doesn’t really matter to the story. This friend and I were in one of the back isles of the story when a women in a lovely red power suit came down the isle with twin toddlers. One was a quiet little girl that smiled and walked like the world was her playground, and the second was a little boy who was lagging behind and was throwing a ball around, and generally causing havoc. The mother in this scenario had stress lines just from the day, and she was trying to get her son to listen and stop bothering other people. She was so sincerely apologetic when the little boy almost hit us, that I felt sorry for her.

We saw her later at the self-checkout. Her daughter was right on her heels with a pensive look that screamed “mommy make the thing I don’t like go away”, her son however was off to the side of the self-checkout machines screaming softly for his ball. The mother looked embarrassed but she ignored the boy in favor of getting her job done and making everyone else’s lives pleasurable. Her son also seemed to have an understanding of how this was not going to play out in his favor because he kept his face down and his screaming was quiet compared to the average two year olds – he understood he was not getting his ball back from his mother but he wanted to save face like any boy raised two year old. It wasn’t until half way through checking out that she went to the cranberry juice sale display case beside the registers and picked him up along the way, and than brought him back to her register to set him beside his sister. The woman finished checking out as her son went from screaming to just asking for his ball back, to finally being so humiliated by his twin looking at him as if he were the stupidest person she knew that he stopped.

We finished checking out before her, but right before we got out of range my friend turned back around, walked up to the woman and said have a better day with a smile. The woman’s hard features melted and she looked at both of us with the same smile that a teenager does when zie’s been given validation. She was so relieved that no one blamed her for her son, or thought she was less than human because she wasn’t a good mother, or told her that she should have done something else. Instead she got a girl probably half her age telling her that she was a good enough person to be wished a better day by a perfect stranger who had nothing invested in her having a happy life. We left with her smiling and her shoulders less hunched inwards.

And this got me thinking why would a woman who looks like she’s a single professional that is on the pill and lives in an urban high rise have two toddlers and with obviously no daddy? How come she was dragging around two children after what looked to be the worst 24 hours of her life and buying broccoli and chicken tenders in a professional work outfit, instead of coming to the store in sweats to buy broccoli and California roll sushi? This was a woman that looked like if she had been having a better day would have thrown out any man who refused to wear a condom and would have spent the evening laughing at Youtube videos of Target Women or watching the first season of the L word on D.V.D; having children was not in the cards for her with all the charisma and genuine charm she had.

The short simple of it is that society forces women in to having children. It’s the reason why mothers urge their daughters to give them grandchildren and than pressure their daughters in to being good mothers and why men assume that marriage means condoms aren’t needed, and why when people are against abortion they say the woman is a whore and this is her punishment/the child’s life, or worse yet they make abortions to expensive specialty and won’t help her pay for it but still call her cow. It’s entitlement on the part of the oppressors.

Men feel entitled to planting their seed in a women if they’re married to them, and if they abort it than that means the woman who they had impregnated has taken away what they are entitled to; the ability to brand her his so that other men are not a threat, and so that her sex is all his and not anyone else’s, including hers. Mothers and anti-abortion women with children feel entitled to make their daughters be forced in to the same mold, so that they may stay above their daughters and thus have some power in the world. Child-free people who don’t go out of their way to help women get the ability to not have children feel entitled to their fringe status and the superiority they have over women who they see as not being able to keep her legs shut/get an abortion. All these people feel entitled to use the body of a child-bearing woman as a means to either affirm their own status in the patriarchy or their life choices. And these are only examples of what the whole of society does.

The pregnant woman or the woman that has given birth and now has children is a sign of a owned woman in the greater society. She may be a slut because she wasn’t able to keep her legs closed and not have the children, or she may be doing god’s work and having children, or she may be experiencing one of the only two acceptable ways for a women to experience love with someone that does not own her because she owns the children and thus is allowed to love them. She is not however just having children that she will teach just enough to allow them to know how to roam the world and explore by the time they can walk and run and play on their own. There is never such a thing as a woman who has given birth that is a person over being a mother, unless she is objectifying her children and then she is a woman that, while still owned, is more a person than she was if she were single and childless.

The act of having a child is a permanent stamp of womanhood that proves that the mother is a woman and can be nothing but, and she is a woman that is either owned or was owned and has committed a societal sin for not staying owned. It proves that she is not a threat to the privilege men have and to the privilege that parents have, and to the structure that our society uses that shares an uncanny resemblance to The Great Chain Of Being.

So this women who looked like she was tired, who tried to treat her children like people even if it made her feel ashamed for not being good enough, and who looked like she would have loved living in New York and having long lasting sexually and emotionally fulfilling relationships, is dealing with the life of having a child because she is owned. She will disappoint her mother for not being harsh enough; and the anti-abortion advocates will tell her that she shouldn’t blame her children because she didn’t remain a virgin even though it was her lover who didn’t wear the condom and who wouldn’t settle for mutual pleasure instead of penetration; and she will stay tired and stressed and waiting for the few times in her life where someone will tell her to have a better day; because even those who will never have it happen to them still need to prove Aristotle right and that she is wrong for being born woman; and being too scared to say no and too scared to go to the abortion clinic all on her own with the voices calling her a moo and a slut racing around in her head while she tries not to think about any of it.


et cetera