lunes, 22 de febrero de 2010
Filósofa francesa ve ciertas campañas como retroceso para las mujeres
French philosopher says feminism under threat from 'good motherhood'
Ecologists, breastfeeding advocates and behavioural specialists making women 'slave to their children', says Elisabeth Badinter
Elisabeth Badinter says French model of motherhood facing threat from 'dangerous' new brand of thought which seeks to keep women at home. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features
To many, they are the wonder women of Europe: the Gallic mothers who juggle work and babies with an effortless cool and help keep France a beacon of fertility on an ever-greying continent.
But, according to one leading feminist, the French model of motherhood is facing an unprecedented threat from a "dangerous" new brand of thought which seeks to keep women at home and make them the slaves of their children.
Elisabeth Badinter, 65, a prominent author and philosopher, declared this week that France was at a turning point in its attitude towards female emancipation.
Thanks to a new coalition of ecologists, breastfeeding advocates and behavioural specialists, she argued, young women are facing increasing pressure to be perfect mothers who adhere to strict guidelines for how to care for their babies.
If this "regressive" movement takes hold, French feminism could be set back decades, she argued.
"The majority of French women [now] reconcile maternity with professional life. Many of them work full-time when they have a child. They are resisting the model of the perfect mother, but for how long?" Badinter said in an interview with Libération newspaper. "I get the impression that we may now be at a turning point."
Such views – in her new book, Conflict, Women and Mothers, published today – have seen Badinter plunged into the boiling cauldron that is contemporary French feminist thought.
Attacked by her critics as out of touch with the new generation she is attempting to salvage, Badinter has stuck to her guns. She says that the new image of the "ideal mother" – one who breastfeeds for six months, does not rush to return to full-time work, avoids painkillers in childbirth, rejects disposable nappies and occasionally lets her baby sleep in her bed – makes impossible demands on any woman who has a life outside of her child.
"'Good motherhood' imposes new duties that weigh heavily on those who do not keep to them. It contravenes the model we have worked for until now [and] which makes equality of the sexes impossible and women's freedom irrelevant. It is a step backwards," she said.
Cecilé Duflot, the 35-year-old mother of four children who leads the French Green party, reacted angrily to suggestions that feeding her children organic broccoli and washing nappies made her regressive.
"She is completely wrong … The examples she uses totally miss the point," Duflot said in a radio interview.
In support of Badinter, Sabine Salmon, president of the association Femmes Solidaires, said that during school visits over the past two years her employees had noticed more and more French schoolgirls expressing a desire to stay at home. "It's a very worrying indicator," she said.
Women in France, which has a fertility rate of 2.0 compared with Britain's 1.8 and Germany's 1.4, have, in recent decades, been discouraged from seeing maternity as their sole raison d'etre.