Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist”

Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist”

This post of on combining art and motherhood made the rounds this past winter. There were a lot of responses, public and private. Two of the more recent responses made me feel like revisiting the issue:

1. The Divided Heart is a more honest exploration of what it’s like to be a mother and an artist. I’m sorry, but I think you are over-compensating and it shows. For decades, women have been quite open about how combining great art and motherhood is almost always an impossibility. One blog post on the matter from someone who sold one play is not going to convince society.

2. All due respect, Natalie [sic], but people like you lure promising artists towards breeding, and the results are almost always disastrous. I wonder if you’ll change your mind when your kid is on the therapist’s couch, discussing the ways in which mum neglected him so she could make her Art, and he almost certainly will be.

So to address all that:

Who the hell are you to argue that women can be both mothers and great artists? You’re nobody! But it’s not about me.

The idea that you can’t reconcile being a mother with being great artist is, today, a peculiarly Western concept. In many other parts of the world, women just get on with it.

One of Russia’s greatest poets, Anna Akhmatova, was a mother. Nobody goes around wringing their hands on her behalf. One of Russia’s greatest painters, Zinaida Serebriakova, was a mother – and, once again, people really didn’t make a big deal out of it. Continue reading “Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist””

I am not your monkey: on motherhood, art, and presumptuous bullshit

I am not your monkey: on motherhood, art, and presumptuous bullshit

The other day it happened again.

I was talking to a friend about the eternal issue of having kids/not having kids, when the friend said something like,

“I guess I just care too much about art and changing society for the better. Who has time for that when they have a child?”


“I mean, I guess you do, Natalia. Well, sort of, right? I assume you’d be able to do so much more with your life if you weren’t a mother.”


“I mean, there’s no harm in admitting it. Right? You don’t have to admit it publicly. You can admit it to me. Yes?”
Continue reading “I am not your monkey: on motherhood, art, and presumptuous bullshit”

Feminist Mommy Wars: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

picture from Babble.com
picture from Babble.com

This post is going to get heavy in a moment, but before we get in to all that, here’s a gratuitous picture of hot dad Hugh Jackman being hot whilst playing with one of his kids at the beach.

This picture fills me with all sorts of confusing, pervy feelings – do I want Hugh to BE my dad? Or just the dad to my future children? (With all due respect to his lovely wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, it’s very hard to resist the siren call of one’s reproductive organs when faced with pictures of Hugh Jackman. She knows what we’re all talking about. She did marry the guy.)

You know what’s nice about Hugh Jackman? The tallness. The legs. I think that men’s legs are unappreciated, both within the entertainment industry, and in general. I mean, sure, footballers have great legs, but it’s not like we’re supposed to notice, right? We’re always supposed to go for the chests.

Well, screw that. I’m a leg-woman. Always have been. And, on a related note, can I just say – THANK YOU, Hugh, for not waxing your chest. Waxed chests? Me no likey. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a naturally hairless chest (heloooo Orlando Bloom), but I just don’t see the point of waxing *sexy* hair off. It just fills me with sadness, that’s all. Others might disagree, but you can’t really argue about taste, now, can you?

Anyway, here comes the heavy stuff:

Famous Twisty, of Famous “I Blame the Patriarchy” Blog, is once again dispensing her wisdom on poor, clueless fembots in thrall to the almighty Cock. The latest? Don’t have babies, girls. Just hold yer horses until the Glorious Feminist Revolution rolls into town. Then we will have, like, “collectives” (oh how that word grates on my post-Soviet ear), and no nuclear families, and we will all live on Twisty’s ranch in happy harmony, complete with free wireless and duffle coats for all. Or something.

You know what? Fuck that. Continue reading “Feminist Mommy Wars: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss”

To the Mothers

Kim recently wrote about the side of motherhood that no one really talks about, and what a soldier you have to be to endure it.

There isn’t a Mother’s Day card out there that says: “Thanks, mom! You love me even though they had to sew up your vajayjay up after I came out of it! You love me even though your boobs drooped after you breastfed me! You love me even though I gave you stretchmarks and hemorrhoids and post-partum depression!”

We gloss over what really happens to women during pregnancy and childbirth – not only because the reality can be pretty damn scary, but also because so many people just don’t want admit how badass mothers really are. It clashes horribly with their idea of baking cookies. For others, it just clashes horribly with their idea of how women giving birth is terribly anti-feminist and dainty and sparkly and whatever. Both groups suck.