Saturday, 29 March 2014

She Mucks You Up, Your Mum

I'm terribly confused by Giles Fraser's piece with a Mothering Sunday theme.

Obviously, using quotations from Larkin gives our Giles the chance to be all sweary, like a proper radical vicar. And quoting a whingeing poet from the early 70s lets him get down with the kids an' all.

But the miserable Hull librarian's poem was about both mums and dads - whereas Giles Fraser homes in on the mums alone as the source of a child's developing woes.

I don't know whether this is Giles Fraser's expectation of family life. I mean, families do come in all varieties these days. And mostly they muddle through regardless. And we've not declined into Civil War yet. And I realise that there are many one-parent families in this country, and mostly they have a mother rather than father raising the children.

But is Giles taking that as the norm? Or even as an ideal? Maybe in Giles Fraser's Utopian vision, fathers are as drones in the bee world. Perhaps he thinks that, having planted their seed, as it were, they have no more use. And since, unlike drones, men don't have the decency to drop dead after the deed is done - then they should just clear off out of their children's lives - spending their time watching Sky Sports down the pub, or working as Guardian columnists, while the mothers get on with the important job of messing up 40% of their children's lives.

It's an odd little piece, but quite an achievement, to blame women while denigrating men. You could say it's narrowly gendered.

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