Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Style Trumps All

In Truth Behind the Mommy Wars I write about how motherhood issues get bumped to the style section, when we should be front page news. The fashion of motherhood trumps apparently boring issues like the huge wage gap we face, or how hard it is to find decent part time work when we want it, or how little support most working mother get, or most any mother, for that matter. I write particularly about the New York Times, and how horrible this newspaper's coverage of motherhood has been, yes, the paper of record that's brought us "opt out revolution" instead of noticing how mothers get squeezed out of the workplace, and this spring introduced us to the awful phrase "issue fatigue" by which it meant that elite ny types are just tired of talking about mothers' frustrations. The rest of us still face them, of course, but urban sophisticates who control the gateways to media find them boring and fatigue-inducing.

I had meant to write a week ago about the newest NYT offering. They take away our female columnists, they don't cover our ongoing issues, but because the lives of socialite mothers are ever so fascinating, we do get a long article about super affluent mothers and the new, members-only gym for mothers and their kids, complete with spa services so that being a mom never means that you can't get a pedicure when you need one. To see the article you need to buy it from the archive, but here's the cite, just in case. Call me grumpy. I like a pedicure every so often too, but honestly, next to real issues like finding good daycare, affording it, more control over work conditions and pay, doesn't that pale? Can't we do our own toes after the kids are in bed at night? And thanks, New York Times, for once again showing us how little regard you have for women and mothers, unless that is, we've inherited huge amounts of money, or married very wealthy men. Thanks for putting us on the style page, that really helps us all, doesn't it now.


landismom said...

Well, you've got time to read the Times style section, so you're doing better than me! (just kidding--seriously though, I feel like I should cancel our Sunday Times subscription, as it goes so often unread).

I think the real problem is that the Times isn't written for 'regular' moms, and so it doesn't cover their issues. The papers that do try to write to that demographic (the Daily News springs to mind) seem to not want to write about larger social issues, but just daily events. It's a difficult bind for those of us trying to raise awareness for working class issues.

Miriam Peskowitz said...

That's a really interesting point, you've put it well, where is the media that will raise these issues, something that's geared toward real issues that workers face, but will take on the broader social issues that we used to think our nation's more "intellectual" venues would attend toward. Lately, I've been casting about, without luck yet, for magazines and newspapers that nurture my values. The one's that come into our house, say, the atlantic monthly, hone closer and closer into stereotypically elite issues like soaring real estate, and college entrance mania (not to mention preschool mania, elementary school mania, etc.)

BostonMommyBlog said...

I read this piece in the NYT as well, about "exclusive" mommy and baby clubs for the very affluent. Several weeks ago (or maybe it was a couple months ago, I'm not sure) I read a piece in the paper labeling stay-at-home moms as the newest "luxury," portraying those who are at home with kids as reveling in a luxiourious lifestyle. In my little corner of the world, at-home parenting isn't about lattes and pedicures while the nanny watches the wee ones. These pieces just don't reflect the reality of at-home parents.

greg from daddytypes said...

Technically, only one club in the NYT article is "exclusive," or at least members-only. The others mentioned are open to anyone who pays for a class or who pays a monthly fee, like a gym.

And you can read the article for free at this link. I think they're taking applications. heh.

Anonymous said...

Don't read the Times. Seriously - don't. It's not that good a paper. It's standards have plummeted over the past few years. It's still got quite a few prestige columnists, but more and more often the articles stray into editorializing instead of fact reporting. (The Op-Ed page itself long ago ditched facts as any kind of standard.) And now they want to charge for access to their archives? Why bother? The Washington Post's reporting is just as good and the website is better designed. And the uber-wealthy elitism is absent. So just say No.