Motherhood Madness: Why Mums are Not Really Mums

There was an extremely bizarre article in the Australian recently (May 11, 2007). It was about mothers and Mother’s Day, except the whole gist of the article was that mothering really has nothing to do with mothers. Yes, that’s right. Anyone can mother, and anyone can be a mother.

Thus the old dictionary definition of a mother as a female parent (a woman who has children) has to go. Instead, we need to think outside the biological box, these authors claim, and see a whole new world of what motherhood means.

Confused? I certainly am. Indeed, it is hard to know what to make of the convoluted argument by Giuliana Fuscaldo and Sarah Russell in “Mother of all myths that only mums mother”. A few representative quotes set the stage:  “[Y]ou don’t need your own kids to mother.” Indeed, to suggest that a mother is a woman who has children is to “perpetuate the myth that motherhood is defined by biology, breast feeding and buckets of nappies”.

In fact, a “child can have many mothers”. Moreover, with “so many women mothering, why limit Mother’s Day lunch to only one mum?” The authors argue that we should “acknowledge that there are lots of ways to mother and place less emphasis on biological definitions of mothering”.

It is certainly clear that they are claiming that mothers are not necessary to mothering. Presumably then parents are not necessary for parenting. Nor are Prime Ministers needed for Prime Ministership, nor football coaches for football coaching, etc. Anyone can do anything, or be anything, they seem to be arguing.

What all this nonsense is, it seems to me, is just an exercise in verbal engineering, designed to result in social engineering. The authors are trying to convince us that the biological two-parent family is just a social construct, and that any sort of relationship is just as good, even for the well-being of children.

Never mind the 10,000 plus social science studies from the past 30 years that tell us the exact opposite: that family structure very much does matter, and children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father. They want to overlook the mountain of data on this issue, and confuse us with their silly little word games.

Indeed, anyone familiar with the agendas of the radical feminists and homosexual lobby will instantly recognise what is going on here. It is an attempt to radically redefine the nature of family, and to convince us that gender is simply a social construct. Such people argue that there are far more than just two genders: many claim that there are eight or ten different genders. And plenty of different sexualities as well.

Thus one can be a homosexual today, a transgendered person tomorrow, a bi-sexual the next week, and so on. One can be male today, female tomorrow, and some other permutation the next day. Sexuality and gender are fluid and changing, with no biological basis whatsoever. Notice the number of times the authors try to poo-poo the idea that motherhood has anything to do with biology.

One certainly suspects an agenda is being pushed here. Indeed, the Australian was very coy about who these authors in fact are. This is how they are described: “Giuliana Fuscaldo has two daughters and Sarah Russell sometimes mothers them”. I leave it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions as to what that might mean.

Wherever the authors are actually coming from, the whole thrust of the article tries to point to one conclusion: motherhood has nothing to do with mothers, and anyone can be a mother. Children will be just fine with any sort of parental arrangement. Whether it is no mum, or six mums, or a committee, it all qualifies as family, and it does no harm to kids at all. This is the standard argument of homosexual activists and the radical feminists, as they attempt to dismantle the family altogether by redefining it out of existence.

What these authors are really doing is simply playing word games here. Indeed, after reading this curious circus of words, one is reminded of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

Humpty Dumpty: When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.
Alice: The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things.
Humpty Dumpty: The question is: which is to be master – that’s all.

The authors are so intent on arguing that mums can be anything anyone wants them to be, one might as well argue that mums can be dads, and dads can be mums. Oops, sorry – that is exactly what the homosexual activists have already been arguing.

Social engineering is always preceded by verbal engineering, and this is one of the better examples to have appeared in the mainstream media in recent times.

One has to ask: why is the Australian so intent on redefining the family, and pushing alternative lifestyles? If that is not the intention, then why in the world did they print this atrocious piece? So much for the theory that the Australian is somehow part of a so-called right-wing media.

This is the sort of piece one would expect to find in numerous far left publications. It is a pity that a national newspaper should sink to such lows and succumb to such outright foolishness and lunacy.,20867,21708556-7583,00.html

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15 Replies to “Motherhood Madness: Why Mums are Not Really Mums”

  1. Maybe the word games could be extended to include children and “mothers” exchanging roles. The children might have more common sense.
    John Nelson

  2. Dear Bill, This article from Lisa Nollan has recently appeared on the Anglican Mainstream Web site. I hope you don’t mind if I pass it on Quotable Quotes: May 2007
    Saturday May 12th 2007, 11:34 am
    Filed under: From Lisa’s Lookout Link to: this post
    ‘As philosopher the thing that strikes me most is the brilliant strategy of the gay marriage movement. Like Orwell in 1984 it sees that the main battlefield is language. If they can redefine a key term like ‘marriage’ they win. Control the language and you control thought; control thought and you control action; control action and you control the world.’
    Peter Kreeft, ‘Boston College Observer’, April 2004.

    ‘”There’s glory for you!”
    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory’,” Alice said.
    “I meant, ‘There’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    Lewis Carroll, ‘Through the Looking-Glass’, (1872), chapter 6.

