I’m turning 34 today, which at least in my life is the moment when seemingly everyone around me has young children, is pregnant, or both. That in itself is great—I love other people’s children. Yet, I can’t help but feel anger and disgust in the face of the patronizing treatment to which my childbearing and childrearing female friends are being subjected. In many cases, my friends have internalized their own abuse and perpetuate it by uttering the following self-deprecating remarks like mantras:
“I have baby brain syndrome.”
“Oh, it’s my pregnancy brain again.”
“That’s just my momnesia.”
“This is the power of my mommy brain!”
If you’re unfamiliar with the manifold offensive ways these (popular/pseudo-) scientific terms are being used, just take a look at this, this, this, and this Google Image search.
I thought I had to write a paper on the history of these ideas to help my friends understand that these stereotype-laden insults are not objective truths but contingent historical constructs crafted to keep them down. To my surprise and amazement, I came across the following mind-blowing selection of existing scholarship. Continue reading