I found it very disturbing in Hollingworth’s article that women were portrayed as if their one and only purpose were to bear and rear children to create families. Hollingworth discusses how the bearing of children is painful, yet necessary for women because it was their “zone of requirement” to produce children and have families. Society has certain expectations for what is the “normal woman” and these expectations are the forms of social control that pressures women to have children and possess the maternal instinct. If you do not have children or do not have a maternal instinct, then you are either an abnormal woman or a bad mother, which is NOT true at all. It is not society’s fault that women are given this responsibility, but it is due to the “natural physiological handicaps of woman” that prevents them from having power or any other forms of control. Once again, it is natural that women are in their position, not that it is institutionally driven.
While I did find Hollingworth’s article to be a bit outdated, one of the devices that I find to be extremely relevant until this day is public opinion. Hollingworth stated that newspapers were the primary sources of information during that time period, but today it is social media. Below is a Facebook photo that was posted by an extremely fit mother name Maria Kang after she had three children ages two, three, and eight months. The caption on the image states, “What’s your excuse?” targeting other mothers who have had children, but have not loss the weight gained from childbirth. While the image itself is an issue as it is pressuring other mothers to quickly lose weight after having children, the photo also received several negative remarks on social media. One of the negative remarks described Maria Kang as a bad mother because if she had time to work out, then she definitely was not taking care of her children the way she should have been. I think this image and the public opinion surrounding the image reinforces the double bind that women have. It is seen negatively when women have gained too much weight after childbirth, yet it is also seen negatively when women lose too much weight after childbirth. Women cannot be “too fit” or “too fat” after childbirth, so what is the middle ground and why should there have to be a middle ground?
Walzer’s article was a more updated article as it discusses the concerns that both men and women had when they became parents. One of the main themes that I took out of the article is what men and women were worried about. Women worried about their children and men worried about making money. If a woman did not worry about her child, she would be considered a bad mother but if a man did not worry about his child, he was not considered a bad father. It was just an automatic responsibility for women to care for their child more than men were. On the other hand, men were concerned about not making enough money support their family. I think what also holds truth is the stigma that men receive if they are a stay-at-home dad. The differences in concern that men and women have show how divided they are on their tasks and exactly how this affects their mental state.
Here is the article that spoke about Maria Kang’s photo on the being a fit mom: