In Case You Missed It…

March 24, 2006

•Code Pink will hold an anti-Iraq war protest on Mother’s Day. (Thank you, Hillary!) I am glad that Code Pink recognizes that mothers are feminists, too. It’s important we don’t forget the many mothers who won’t have their children on this special day.  

•One grieving mother — unrelated to the war! — had an interesting perspective against gender selection in Newsweek’s “My Turn” column.

I accept the good and the bad that comes with living in a wealthy suburb like mine. I can handle the Stepford sameness, but I think engineering families might just be too greedy. I thought about it some more and spun the usual pros and cons of gender selection to the right and to the left till I was just plain dizzy. Through my ethical vertigo, I discovered what was bothering me: the doctor was using his medical degree to perpetuate the myth that happy families have an equal number of boys and girls.

•The New York Times featured Chinese children adopted by white American families. Now that the first generation of Chinese adoptees are headed for college, we are getting a glimpse at how they are dealing with dual-cultures and identities.

•Garance Franke-Ruta, who wrote an American Prospect article highlighting the fact that 83 percent of abortion op-ed pieces in the New York Times are written by men, wrote another thoughtful column for Salon’s Broadsheet. She explained why it was important for women to articulate their opinions on abortion.

As I wrote in the Washington Monthly a year ago, nearly every values controversy in American life is, at core, a conflict over how men and women should relate to each other. And to the extent that only male liberals and centrists are called upon to defend the liberal or centrist perspective on choice issues and related questions, they are sure to fight a losing battle, because their arguments, while potentially clever, well reasoned and thoughtful, nonetheless lack certain insights and perspectives that can be found among (and compellingly articulated by) those with a different biology and experience of society.

•Here’s an article to contribute to Mommy Guilt: The Boston Globe ran a piece about how some pediatricians are outraged that Sesame Street is now targeting children under the age of three with its new “Zero to Three” DVD.

Pediatrician Donald Shifrin, spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said ”Sesame Beginnings” hurts Zero to Three’s credibility. ”We wouldn’t be commenting on this if it were strictly a commercial venture,” he said. ”Having the imprimatur of an organization like Zero to Three on a DVD may well be the tipping point for parents who would have been inclined to resist the pull of media for young children. This may be what pushes them over the fence, to say, ‘Well, it must be good.’ The fact that it’s this organization, that’s a disappointment.”

Really? Because my reaction was the opposite — Bring it on! At least it’s not a DVD distributed by the Cartoon Network. Dr. Shifrin, here’s a reality check: Even educated mothers like me who had every intention to keep her two-year-old son away from TV as a baby, welcomed the old tube as a Godsend. Otherwise, when was I supposed to get any downtime?