Assuaging My Guilt?

Caryn: So after tweeting some about my irritation at Amazon for allowing what seems to be a “how to molest children” book, the kind folks at Her.Meneutics asked me to write up a post on it. So I thought about what I actually thought and wrote it. I expected–and still expect–all sorts of mixed views on this (especially since the whole post is about my own mixed views), but I would have never thought in a zillion years that it could make people attack me as a mother (I was trying to protect children, after all!). But, alas, since I am a mom, I suppose this just comes par for the course.

After making some valid points, here’s what Adam had to say about the hubbub surrounding the #Amazonfail campaign (the bolds are mine, for emphasis):

“If this makes some people feel good that they protected their children (because this was really about the mommy bloggers more than anything else) does this just assuage guilt for spending so much time online instead of playing with kids?

“I get your point about doing something even if we cannot do everything. But I wonder about how the something gets chosen. It is rarely the most important thing. It is usually something that doesn’t directly affect us. And usually it has little long term consequence. But it makes us feel better that we have done something.”

Okay. So. Fine. I agree that I didn’t end molestation as we know it. I realize I didn’t free any sex slaves or feed any starving children. The world is no less peaceful. Probably no one “came to Christ” as a result of my post. But really? He thinks that tweeters or writers simply take on things to make themselves feel good so that we don’t feel so bad for neglecting our kids? Is he implying that playing with our kids IS the most important thing? Is he saying I don’t?

And what’s this about not being directly affected by this? We’re not affected if our neighbor downloads this book?

Maybe I’m way over-reacting here (why do I even care?), but man alive. Must it always come back to this for moms?

Do men do this to one another? Does anyone EVER question a dad for getting involved in something that takes up all of 10 minutes of their time of missing out on the most important things? Poop.

Thoughts?

Carla: Blurg. Plus, I didn’t hear about it from “mommy blogs” but from various friends–male and female alike–on Facebook. To me–and I think you point this out beautifully in your original piece–there are about 800 issues going on in this one event. Issues of censorship and legality and capitalism and the free market and social networking and communal outrage. Are those related to mommy guilt? No. Are moms human beings who feel outrage over all kinds of things that have nothing to do with motherhood? Yes.

And I also think Adam is making a false argument. Frustration, anger, outrage, activist aren’t zero-sum games. We can be upset about one thing and not another and that doesn’t invalidate either of them. And of course it makes us feel better to do something. My word! If we all waiting to act until we could make a systemic difference, nothing would ever get done. Change starts with awareness and awareness leads to action. Even if that action is a tweet or a status update, it’s going to draw attention to a problem and that’s when things get better.

Finally, the guilt trip aside, how does this issue being one that moms are worked up about make it any less important? Adam might want to consider that outraged moms have been the force behind changes in the laws about drunk driving, healthcare and other kinds of aid to poor women and children, the entire field of social work, the growing awareness of the horrors of the sex trade, even abolition. A pissed-off mom is not to be trifled with, a lesson Amazon was wise to learn sooner rather than later.

Caryn: Words to live by, Carla. Thanks for validating.

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