Co-blogging partner Fiona Green’s co-edited collection on gender fluid parenting has just been released. Check it out:
Chasing Rainbows: Exploring Gender Fluid Parenting Practices by Fiona J. Green & May Friedman
In two weeks MacLean’s Magazine will be running a feature story on the book and the topic of gender-fluid parenting.
The book casts a lens on the messy and convoluted ways that feminist parents approach parenting their children in gender aware and gender fluid ways AND features a chapter by the parents of Storm; the baby that is being raised without being identified as a boy/girl and whose story has generated much media interest.
We are currently discussing ways to open our blog to mommy bloggers to allow for community dialogue about ethical choices. We are especially interested in the variety of views about what we owe others–the rights of our family and friends to privacy and confidentiality.
Imagining our blog as a space for open discussion about ethical practices, we have had to face the important question of our moderating/monitoring role in all of this this. Do we open the blog and say “All welcome. All views equal.” Plurality at its best. The governing value here would be individualism.
Or do we acknowledge that mommy bloggers are expressing positions they have learned from within the space they occupy in our culture. They are driven in their choices by the force of powerful systems. This means that some positions are better than others–more informed, more responsive, more thoughtful, and so forth.
Who’d have thought twerking and tonguing Miley Cyrus would help us think this through. But she has provoked a variant of this debate. Is she a puppet of the system or expressing her right to make independent choices. See how this plays out at the interesting site Sociological Images by Lisa Wade:
At a party for university professors I recently attended, talk turned to identifying changes in student attitudes. I was taken by surprise when one colleague–who perhaps hasn’t raised children–offered the opinion that current students no longer respect let alone revere teachers and professors because these kids are on best-friend terms with their parents. What she was getting at, I think, is that the world of adults loses allure when young people gain easy access to it. She may also have meant that in taking on the role of friend many parents go on to coach their children not to take an uppity prof too seriously–“to put them in their pace” or “set them straight.”
Maybe there’s some of this at work .
Maybe friending and parenting are at odds, or allow for too much boundary fluidity. But I can’t think why teens and young adult children being friends is always a bad thing. Why couldn’t a mom in the role of “besty” pass on her memories of admiring a good teacher? Why couldn’t a dad pass along community-building advice about respecting others–maybe pointing out that teaching students can be a hard slog, that human misunderstandings are common.
How it applies here, to the issue of mommy blogging conduct? What comes to mind is that extreme positions make us more vulnerable to mistakes. If I am best friends with my kid, as a mom blogger I may feel free to write anything: we have no secrets, we have no separation, what’s mine is hers and same in reverse. On the other hand, if I am an old-fashioned parent who thinks I am the authority figure, as a mom blogger I might say that I own what’s yours–that I have, own and control you, as child and intellectual property. (When we say we “have” children, we may even inadvertently pick up this ownership paradigm).
So: apart from mulling over another application of borders and parenting, to see about shedding comparative light on blogging and setting limits, this reflection has helped me feel happy to unpack (and throw out) the wobbly theory that parents and children shouldn’t be friends!