chapter  7
12 Pages


A woman is a person. She may bear children; she may not. She may rear children; she may not. She may be deeply concerned about the lives o f children or she may not, whether or not she is a mother. Yet since the nineteenth century, m otherhood has been seen as the reason for women’s existence. The collapse o f woman­ hood into motherhood, I have argued, is inaccurate and morally unacceptable. Maternalism splits the category “woman” into good and bad, successful and failed, based on the primary reproductive role. And maternalist ideology is employed to defend an unjust patriarchal organization o f private and social life which disempowers mothers and not-m others alike.