Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Enough Already

I have a habit of reading headlines on CNN, Yahoo and AOL, but not clicking on the stories unless I'm really interested, which doesn't happen often. I'm not a news junkie, and most of the stories I do end up reading irritate or infuriate me for one reason or another. Sexism, obvious political bias or social agenda, poor grammar and diction - there are lots of reasons to dislike news stories. And I kind of like the impressions I form of what's going on by reading only headlines. It's like reading a poem; a great deal of what I get out of it has to do with my own personal filters, perspectives and ideas, as opposed to what some spin-meister is trying to shove down my throat.

So when I read a headline along the lines of "Is Angelina Jolie addicted to motherhood?" I marveled as I have before over how determined the media is to define women negatively or, at best, restrictively. And notwithstanding a cultural reverence for motherhood as a concept, newspapers, magazines, TV outlets and the like love to find fault with mothers. Not parents, but mothers. The headline did not read "Is Brad Pitt addicted to fatherhood?" now did it? And I seem to recall that the original Mrs. Pitt got slammed for not wanting to have kids. So I guess the deal is that no kids is not enough, but more than 4 raises questions about possible addiction.

How stupid. It's arbitrary and unwarranted to insist that women have to do any particular thing or make any particular choice. If Angelina Jolie wants to use her personal fortune to take care of a zillion kids, adopted and biological, why shouldn't she? There is no one right way to be a woman or a mother. Just like men, we are who we are. And no apologies or justifications are necessary.

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