Sometimes I wonder what separates conservatives from liberals and libertarians on a gut level, before we really get into sorting through individual issues. When it comes to the role of government, I often side with libertarians on social issues (such as the legalization of drugs and on gay marriage), but once we move beyond the realm of what should be allowed by law, I’m more traditionalist. And I think that’s one of the reasons why I end up identifying as a conservative.
This photo spread in the French version of Vogue is a good example of the fault line I’m talking about. I posted two images below so as not to clog up the entire blog, but you can see the rest here.
My initial reaction, before any intellectualizing gets involved, was, it’s pretty appalling to mock the concept of motherhood and glamorize neglectful behavior that actually causes physical damage to the fetus.
Yet over at Jezebel, blogger Tabitha loves the spread, and expresses regret that it wouldn’t be possible in the U.S. because of the puritanical nature of our society. She writes:
French Vogue found the tenderness in mothering, but also the humor, the wackiness, the suggestion that it isn’t perhaps natural to all women, and the surprise….
Can you imagine the reader outrage if a similarly unsentimental editorial take on motherhood ever slipped past the censors at Condé Nast USA?
Jill, over at the blog Feministe, concurs with Tabitha, and there’s some debate in the comments to her post. One commenter writes: “Love it! I am so sick of the cult of the mother that has been growing to epic proportions in this country. It’s ridiculous.”
In my view, the fact that cultural taboos such as this exist in America is positive, yet to Tabitha and evidently this commenter, it’s something that makes us boring and backward compared to our culturally enlightened counterparts in Europe. I could be wrong, but I think showing these photos to somebody and asking, “What do you see here?” would be a good indication of where that person stands politically.
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