Monday, February 28, 2011

The Greatest Role of All: Motherhood, Feminism, and Natalie Portman

Last night at the Oscars, Natalie Portman was giving her acceptance speech for Best Actress when she thanked "my beautiful love, Benjamin Millepied who choreographed the film and has now given me the most important role of my life" - motherhood.  It was a beautiful moment, but this Salon writer, Mary Elizabeth Williams, found Portman's words "jarring."  She got the creepy-crawlies at the thought of motherhood.  She doesn't like it when people:

refer[] to motherhood as the most important thing a woman can possibly do ... is motherhood really a greater role than being secretary of state or a justice on the Supreme Court?  Is reproduction automatically the greatest thing Natalie Portman will do with her life? 

Well, I happen to agree that motherhood is Portman's most important role.  But we're not talking about a woman secretary of state or justice, we're talking about an actress.  And because she's an actress, the term "role" is quite literal.  Portman has played many parts in her young career, from Queen Amidala to Anne Boleyn to Nina Sayers in Black Swan for which she won her award for Best Actress in a Lead ROLE.  So, yes, I would say Mother is far more important a role to play than any of these characters.  And good for her for saying so!

But the Slate author just doesn't get it:

Why, at the pinnacle of one's professional career, would a person feel the need to undercut it by announcing that there's something else even more important? Even if you feel that way, why downplay your achievement
Wow, really?  She begrudges Portman for having the humility to acknowledge that there are things in this world bigger and more important than - GASP - acting?!

Interestingly enough, the writer quotes Annette Bening as an example of - well, actually, I'm not sure WHY she quotes Bening, something about working mothers but the point isn't clear - but Bening gets to the heart of what the writer doesn't understand.  She says of motherhood, in part:

"a lot of the time your life is not about you ... There's that selflessness you need to find ..."

Seems like Portman has already found that selflessness, while the writer wishes she would simply be selfish and bask in herself and her own glory.

The author goes on to gripe:

when was the last time a male star gave an acceptance speech calling fatherhood his biggest role?

I'm not sure if any man has or hasn't, but someone should have.  Fatherhood is a very important role, especially today when 22% of children live in single mother homes.  In fact, isn't it Hollywood and the Left that are always trying to tell us fathers aren't all that important?

In closing, the author writes:

Motherhood is important. So is work. And you don't have to backhandedly downplay one to be proud of the other.

How does saying her most important role is that of a mother "backhandedly downplay" her role in Black Swan?  She's not insulting her own work, but stating the simple fact that there are more important things in life.

The visceral reaction from people like the Slate writer, upon watching Natalie Portman talk about "the most important role of [her] life," makes complete sense when you consider that it goes against everything strident feminists believe.  Any good thoughts about motherhood or the mere presence of a visibly pregnant woman gives them the heebie jeebies because, to them, motherhood is a choice and their first instinct is that a baby is a parasite to be removed

We can't be too complementary of motherhood lest we offend the women who chose to kill their babies.  We can't call it the most important role because that is insensitive to women who don't have or want children.  We can't celebrate the unique role of the mother because that would mean acknowledging the differences between men and women and that these differences can be good.  We can't talk about motherhood and careers at the same time because that means that we value one over the other and both are equally good and valid - especially having a career.

Only a feminist would complain about an actress not being self-centered and narcissistic.  Only a feminist would be offended at the thought of raising the next generation being one's most important role.  Only a feminist would consider being thankful to have a child with the one you love a backhanded slap at your career. 

How sad that this writer chose to throw a feminissy fit over this beautiful moment for Natalie Portman and her family.  I wish Portman well in the greatest role she, or any woman, will ever play.

UPDATE 3/1: KJ Dell'Antonia from Slate gets in on the act, saying Portman was just "spouting the party line" and adds: 

every time a powerful woman downplays her other achievements as inferior to her maternal status, she feeds the doubt that still pursue working mothers at every end of the spectrum: Will she really take her work seriously or will she put her children first

Again, this isn't a zero sum game - calling motherhood your most important role does not downplay other achievements, and the choice isn't between either "take work seriously" or "put children first."  Feminists might not believe it, but women CAN do a job well, while prioritizing their children's lives - women are known for their great abilities to multi-task, after all.

But even if it WERE a zero sum game, so what?  The role of mother is more important than any regular "job" and it should be - whoops, can't say that! - might hurt some working mom's feelings or make her doubt herself!  We aren't allowed to say ANYTHING is more important than a career because apparently that is the end all and be all of being a woman, anything else is bending to the will of the powerful and oppressive patriarchy or some such b.s.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sensitivity Training on the Battlefield???

This is ridiculous on so many levels!!! First of all, the whole notion of sensitivity "training" of any kind is a bunch of liberal mamby pamby hooey.

Second of all, WHY in the h*ll are these reeducation sessions being done on the BATTLEFIELD, of all places??? They say, "We HOPE that it will have little impact on their combat and security operations here." Hope? HOPE???!!! Maybe "hope" worked to bamboozle the American public into electing Obama, but you need a little more than HOPE when it comes to combat and security!

Third, repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell has not even been certified yet! Why are we rushing into these liberal kumbaya circles in a war zone when the repeal isn't in effect? If it could be found to hurt combat readiness, then we sure as h*ll shouldn't be bringing sensitivity trainings to promote it into combat.

Bottom line: Get the h*ll away from our men and women in uniform on the front lines in active war zones! Their lives and their immediate mission is more important than indulging in your group therapies!

Amplify’d from

Combat troops to get gay sensitivity training

American combat troops will get sensitivity training directly on the battlefield about the military’s new policy on gays instead of waiting until they return to home base in the United States
We hope that it will have little impact on their combat and security operations here
However, the ban will stay in effect until the secretary of defense certifies that repeal of the policy will not hurt combat readiness.

Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness, said it is “ridiculous” to train combat Army soldiers and Marines as they are engage in daily combat with tenacious insurgents.

“It’s absurd because the military has more important things to think about in that dangerous part of the world,” she said. “For the administration to say this is more important than even with the troops we’re trying to train in that part of the world, I think it shows flawed priorities at best. It is ridiculous.”


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RI Teachers Union: Budget Cuts are our Pearl Harbor

After Jesse Jackson compared the Wisconsin union protesters to MLK, the Civil Rights movement, and  Gandhi, here's some more hyperbolic rhetoric involving another teachers union dispute across the country in Rhode Island:

“This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith said Tuesday night. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7, 1941.” That was the day the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor.[for those of you who graduated from public school]

Apparently RI state law requires teachers be notified of termination by March 1, but the school district doesn't know how many teachers it will need to lay off for budget cuts yet, so the district is sending out notifications to all teachers to cover all its bases. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HEADLINE OF THE DAY: Inmate Hid 30 Items in Rectum

Had to come out of blogging hibernation for this one:

Inmate Hid 30 Items in Rectum: Jailer

As Ron Burgundy would say, "I'm not even mad, that's AMAZING!"

It gets better:

Inside the condom they found: 17 blue pills, a cigarette, a flint, six matches, an empty syringe with a pencil eraser over the needle tip, a container of lip balm, an unused condom, a pharmacy receipt and a coupon.

REALLY?  A pharmacy coupon???  Just in case he wanted to return something later?!  And what was the coupon for?!!