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Re-presenting Parenthood: The Big Picture

What the numbers won't tell you about happiness, fulfillment, and the choices you want to make about parenting.

Maria Scott-Wittenborn, Megan Rowley, and Anne Dalke

A Conversation Co-Sponsored by the
Program in Gender and Sexuality and the
Center for Science in Society

November 11, 2005

One in a series of discussions about Rethinking Parenting
Co-sponsored by the Center for Science in Society and the
Program in Gender and Sexuality at Bryn Mawr College

Powerpoint Presentation

Participants: Vanessa Christman (Office of Intercultural Affairs), Anne Dalke (English, Gender & Sexuality), Ann Eynon (Parent Center), Emily Glick (Mathematics), Marissa Golden (Political Science), Paul Grobstein (Biology), Faye Halpern (HC Writing Program), Peggy Hollyday (Biology), Shayna Israel, Ben Johnston (Language Learning Center), Reggie Jones (Health Center), Alison Jost (Philosophy), Anna Mazzariello (Geology), Eliza Patico (10-months-old), Jennifer Patico (HC Anthropology), Selene Platt (Art, Archeology and Cities/Centers), Megan Rowley (Political Science), Janet Scannell (Computing Services), Maria Scott-Wittenborn (Philosophy), Lindsay Updegrove (English).

Some Background:

Scott Gilbert, Fictions and Fetuses (4/8/05)
Peggy Hollyday, "Gender and Science" (9/30/05)
Alexis Bennett, "Family Issues" (10/21/05)
Rethinking Parenting (ongoing)

From Paul Grobstein Gustave Vigeland: An Appreciation (August 2001)

From Anne Dalke
Snuggling (1950) and Pushing Off (1980)

Planning Ahead (2004) and Directing Others (2005)

From Ann Dixon, "grandma": I'm wondering whether a lot of the guilt is passed along mother to daughter? So that all of grandma's choices, or lack thereof, in the past are passed down in a legacy to daughter/new mom?

Re-imagining Juggling

From Eadweard Muybridge's Serial Images of Fast Motion

Iris Marion Young,"Throwing Like a Girl": Twenty Years Later" (1998):
A look at my daughter's growing up and young adulthood shows me that a great deal has changed....[My earlier] essay assumes a rather instrumentalist account of the motility and spatiality of the lived body. Its body as subject is a purposive actor, with specific objectives it moves out into the world to accomplish....privileges plan, intention, and control.....In the world of this essay, women are inhibited, hesitant, constrained, gazed at, and positioned....One could imagine a less limited, more self-conscious project of philosophically describing feminine body comportment, motility and spatiality...might look for specifically feminine forms of movement...an amazing passage from one of Tillie Olsen's short stories, for example, describes a kitchen dance in which a farm woman cans her tomatoes while mindful of the colicky baby she holds between her arm and her hip. The movement is plural and engaged, to and fro, here and yonder, rather than unified and singly directed. What might a phenomenology of action look like which started from the mundane fact that many of us, especially women, often do several things at once?

Kaye Edwards (as reported by Anne Dalke, in Teaching to Learn/Learning to Teach)
...was searching for a term to describe the kind of life she and I were both seeking as mothers who were also teachers. Rejecting "balancing" as too rigid, too binary, and "juggling" as too tricky, too dangerous (who wants to think of her kids as a juggler's toys?), Kaye arrived at "emulsification": the suspension--not the mixing-of small globules of one liquid in a second. (Consider salad dressing, a mixture of oil and vinegar capable, with vigorous shaking, of being briefly combined, but tending always to separate out.)

(SimScience--Membranes)

(Katrina disaster results in oil spills)

Wil Franklin: emulsification? that's the break down of fats into smaller units. generally speaking emulsifying is to dissolve. still, the salad dressing metaphor is helpful. further, when you let salad dressing (oil and vinegar) sit for too long, under neglect, it separates into two halves one on top of the other (lord and bondsman). but with constant attention (shaking) it remains at least temporarily mixed, i dare say balanced? could a better term come from Hegel... two entities needing the other in order to distinguish between the two? is it not "better" to have our young see parents in many roles, mixing and engaging at many levels?

A Pre-Raphaelite Vision To Close (?)
Frederick Lord Leighton, Mother and Child

Another Generation Speaks Up, Figures Out...

Please continue this discussion in the on-line forum.

More sessions (and practical applications!) upcoming:

Friday, February 10, 2006, 2:30-4pm in the Multicultural Center
Marissa Golden
"Can Women Have It All? And What Role does Public Policy Play? A Study of Bryn Mawr Alumnae in the Federal Civil Service"

Friday, March 17, 2006, 2:30-4pm in Thomas Library Room 223
Brainstorming with the President's Advisory Committee for Work-Family Balance

Women, Gender and Culture: A New Initiative
Program in Gender and Sexuality
Center for Science in Society
Forum Area for Further Discussion


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