    ‘Who is not necessary to raise a child, the father or the mother?’
    Jordan Lorence, February 2006,

    ‘Evil people exploit good people by persuading them that is wrong to call evil by its names. Perhaps the greatest challenge now facing Christians is, even while remaining conscious of the fact that absolutely everyone stands under judment, to see evil for what it is.’
    James Hitchcock, ‘Touchstone’, April 2006.

    ‘The sexual revolution brought a return of the unbridled pagan male. The “sexually free” male is the ideal of today’s society. Anglican ethicist Dr Stephen M. Smith identifies him as the Short Term Male (STM). “You know who he is; he has a thousand faces. He is the fabulously popular rock singer. He is Dean Martin trying to get any good looking woman he can to ‘give in’ to him in the 50’s movies. He is Robert Redford in ‘Out of Africa’ who occasionally drops in but refuses to create a future and family with Meryl Streep … He is also by far the main occupant of all our jails. He can fight at soccer matches in Europe and like Sam Malone on ‘Cheers’ is always alive to sexual opportunities.”‘ (Smith, ‘Mission and Ministry’, 1991)
    Mario Bergner, ‘Turning the Unbridled Pagan Male into a Family Man’, ‘Redeemed Lives News’, Spring 2007.

    ‘We should also consider the fact that in just over one generation we have been shifted from a society in which homosexual acts were a crime under the then existing law, to a society in which homosexual acts have become a government-protected and fostered activity, while voicing criticism of it “publicly” has become the crime. Call it by any name you like, but this is Thought Crime. As Orwell predicted, we have arrived at a situation in which “some of us are more equal than others”‘.
    (Canadian) Michael D. O’Brien, ‘Same-Sex “Marriage”, “Hate Crimes,” and the New Totalitarianism’, 28 February 2005,

    ‘The rich can afford their vices, for a time anyway; the poor have no such margin for comfort. They are, in fact, endangered by the vices of the rich …
    If you see a young man from one of our own Esquiline districts, with pants sagging two feet beneath his torso and face studded with pins and trinkets, looking for all the world as if only his lack of ambition prevents him from slipping a knife into someone’s back, you should consider him an excellent student. He has learned the slack self-gratification that the rich and the middle class have taught.’
    Anthony Esolen, ‘Filthy Rich: The Unnoticed Gift of Trickle-Down Decadence’, ‘Touchstone’, March 2007.

    ‘Marriage cannot be arbitrarily redefined without undermining society’s commitment to (it) … Marriage defined as anything becomes nothing at all. This would be analogous to awarding every player in college football the Heisman Trophy … which recognizes the best collegiate football player … In the same way, marriage redefined to accommodate a multitude of relationships also becomes meaningless.’
    S Michael Craven, ‘Why is Marriage Important?’ May 2006.

    David Skinner

  3. The attack on the solid family unit (involving both a mother and father) is increasingly blatantly obvious and malicious. If people want something to be changed, the credible way of doing so must be to go back to its origins.

    Before the rise of technology, a family unit consisted of one mum, one dad, and the kids. People could only have these children with the union of a father and mother. The intention of the couple joining together in marriage was to procreate. When society wants to change the foundations of these intentions, one can only grimace at the damage to society these changes will have.

    Natalie Remedios

    Commentators and those in positions of responsibility and influence who are still capable of discerning that something is going dreadfully wrong with the next generation are beginning to ask questions: Is the solution for our children better education, citizenship lessons, smaller class sizes, more nursery care, compulsory and state directed parenting lessons, better housing, increased welfare, recreational facilities, redistribution of wealth, better apprenticeship schemes and even more state intervention. But what those in positions of power and influence refuse to acknowledge is that children need something that none of the above can supply. A sense of belonging, identity, affirmation, security, stability and an ability to relate to and appreciate masculinity and femininity , to be able to achieve manhood and womanhood….. none of these can be legislated for or supplied by any state funded agency; they can only be supplied in the home. .A strong country is not one regulated by legislation that automatically assumes no one can be trusted, or that in order to control its population it needs an oppressive police force. It is one where children are reared in a family made up of mother and father that children learn simple things like courtesy, community , trust, loyalty, self- control and the ability to put the needs of others in front of one’s own – no where else. A heterosexual, monogamous and enduring marriage has always been the prerequisite for raising healthy, sane, balanced , caring , respectful and responsible citizens. Is no one in government willing to see the correlation between the disappearance of such marriages and the present nihilistic behaviour of our children?

    But going further, it is the distinctly Christian based family that has been the basic building block for western European civilisation. The Christian family mirrors Christ’s relationship with the Church. The family is the environment in which this personal relationship is transmitted directly from one generation to another. Christ and the Church model the new relationship between God and man. Husband and wife in turn model that relationship to their children. It is here that discipline, order, boundaries, forgiveness, an appreciation for beauty and truth, security, solidarity, stability, justice, purity, righteousness and sacrificial love are practised. This is not some private, mystical notion, unrelated to the so-called realities of everyday living, but one having immeasurable practical consequence.

