Sunday, July 12, 2009

Debbie Rowe and the Expectations about Maternity

The media are swarming with discussions about why Debbie Rowe (the woman who gave birth to Michael Jackson's two eldest children) gave up her parental rights to him all thosse years ago. "Is it unfounded for Rowe to believe that she just couldn't win against Jackson?" asks Veronica Arreola and proceeds to discuss the age-old cliche about "the bond that is created while a woman is pregnant." She must be struggling very hard to fight against her maternal instincts, Michael Daly suggests:"Maybe she was just avoiding anything that might rouse maternal impulses. Maybe she quiets those impulses with her animals." Why is it so difficult for everybody to believe in the possibility that Rowe was telling the truth when she said that she had these children for Jackson and not for herself?

Of course, the idea that it's possible for a woman not to feel any "bond" or any "maternal impulse" that needs to be "quieted" is too hard to imagine for many people. Somehow, I never hear anybody screech about bonds and paternal impulses when fathers abandon their children. Nobody asks any questions if a man says he doesn't want children. If a woman does the same, though, the implication immediately is that she is somehow broken and needs to be analyzed and repaired.

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