Friday, May 25, 2007

Judith Warner: "Words that Wound the Working Mother"

On her Domestic Disturbances Blog (New York Times), Judith Warner decries the persistent, and in her view uniquely American, negative public opinion about working mothers.  She discusses the issue in the context of media coverage of the disappearance of British 3-year-old Madeleine McCann:

In the United States, only People magazine has so far given Madeleine’s abduction the kind of front-page play it has garnered in Britain. ...

But then People went on to do something very American. The writer, Bill Hewitt, said: “Those closest to the McCanns described Kate as a devoted mother who had scaled back to working only a day and a half a week as a general practitioner (Gerry is a cardiologist) so that she could be with her children.” He went on to quote Aunt Philomena: “She’s working to keep her career up but spends the majority of her time with the kids.”

Message: Kate McCann is a Good Mother. Hence – unlike some other mothers – she didn’t even remotely deserve to have terrible things happen to her.

It’s at times like this that I just hate being a mother in America.

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