These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

"Speaking as a mother ..."

Does that phrase qualify any woman with any special abilities of perception or understanding of ... anything? Why do people believe that by giving birth, having children, nurturing small humans that they are any more qualified than any other person to spout forth on any topic?

Many women have used this phrase to dismiss the opinions of other people – especially childless women. All the hearer gets is an opinion that the speaker is being reactionary and possibly unethical. Using one’s status as a mother cannot usually justify any personal claims to knowledge on any subject: for example, the distribution of AIDS medication in sub-Saharan Africa, or the deployment of troops into Afghanistan, or the veracity of presidential comments regarding the deforestation of the Amazon.

It is true that motherhood does open you up to a whole range of particular experiences, fears, hopes and expectations from yourself and those immediately around you and your brood, however, being an adult carer for the younger generation is not a magical key to worldwide knowledge.

Speaking as a mother is generally regarded as a euphemism for someone who has abandoned all vestiges of rational thought and regards everything outside of their immediate control as the evil “other” that needs to be eliminated without further ado. I wonder what would happen to people’s credibility if they all started sentences with “Speaking as a ...”? Would the bedrock of society crumble and people start wailing in the streets?

Speaking as a ...cyclist I believe that motivating and encouraging people allows them to develop and grow.”

Speaking as a ...stonemason I know that it is essential to situate the bath and the shower in close proximity to each other.”

Speaking as a ...teacher I promise to build bridges even where no rivers exist.”

Speaking as a ...plumber I believe that with the right bike, training and confidence you can ride on any terrain.”

Speaking as a ...fisherman I know that learning the formulae for the equations will help you in the examinations.”

Speaking as a ...politician I am sure that if you strike a stone often it is better than if you strike it once very hard.”

Speaking as a ...writer I believe that with the right bait you can catch a fish, land it, clean it and eat it in a short period of time.”

You get my drift I’m sure... speaking as a mother, I mean.


P.D. Gourlais said...

I believe that mothers to have a special voice in this world. This is an interesting "thread" to pursue on your blog. Mothers have an experience that other human beings who are not mothers do not have. I wish more people considered mothers a voice of authority. This world would be a better place if the words of mothers were not only "spouted" but heard.

I don't think it's necessarily "worldwide knowledge" that gives mothers their claim but perhaps their intuitive, god-given connection to nature and spirit that makes mothers so special.

Speaking as a childless woman, I feel I have wisdom but that mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers have perhaps a wisdom that I cannot know since biology does afford them a special seat/throne on this earth.

I think one thing you're pointing to is the several costumes that the ego does wear. Motherhood is also a role not only an event that happens in the lives of women.

So speaking as anyone, really, could be an excuse to exclude others or elevate one's self to the point that it's harmful to society and to the rest of humanity.

I think this happens often and perhaps that's why it's on your mind and in your thoughts?

There are a lot of meglomaniacs in many disguises. We must find a way to pick out the wise ones over the ignorant ones.

Great post Marj!

Much love,

Marj said...


Thank you so much for your comments. I do hope that you get to read the post I started writing today that veered into this one!

It will be here tomorrow.

You have such clarity of mind and voice and I am always pleased that you take the time to stop by... and comment.

Thank you again.

M xx

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