    David Skinner

  5. What I really wanted to say is what the Roman Catholic Church have been saying for a long time (read Bishop Henry from Canada) who seem to be the only outfit standing up to the secularists, and that is that the very atom, the basic element of society, is the family. Destroy that and you destroy society. Churches, in my view, ought to scrap their courses on Marriage and instead concentrate on the Family; scrap their leadership courses and concentrate on making fathers leaders of their families.
    David Skinner

  6. You’ve hit the nail on the head Bill. Although you can’t pinpoint the exact agenda underlying Fuscaldo’s article, there’s certainly one there. This seems to be the case with all of those attempting to redefine the roles of mothers, fathers and the family unit.

    Mothers are mothers. Do we really need to make an exhaustive list of what they are not in order to defend our families from minority agendas?

    Luke Beattie

  7. Clearly predicted and thoroughly lampooned by Gilbert & Sullivan in “Gondoliers” Act 2:

    In short, whoever you may be,
    To this conclusion you’ll agree,
    When every one is somebodee,
    Then no one’s anybody!

    Now that’s as plain as plain can be,
    To this conclusion we agree–

    When every one is somebodee,
    Then no one’s anybody!

    John Angelico

  8. We have faith in our marriages and the passing of part of us as men and women to our children. Our mingled souls become their souls and mothers are an essential element in this age old process.
    Peter Rice

  9. Dear Bill,
    I am surprised and saddened to read your comment that the election of a Labor Govt could be deleterious for the family. There is simply no evidence of this. On the contrary, Kevin Rudd, whom I have known as a fellow-member of my church (when I was a layman) is a believing Christian. He has made no bones about his faith and is on the public record as a Christian (ABC-TV program ‘Compass’ and other programs). In his Party he is known (and by some even resented) as too public a Christian. So what else must a Christian who is the alternative Prime Minister of Australia need to do to avoid unsubstantiated and therefore unfair comments by opponents bent on damaging his public persona? I grieve for the cause of truth in our public life..
    Rev James Houston

  10. It is all about complementarity. Red is only red when placed against its complementary colour green. Men have only themselves to blame by reliquishing their God-given role of husbanding and fathering. If Christian men took responsiblity for the spiritual leadership of their families , instead of giving it to youth leaders and women vicars and ministers, women would once more become women of God. Perhaps we need some courses on how men can once more assume the spiritual authority in their homes.
    David Skinner

  11. Thanks James
    But given that I mention neither Rudd nor Labor in this post, you have me baffled. I of course am thankful he is a Christian. I never said he was not. But that is not the end of the matter. Many might find problematic his Christian socialism. And just because a party leader is a Christian does not mean the whole party is therefore pro-family. There are many elements in the Labor Party that are decidedly anti-family. I have discussed these issues elsewhere on this website.
    And you will be hard-pressed to find any evidence of me being “bent on damaging his public persona”. So as I say, you have me quite confused as to what you are getting at here.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  12. Maybe James OAM is thinking of some of the comments on this blog in various places rather than what Bill has written above. He asks “So what else must a Christian who is the alternative Prime Minister of Australia need to do to avoid unsubstantiated and therefore unfair comments by opponents bent on damaging his public persona?” I would answer that a good start would be if he started talking like someone with a biblical worldview rather than like a humanistic socialist.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  13. Let’s see whether Rudd is Socialist Redd, or Christian Kev by have him present anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-drug, anti-union, anti-secularism policies as part of the ALP platform for the next federal election.

    Would he survive the socialist calls for his blood that would follow? No.
    That’s because he is only a figurehead in the ALP, a token but never-the-less expendable ‘good guy.’ The real agenda is from the Fabian Socialists that control the party, its policies, preselections and ultimately those who are meant to represent electors.

    Michael Evans

  14. Isn’t it funny how the secular community seems to assert both that homosexuality is a genetic condition rather than a lifestyle choice and that gender is not biological but merely a social construct? Confused yet?
    Georgia Akin

  15. Something somewhere has caused many women to not want to be mothers. Yes they want the freedom of the sexual encounter but not the occasional outcome.
    The fact that motherhood can be one of the most blessed and fullfilling repsonsibilities ever given to a human has been lost to the attractions of the sophisticated single girl. Instead of being a wonderful endowment pregnancy is not viewed as the modern place to be. Perhaps if we consider that all too few mothers have the full opportunity to give it the full time iattention it deserves then perhaps we could blame it on the introduction of the working mother. It may certainly be possible to draw a case for the decline of the family.
    Basically child care should not be an option. At least one parent should be able to take on what is essentially that of a full time job.
    After our marriage I made a pact with my wife that I would provide for her one way or the other until the children had grown up so that her love and support was allways available in my absence. During that time my wife furthered her teaching qualifications and now provides greater financial support than I.
    (Still someone has to mow the lawn).

    Family raising in this often selfish world has to be a joint production in marriage with equal commitment for the sake of our kids.

    Dennis Newland

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