I’ve been so excited by the thought of having a baby these past few months that I haven’t given myself permission to think about the big cultural impacts of me having a child. Two things have lately worried me a lot, they were of course always there on the back burner but now they have moved from being abstract ideas to concrete dilemmas.
Yesterday at the doc’s office, J and I played a stupid game of flipping through the parenting magazine and counting the different ethnicities represented in the ads and what started out as a really silly game turned disturbing, when we found 5 ads in a magazine with nearly a 100 pages of advertisements that had non white babies or toddlers. Especially weird, given the cover story was “How to raise a color blind child.” It disturbs me on a lot of levels to think that my child will never see someone who looks remotely like him on mainstream media. I know things are changing but I didn’t realize how slow the change. Interestingly, internet magazines, blogs and alternative media outlets seem a lot more culturally and racially inclusive. So, yes, I could be that parent that avoids mainstream media and only exposes myself to niche outlets but it seems rather escapist to me. Also the lack of any mention of father or picture of fathers in these magazines. Why, dear god? We are in the 21st century? Most new fathers I know are quite involved in their children’s lives and actually have very strong preferences when it comes to consuming baby products, why wouldn’t these magazines reach out to them? Why is there still such a rejection of modern families, but an archaic, idealistic desire for traditional roles?
The second thing that has been scaring me is the new mommy wars which has expanded into a parent vs non parent battle. I have nothing against people who choose to be child free, hell I probably will start to envy them but I am a little worried about all this cultural hate towards mothers. I understand that babies crying or fussing might be annoying to others who don’t have them but am I really expected to give up all adult pleasures simply because I have an infant? Then won’t I get tagged with the classification that I have no other interests than children? How am I supposed to win.
I know I can’t really do anything about these things now, so maybe it is best I don’t dwell on them too much, but sometimes a girl just has to vent.