Mothers, chil-care, biology

Miles Jackson cqmv at
Mon Jun 22 08:02:05 PDT 1998

On Sun, 21 Jun 1998 Nurev at wrote:

> Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
> >
> > It's inconsistent to argue for a 'natural or biological' connection among
> > being biologically female, being a biological mother, and being a
> > care-giver to an infant without simultaneously arguing against adoption
> > which removes biology out of parenting. Then again, when Joshua2 or Nick
> > says 'biology,' we should read 'ideology.'
> No. I mean biology. It is disingenuous to put your words in my mouth.
> What I mean by " biology ", is the entire process of producing offspring
> which can survive in the world. Sexual maturity, finding a mate, sex,
> fetal
> development inutero, birth, care and protection for the
> infant,socialization
> of the child, and finally independence. There are many variables in this
> process, but it is quite clear what the successful formula is for
> humans.

Do you actually consider these to be biological processes? If so, you disagree with virtually all developmental psychologists. All of these processes are wholly dependent on social relations! Or have you simply subsumed "social" under the supreme category of biology?

> >
> > BTW, the upper class people, who have a financial ability to surround their
> > infants with any number of nurses, servants, etc., never seem to give a
> > damn about 'biology' and 'instinct' when it comes to taking care of their
> > infants and children. Nor have they ever in the past. Just remember the
> > social relations of the plantation economy from which the 'Mammy'
> > stereotype originated, for instance.
> >
> > Yoshie
> I don't see your point here. The rich hire nannies, and Mammy was a
> female slave. I have raised children communally. Once the ideology
> peters out, child rearing almost always becomes a female dominated
> enterprise by CHOICE free from external economic dictates like wages.

This is simply incorrect. Child care norms vary across time and societies. In some human societies, men participate actively in child care; in others, it's women's work. This cross cultural variation is what makes your argument about "maternal instinct" dubious at best.

Miles Jackson cqmv at

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list