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This piece, “I’m Not A ‘Mother First’” by Jessica Valenti, dropped on The Nation a few weeks ago and has been making the rounds on the feminist blogosphere. In it, Valenti takes to task the idea of mothers claiming their identity as moms ahead of anything else – the idea that if you’re a good mother, you should want to claim your mom identity before claiming your identity as a lawyer, a feminist, an avid knitter, or a person who loves classical music. She posits the following:

Accepting this role without argument or critique also reinforces political inequity, assuring the powers that be that women can be satiated with political table scraps. If raising children is “reward enough,” there’s no need for paid parental leave or subsidized child care. “Fulfillment” becomes a stand in for structural support, parental joy for actual change.

I very much agree with this idea, but I also think that at this point, the arguments of whether we should identify as moms first or whether we want to work shouldn’t even register as Women’s Issues 101 talking points. Dwelling on this allows everyone to settle on a fight that has very little consequence in the broader scheme of things, and allows everyone to ignore the actual issues that mothers — especially mothers of color — have to deal with.

[hyphenmagazine; asian, america unabridged]