Friday, October 26, 2007

Defensiveness in the Face of the Liberal Media

Defensiveness Stimulus #1: Alice Waters

It started with the Times magazine and the piece about the single mother browbeaten into cooking a la Alice. And I first got defensive on poor Kelly's blog. Here's the thing: I'm all about Alice, truly. And I do a lot of what she wants us to do: I go to the farmer's market, and I know lots of farmers, and, oh, I don't know what all she wants us to do, eat organic, have family meals, I do all that stuff. But still, I am not good enough, because my children eat six pounds of frozen peas a week, and I want to make my food fast, and I want to use my microwave, and the bottom line is: cooking is not my meditation, I do not like to cook, I value lots of things, like I even value cleaning the sink, but my meditation is going for a walk or a run, and my life really does have meaning and I'm sorry, Alice, I'm sorry!! REALLY, I AM SORRY! Can you just leave me alone with my quesadillas now?

[Here's the quote that set me off:

Get out of that mind-set and tell yourself cooking is a meditation. I like to do it. It's relaxing for me to come home -- it truly is! -- and wash the salad. I love to see the salad in the sink. To spin the salad. I like to dry it. I like to pound to make a vinaigrette with my mortar and pestle. I enjoy grinding coffee and putting it in the filter and warming up the milk. It's part of a ritual that gives my life meaning and beauty.


Defensiveness Stimulus #2: Corinne Maier

I know, you've never heard of her. She's French, that's why. She's French, and she wrote a book about how women shouldn't have children. And I say bully for her, right on, you go girl. The contemporary pressure for maternity is absurd, as is the fetishization of the baby, not to mention the fertility industry (go find your own links, you know where they are, you can start with Babble). Except, well, I always wanted to have children, and I like having children (except when I don't), and I think that even with children I'm doing pretty well on the feminist front.

Fine, you say, it's your choice to have children, and isn't feminism all about choice? Ah, but when it comes to other choices, I am not so sanguine, am I not? Changing names? Other choices I won't bring up so as not to rekindle old fires with dear friends? I insist, in those cases, that the perpetrators of choice must Acknowledge the Feminist Implications of Their Choices.

Yes, but I acknowledge the feminist implications of my choices, and I support Maier and my childless friends in their choices. Except, not so much. I mean, I am totally fine with people not having children who don't want children, but my ambivalent friends? I've been known to tell them it will be worth it. My unhappy friend who chose not to have children because it would interfere with her work? I think she made the wrong choice.

Can I reconcile my inconsistency? Should I just go hide in the dark cave of motherhood? Will I ever be able to show my face in France again? How about at French farmer's markets? With my children?

I think it's time to go to the supermarket and buy me a stack of tabloids and some chips.

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