Angelina Jolie: The Worlds Greatest Mother

Okay I waited as long as I could to comment on the recent spate of Angelina commentary in the media.  I am sick of Angelina being portrayed as the worlds greatest mother.  Enough already, simply enough.

image First we got to hear about how wonderful it is that Angelina is breastfeeding.  Yeah for her! Does this mean that women who can’t breast feed, or choose not to are somehow not qualified to rank as good mothers?  Newsflash, having a child feeding from your breast does not necessarily signify that you are an excellent mother. 

Yeah, isn’t it wonderful that Jolie can breastfeed on the cover of a magazine while the rest of the population that is not blessed with celebrity status are shown to restrooms, or simply forced to vacate public premises.  What about the mothers that are so undernourished that their breast milk is not capable of sustaining their child?  What about the exploitation that is occurring in the the newly revived wet nurse industry?  Nope, none of those issues really matter because Angelina is breast feeding.

How did this Hollywood starlet with a penchant for collecting third world children like Prada purses suddenly become representative of motherhood? image The answer is very simple really, Angelina is white and rich.  No one objects to bringing more white babies into the world.  It is always the brown mothers that are chastised for exercising their biological imperatives.  We are the ones responsible for the overpopulation of the world.  We are the ones responsible for the starving children, despite the fact that poor brown mothers are as far from exercising power globally as any people on earth could possibly be. Thank goodness there are pure rich white women like Angelina to raise the children we have so irresponsibly brought into this world.

Angelina is the mother that keeps nurturing and wanting to share despite her hardships (huge snark). Yep the energizer bunny of motherhood.  Now this mother of 6, with a uterus that has yet to shrink to normal size is contemplating adopting yet another child.  When you have so much love to give why not bestow it upon the world.   Now before everyone gets into a knot, carrying on about how this child will have a much better life because it will be raised in opulence and wealth, let’s consider that there is more to motherhood than what we can give our children financially.

image What effect will it have on this child to be removed from not only their parents but all the links and ties to their culture.  Not to worry though, all will be cured because of the loving embrace of Angelina. Who is she the virgin Mary, that all of the children of the world should all crave her loving embrace?  Should we be anxiously waiting her appearance at various places.  Is she going to walk on water, and grant vision to the blind as well?

Okay sarcasm aside, if Ms. Jolie really cares about the poor children of the world, the best way to help them is to work on programs that allow their mothers to raise them.  Globally many children are in foster care not because their mothers want to give them up, but because they cannot afford to raise them.  I am sick of celebrities adopting kids thinking that they are helping the cause and yet not confronting the issues that caused their adopted prada purses children to be available in the first place. 

image Angelina Jolie is upheld as a model for the world because of her class and her race. When women of colour cry out to have our motherhood validated, we are told that we are irresponsible breeders.  Children are removed from homes where mothers cannot afford to pay utility bills, but yet they are still good mothers.  Capitalism and racism do not make it easy for marginalized and exploited mothers to raise children in this world, and yet their struggles are unheralded.  Instead of praising these courageous women who daily go without, so that their children may eat, have clothes, or a place to live, we are worshipping a woman that was born into race and class privilege. 

There is nothing special about Angelina in terms of motherhood for her to garner the kind of attention that she does.  Our sick obsession with maintaining the race and class hierarchy has caused us to ignore the struggles of women all over the globe.  There is nothing that Angelina does on an ordinary day to differentiate herself from any other mother. She does not love her children anymore than I love mine.  I am sick and tired that every time we seek to praise some key aspect of women’s lives it is always represented by a rich white woman of privilege. 

Enough of the monolithic womanhood.  Enough of the erasure of women of colour.  There can be no sisterhood as long as we are not represented in discussions that are central to women’s lives.  The whole idea of a white woman being the ideal and sole representative of motherhood is insulting.  It is time to step off of the pedestal Jolie, despite your high ranking on the coolness meter, motherhood is about more than class and race.


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