That phrase has been used to justify everything from female promiscuity to female power-hungry career pushing to female incursions into other female's marriages in order to abscond with other females' husbands. Everything feminists used to scream about as evidence of male piggishness suddenly became acceptable when women did it. Female skankiness, female irresponsibility, female brutishness--all of it got relabeled as "empowerment."
Which is probably what people will be calling this soon:
Rahna Reiko Rizzuto says that she never wanted to be a mother.See? The argument is already being made: men get to abandon their children and tell the world they never wanted kids without any consequences, so why shouldn't women get to do the same?
"I had this idea that motherhood was this really all-encompassing thing," she explained on the Today Show, where she was talking about her new memoir, "Hiroshima in the Morning." "I was afraid of being swallowed up by that."
Ten years ago, when her sons were 5 and 3, Rizzuto received a fellowship to spend six months in Japan, researching a book about the survivors of Hiroshima. Four months in, when her children came to visit, she had an epiphany: She didn't want to be a full-time mother anymore. When she returned to New York, she ended her 20-year marriage and chose not to be her kids' custodial parent. [...]
But when that 1950s mother she describes as ideal had to cope with parenthood 24/7, she didn't get to pick and choose which parts to be present for. The idea that a mother could love her children and still choose to leave them to pursue her own goals is the antithesis of being a 'Tiger Mother'—Amy Chua ignited a fiery debate with the release of her book about being a perfection-demanding Eastern-style parent, omnipresent in her daughters' lives. It also goes against our culture's definition of motherhood. But it shines a light on a glaring double standard: When a man chooses not to be a full-time parent, it's acceptable—or, at least, accepted. But when a woman decides to do so, it's abandonment. [Emphasis added: E.M.]
The short answer is that men don't get to abandon their kids and tell the world they never wanted them without any consequences. The first consequence is that they usually ruin their relationship with their kids, who have this odd tendency to take being ditched and dissed by their parents rather seriously. The second is that the kids then tend to grow up devoid of any idea that love is supposed to be self-sacrificial and unconditional--which will probably come back to bite the selfish abandoning parents, male or female, in the hindquarters when they, the parents, are elderly and in need of their children's loving presence in their lives.
More and more I'm convinced that what our society suffers from the most is a total lack of unconditional love--of even the notion that loving someone means putting aside our own desires and egos and being there for the beloved. How many couples marry without any idea other than that they are supposed to be made happy by this arrangement--not, ever, that they are supposed to be making the other person happy? How many people become parents not because their mutual love makes the welcoming into their lives the living symbols of this love a joy and a blessing, but because they want a little mini-me to satisfy their own needs, whether for maternal emotions or paternal pride? How many children grow up to be selfish, spoiled adults because they never mature away from their childish view of themselves as the center of their parents' universes, but instead go on expecting and even demanding to be treated like royalty, without ever giving anything back?
No wonder Blessed Teresa of Calcutta called America poor. Our poverty is a poverty of the heart, and our dire lack is a lack of either the ability or the desire to love others unconditionally.