Sunday, September 26, 2021
HomeCulture WarsWomen have babies. Get over it

Women have babies. Get over it

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WOMEN have power and should be guarding it fiercely. But we haven’t been, and now while we are looking to boardrooms and earnings lists to measure women’s progress, we don’t seem to have noticed that in other ways our power as mothers, our power in the home, is being challenged. 

Women are presented as having less power, as minorities with unequal opportunities. How much power women have relative to men usually starts with measures that men value more than women do. How much money they have, how much they earn, success in their career. Women value these things, but what matters more to most women is their children and their home. And the seat of the power where women outstrip men in is in the home. I don’t know any women who don’t become the heart and soul, centre of the universe, queen bee within the home and especially after children come along. Domestic power is held mostly by woman and they dominate the home in decision-making, ethos and organisation. As a child it came as a surprise to me that women were considered disadvantaged. They were always top dog in my world.

We haven’t felt a need to protect our power. We don’t see our power as diminished when celebrity gay couples introduce ‘their’ child without meaningful reference to the woman who ‘birthed’ the child – that a real-life woman chose to give (or sell) them her baby (probably not a wealthy woman, I might add). No, we quietly applauded that gay people were (rightly) getting access to a family life, but missed that there was an erasing of the woman’s role. We didn’t shout that it matters and diminishes motherhood when rich women start hiring other women to have their babies for them. We didn’t shout for all those women and mothers who were being used for their baby-making skills and then being forgotten. I bet those women who had the babies didn’t forget. 

So it shouldn’t be any real surprise that being a ‘woman’ is opening now to men on the basis that they want to be women. But what is surprising is that the changes are so widely embraced and accepted. We should see this change for what it is – the distant sound of women’s rights being chipped away. Misogyny seems to be like Doctor Who: it takes a new form every few years. 

Women need to be on their guard when powerful society (and its gaslighting moral sanctimony) try to erode that power. I am not trying to put down transgender people or indeed any minority groups. We are not opposites. I’ve no desire to limit anyone’s self-expression. But don’t expect me not to be concerned when anyone, man or woman, starts looking to erode my power base. 

Despite the headlines telling you ‘man gives birth’ we know that a woman choosing to live as a man who gave birth. The BBC can cite 100 different genders, but if you want to have a baby, then you need to be a woman. This has not changed. Nature isn’t that woke.  

What is changing is that the claim of that mother to that baby is becoming submerged and lost in a current of others happy to absorb that domestic power-base. It is others, not women, who will improve their power-base in these changes. It’s a roundabout way of returning to a time when men mattered legally more than women. It is moving to a place where women don’t need to be mentioned on birth certificates. 

Women like often to be seen as nice and kind and sharing and inclusive. But not when it comes to their children – then they are focused and defensive. It s time to see this sea change for what it is – an attack on woman’s rights. Don’t let them diminish our role whilst we are focused on fairness for all.

So stick this on the side of a bus: Women have babies. Get over it.

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Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald is a professional psychologist and writer. Views expressed here are her own.

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