Posted by Irresponsibility
There are a lot of things wrong with Zoe Lewis’s Times article, which is obvious from the title ‘Madonna Syndrome: I should have ditched feminism for love, children and baking.’
Feminism is the bogeyman (bogeywoman?) that ruined poor Zoe’s life: “I have sacrificed all my womanly duties and laid it all at the altar of a career. And was it worth it? The answer has to be a resounding no…. The thing that has made me feel best in life was being in love with my ex-boyfriend.”
Poor ex-boyfriend. Not just because this woman is a complete limp dishrag but because she petulantly insists someone else take responsibility for her happiness. Other human beings can make your life more or less pleasant in a million large and small ways but they can’t make you happy.
More disturbing is Lewis’s baby fixation. She fantasises about being “in the kitchen with a baby on [my] hip” saying “children bring more happiness than work ever can.” Apparently, she hasn’t gotten the memo that children are not pets, or accessories, but human beings.
In Lewis’s imagination a child would make her life perfect and happy and rosy – which terrifically wrong-headed. There is nothing inherently selfish about wanting to have a child. But there is something wrong with wanting a child to make you happy. It isn’t their job. And, purposefully or no, children have plenty of scope to make mums unhappy, whether they’re throwing up on an new outfit or robbing the family silver to feed a crack habit. People who can’t grasp that having children is risky business should keep out of the gene pool. And Lewis doesn’t.
Rather, she embraces the ludicrous and peculiarly English trope that a child is some kind of magical font of affirmation. Ever since the Victorians grossly sentimentalised middle-class childhood while cheerfully shoving orphans into workhouses Brits have had a dangerous double-fantasy regarding children. They are figured both as near-mystical source of emotional satisfaction and as wretched, time-consuming, expensive, potentially dangerous disruptions.
The only losers in this are children. What happens to Lewis’s putative child when it fails to make her happy (and people like her are never happy)? It is one thing for her to throw a hissy fit about feminism; quite another if the subject of her narcissistic rage is an innocent child. Feminism, at least, won’t bruise.
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