“The Power of Blame is a Curious Thing” Comments, Page 1

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4 Comments (One Discussion Thread) on “The Power of Blame is a Curious Thing”

  1. Lots to think about here. I’m discovering that the culture of subjugation of women is more prevalent than I’d ever imagined.

    Isn’t that sad?

    1. Yes, I’m the mother of a 10 year old girl approaching puberty and I’m concerned for her as she gets older.
      I’ve read about this kind of thing in articles by feminists, so it’s good to see it being discussed on a mental health website.
      I’m glad that this is being more openly discussed these days. It’s great that women and girls are more aware of the issues than they were when I was a teenager.

  2. I wish I had seen this post when it was published so that I could respond. First, there were very many dissenting opinions about what I wrote as well. There were personal attacks just as well as the comments saying it resonated.

    That post was not in anyway putting blame on myself or anyone else and I missed the mark as a writer if that is how you read it. I was only listing my positives and the things that I am not good at to demonstrate that there isn’t anyone who is the perfect person and that is OK, it’s how it’s supposed to be. We all have so many varied gifts to bring to the table.

    I had noticed many of my friends were looking at all of the great things that women around them are doing and failing to notice those things in themselves and it really bothered me. It’s not external judgement from other parents, it’s internal focus on what you’re lacking that bothered me. The entire post was meant as a challenge to why we’re failing to see the great things and focusing on the bad things in the name of ‘other moms’ doing something better than we do. And why we care at all to worry of those negatives when, if they were a priority, we would have changed them to begin with. I don’t care if my house is company ready because something else takes precedence for me. We all make choices, regardless of gender or state of parenthood, or marital status, or level of education about what to focus on in our lives, so be ok with that and move on.

    We have to start being nicer to ourselves, so it does start at an individual level and whether you are ok with that or not, if one parent reading that cuts herself a break, I’d call that a win. If you’d like to split hairs, I’d also argue that 500,000 people read that post, so maybe through discussions and thoughts from people like yourself and many many others, there have been thoughtful discussions stemming from one little thing I noticed and decided to write about.

  3. Michelle: Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. As I said, I agreed with most of what you wrote in your post. However, I think that mother blame is so insidious and internalized that most of us (all of us?) do it without realizing that it’s there.

    My overall point is that we learn to criticize ourselves, and especially our mothering, from somewhere. We aren’t born knowing how to do that. We have seen it, heard it and watched the media do it. Moreover, the standards of “good” mothering have changed in the last 20-30 years and now we’ve all learned to compare ourselves to this unattainable idea of supermom. This is not an accident. It is a cultural phenomenon and just focusing on changing the individual ignores that.

    I agree that we have to start at an individual level but, in order for things to change, it cannot stop there. The consciousness raising groups of the 1960s pave the way for the feminist revolution because people took their individual experiences and realized that it wasn’t just them, that the personal is indeed the political. Those realizations were the turning point because, without them, nothing would have changed. We need to do the same.

    As a group, mothers seem to accept things as they are. We receive blame for a great many things and, for the most part, do not contest this. Nor do we insist upon the gratitude we deserve or the help that we need. As long as this state of affairs remains, mothers will blame themselves for not being perfect because it is difficult to believe one way when you are bombarded with messages telling you the opposite.

    To make matters worse, we do not have a large number of advocates pushing for change. Thus, if we want change, we must do it ourselves. It is my hope that funny and wise writers like you will lead the charge and move people further along in their journey. In order to do that though, a systemic and feminist analysis must be included which is what I was trying to do in this post. How great would it be if at least one mother not only stopped criticizing herself but also started questioning the cultural constraints at work?!

    Thanks again for reading and commenting.

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