Like every year before it, 2012 presented plenty of opportunities for parents to disagree and debate. Maybe it’s the politics of an election year, but we seemed particularly inclined to argue over even the most basic parenting principles.
Some of our debates centered around current events, like the horrible tragedies that scarred the nation from Aurora and Newtown. Others were inspired by magazine covers, just hoping to get parents’ passions inflamed. Whatever the inspiration, parents had lots to say.
Here at Mommyish, we’ve enjoyed getting involved in every debate, every discussion. We decided to round up the top ten most compelling, overwhelming, and divisive controversies of the year.
Jessica Simpson isn’t the only woman responsible for the increasing baby weight obsession in pop culture media, but the reality star and her Weight Watchers endorsement certainly aren’t helping matters. When even editors of weekly tabloids are complaining about the pressure on moms to lose weight weeks after giving birth, we know things have gotten out of hand.
The burgeoning political movement got plenty of press this year, but not a lot of results. The idea that a fertilized egg deserves all of the legal protections afforded to living human beings might have seemed like a simple anti-abortion measure, but it had implications that could affect birth control and IVF, issues that most mothers thought had been settled years ago.
Gender neutral parenting continues to be painted as a controversial practice in the mainstream media, even though many parents employ gender neutral tactics without even realizing it. The forefront of the neutrality battle seems to be occurring at toy stores around the globe, where they’re getting rid of antiquated “Boys” and “Girls” aisles in favor of a more equitable layouts.
Who knew that we would still be debating vaccines in 2012? But the whooping cough vaccine’s reported failures brought the immunization debate roaring back into the parenting spotlight. No matter which side of the fence you fall on, mentioning whether or not you choose to vaccinate is still one of the most controversial statements a woman can make in the mommy blogosphere.
Schools and doctors are getting serious about the idea of birth control for teens, whether the parents approve or not. Schools in New York City are handing out ‘Plan B’ emergency contraception to anyone who wants it. OBGYNs are supporting proposals to make The Pill available over the counter. While some conservative parents balk at the idea of their teenage children being encouraged to practice safe sex, others see this trend as an inevitable and necessary tool to helping young people make informed, cautious decisions about when they want to get pregnant. One thing is for sure, this is a controversy that won’t be going away in 2013.
The new “For Girls” line of LEGOs had feminist mothers in a tizzy, worried about the implication that “Girls toys” needed to focus on beauty salons and cafes instead of building. Other parents couldn’t understand the big deal and appreciated that girls were being introduced to building toys in their own way.
(Photo: Toys R Us)
We here at Mommyish were a little frustrated with the entire “Having It All” debate. Work life balance is an important topic, but the idea that women need to be all things at all times seemed a little counter-productive. That being said, Anne Marie Slaughter‘s Atlantic piece brought up some relevant and interesting discussions, like the need for frank discussions about fertility.
(Photo: The Atlantic)
Everything about Marissa Mayer caused plenty of discussion this year. From her crowd-sourcing baby names, that she later ignored, to her very appointment as CEO at Yahoo while carrying her first child, the tech industry powerhouse made plenty of headlines. But nothing was quite as a controversial as her working two-week maternity leave, and all the ways that it didn’t do anything to help other working mothers out there. It’s not that Marissa Mayer owes us all something. It’s just that she shouldn’t expect our support if she’s not willing to acknowledge our struggles.
Nothing infuriates mothers quite like suggesting that they aren’t doing what’s best for the children. The exploitative TIME magazine cover did just that when it acted like mothers who choose extended breastfeeding are somehow more dedicated than others. It crudely fetishized attachment parenting, adding very little to a substantive debate but definitely stirring up plenty of controversy.
After multiple mass shootings in a single year, parents decided that 2012 was a year to get serious about gun control and keeping our kids safe. With tragedies like Aurora and Newtown hanging heavy in our hearts, President Obama led a call for the country to get serious about preventing future massacres.