Is Elisabeth Badinter’s European Best Seller The Conflict Modern Anti-feminism?

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In less than 2 weeks, the controversial European best seller The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women will be released in the United States. The well known feminist author, Elisabeth Badinter is already under fire for her extreme views of modern motherhood, what she considers as “a spreading cult of motherhood fundamentalism.”  Badinter believes attachment parenting victimizes women more than men ever have. Though, Badinter isn’t the first to claim attachment parenting confines women to their children.

Here is a the blurb about the book from Amazon:

“Elisabeth Badinter has for decades been in the vanguard of the European fight for women’s equality. Now, in an explosive new book, she points her finger at a most unlikely force undermining the status of women: liberal motherhood, in thrall to all that is “natural.” Attachment parenting, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and especially breast-feeding—these hallmarks of contemporary motherhood have succeeded in tethering women to the home and family to an extent not seen since the 1950s. Badinter argues that the taboos now surrounding epidurals, formula, disposable diapers, cribs—and anything that distracts a mother’s attention from her offspring—have turned childrearing into a singularly regressive force.

In sharp, engaging prose, Badinter names a reactionary shift that is intensely felt but has not been clearly articulated until now, a shift that America has pioneered. She reserves special ire for the orthodoxy of the La Leche League—an offshoot of conservative Evangelicalism—showing how on-demand breastfeeding, with all its limitations, curtails women’s choices. Moreover, the pressure to provide children with 24/7 availability and empathy has produced a generation of overwhelmed and guilt-laden mothers—one cause of the West’s alarming decline in birthrate.

A bestseller in Europe, The Conflict is a scathing indictment of a stealthy zealotry that cheats women of their full potential.”

Does it make you as angry as it did me?

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3 Responses to “Is Elisabeth Badinter’s European Best Seller The Conflict Modern Anti-feminism?”

  1. The Mommy Psychologist says:

    As someone who has had a book published, I have to weigh in on this. The blurb from the book was not written by Badinter. It is words used by someone in Amazon’s marketing department. And because they want to sell books, they use as inflammatory statements as they can in order to garner reactions that will help them to sell books. So far, it’s working. I would hold off making judgments about the book until I had actually read the book.

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.”
    http://www.themommypsychologist.com

  2. I completely understand what you are saying Mommy Psychologist. But I also read articles about Badinter (great one published by the New Yorker) as well as book reviews before I wrote the story so I could see all angles. I’m not sure I would want to waste my time reading the book after reading her comments.

  3. bc says:

    I agree with the premise of the book as written… IF women who choose these things (nursing, cosleeping, baby wearing, etc) do it to the exclusion of THEMSELVES. however. I did many of these things for somewhat selfish reasons.
    I chose to breastfeed because it was easier than sterilizing bottles and cheaper than formula… AND better for my baby.
    I cosleep not because I have to but because I can… and i don’t have to FIGHT every night about bedtime.
    I wore my baby (and wish I still could) because I don’t want to walk at a snails pace, and didn’t have to worry about my child running in front of traffic.
    and because I of all those things I could take my daughter to a play or a concert, or get on an airplane(and stick a nipple in her mouth if she cried) without getting kicked out for bringing “drinks” into the theatre.
    These practices liberated me to be both a better mother AND a feminist.
    However… I also couldn’t afford a babysitter for the first year, so I didn’t get to go out very often… this lack of regularity meant that my girl lost the ability/willingness to take bottle on occasion. I think if I had given her a bottle once a day “on principal” it would have been better, simply so that I COULD go out if I needed to.. as it was… when I needed to, she got hungry for a couple of hours… oh well. (and I mean OH WELL… it wasn’t days, it was hours. if she’d been really hungry, she’d have taken the bottle, or a cloth dipped in formula)
    The best way to parent is one in where there is compassion for both the parent AND the child. a child needs to know that they are special… a parent should have learned that S/HE is special when S/HE was a child… we all matter, and we all count. and sometimes duty to the family is more important than duty to the child.

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