Thursday, November 09, 2006

I swear, I will leave the NY Times alone . . .

as soon as they leave mothers alone. At least the Times reporters don't discriminate; they critique the habits stay-at-home moms as well as the lifestyle of working mothers. Last week, the Times revealed the frivolous behavior of business women, and this week's style section contains an article on "Cosmopolitan Moms," mothers who gather together to share a cocktail while their children play.

Whether or not you agree with the idea of drinking while watching children, the fact that this practice merits a feature article is problematic. First of all, the article focuses exclusively on mothers, ignoring the fathers who most likely drink in similar circumstances. As Brown anthropology professor Dr. Dwight B. Health says, "In this culture there is a still a double standard [. . .] It is more acceptable for men to drink, more often, and in greater quantities, and in public [. . .] This is not really exotic behavior." Heath's last sentence illuminates the central problem with this article, in my opinion. By examining and analyzing such banal behavior, the reporter problematizes and almost pathologizes these women's everyday existence. Having a drink with a fellow mother becomes an indication of rampant alcoholism among stay-at-home moms; the very act of drinking during the day exposes the depression and irresponsibility of these women. I know this sensational journalism occurs in other papers and about other issues, but I have to say that I'm a little sick of seeing this kind of reporting about motherhood in the Times.

1 comment:

Basha said...

hmm... Maggie, I'm really glad you wrote about this - I was thinking about the same things when I read it.