It's funny how you write something and several days later you get proof for the point you were trying to make. In my recent post about C-section, I mentioned the patriarchal nature of the idea that women should suffer a lot during labor. And almost immediately an article appeared in Daily Mail highlighting the views of precisely this kind of chauvinism: "Dr Walsh, associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, criticised the ‘epidural epidemic’ sweeping the NHS, and said maternity units should abandon routine pain relief and embrace a ‘working with pain’ approach."
Why should women engage in this king of masochistic practices? Because without experiencing pain, they wouldn't be able to become good mothers: "Because anaesthetic drugs undermine the mother’s bond with her baby, an expert said yesterday. Dr Denis Walsh said the agony of labour should be considered a ‘rite of passage’ and a ‘purposeful, useful thing’. The pain prepared women for the demands of motherhood, he argued." Once again, there is no discussion of how to prepare men for the demands of fatherhood. Either the suggestion is that men don't need a bond with their children (childrearing being part of the lowly female realm), or Walsh believes that men have a different, pain-free way of establishing such a bond.