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谁说做母亲意味着牺牲?

更新时间:2017-8-9 10:51:28 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Motherhood Isn’t Sacrifice, It’s Selfishness
谁说做母亲意味着牺牲?

I was taking a few weeks’ break from work over the summer. My family and I — my husband and my sons, then 9 and 7 — planned to spend the time at our house on the New Jersey shore. When my mother asked what we would be doing on our vacation, I told her we would be together — going to the beach and the nearby amusement park, cooking, playing in the yard.

我在夏天休了几个星期的假。我和丈夫以及当时9岁和7岁的儿子打算到我们在新泽西海岸的房子住一阵。母亲问我们度假时想干什么,我告诉她,我们会一起去海滩和附近的游乐场、做饭、在院子里玩耍。

In response, my mother said: “Oh, that’s not much of a vacation for you. I’ll bet you can’t wait to get back to work. Motherhood, it’s the hardest job in the world. All sacrifice!”

母亲听了说:“哦,这对你来说可算不上假期。我打赌你会迫不及待地想回来上班。当一个母亲是世界上最难的一份工作。完全是牺牲!”

“Really?” was all I could say in response.

“真的吗?”我能回答的只有这个。

I was looking forward to uninterrupted time with my boys. We would spend days by the ocean and take trips to the boardwalk, where they would scream with delight while riding the roller coaster — the same one I’d ridden when I was their age, then ridden alongside them until Hurricane Sandy deposited it into the Atlantic. We’d ram one another with bumper cars; we’d ride the old-fashioned merry-go-round, waiting until my youngest son’s favorite horse, bright-blue Freddy, became available. Some days were sure to end in tears of exhaustion, but the tears didn’t outweigh the joy. Even on the bad days.

我期待和儿子们一起度过不受打扰的时间。我们可以在海边待几天,在海滨人行道上散步,坐过山车时他们会高兴地尖叫——我和他们一样大的时候就坐过那个过山车,后来又和他们一起坐过,直到它被桑迪飓风卷进了大西洋。我们可以玩碰碰车,坐老式的旋转木马,一直等到我的小儿子最喜欢的那匹宝蓝的“弗雷迪”有空位才坐上去。有些日子肯定会以筋疲力尽的眼泪告终,但是就算在最糟糕的日子里,眼泪也不会压倒喜悦。

My mother was only trying to be sympathetic to my life as a working mother, but the self-satisfied way she proclaimed the sacrificial nature of motherhood grated. I don’t believe for one second that motherhood is the hardest job in the world nor that it is all sacrifice. Still, it wasn’t fair to blame her; she was merely parroting a common refrain. Once my annoyance lifted, in its place spread a kind of clarity that helped me to understand how these linguistic tropes reinforce the disempowerment of mothers and women.

母亲只是试图同情我作为职场妈妈的生活,但她带着自满宣称做母亲的本质就是牺牲,这话很令人厌烦。我从不相信做母亲是世界上最难的工作,也不相信它完全是牺牲。不过,责怪她是不公平的,这是一句老生常谈,她只是在鹦鹉学舌。恼火的感觉一旦消失,我心中便清晰起来,开始理解这些比喻是如何令母亲和女性进一步失去力量的。

The assertion of motherhood as sacrifice comes with a perceived glorification. A woman is expected to sacrifice her time, ambition and sense of self to a higher purpose, one more worthy than her own individual identity. This leaves a vacuum in the place of her value, one that others rush to fill.

把做母亲视为牺牲的主张,是与一种被视为荣耀的感觉捆绑在一起的。一个女人被认为应当牺牲自己的时间、抱负和自我意识,以达到更高的、比自己的个人身份更有价值的目的。这为她的价值带来一种真空,会由其他东西涌进去填补。

When a woman becomes pregnant, she seems to become public property. Perhaps because bearing children ensures the continuation of the species, it is often prioritized as part of a larger social contract. Not only does this logic lead to an attempt to legislate women’s bodies, but also in smaller, everyday gestures, boundaries get crossed. Many friends tell stories about being touched by strangers during pregnancy, as if a woman’s maternal status turns her into a vessel to handle.

当一个女人怀孕时,她似乎成了一种公共财产。也许因为孕育孩子是在确保物种的延续,它通常被优先考虑为从属于更大的社会契约。这种逻辑不仅令人们试图为女性的身体做出法律规定,而且发生在较小的日常姿态中,从而跨越了界线。许多朋友都说过怀孕期间被陌生人触碰的故事,好像怀孕把一个女人的身体变成了盛放东西的容器。

Written more than 30 years ago, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” offers a cautionary tale of womanhood as sacrifice. In this dystopic novel, women are grouped according to the uses men determine for them: namely, sterile wives married for appearance or fertile “handmaids,” who are raped routinely for procreation. One male character declares that the woman must “learn in silence with all subjection” and that “she shall be saved by childbearing.” In this scenario, the act of motherhood is subverted for the benefit of those in power, and they get away with it because of the concept of motherhood as sacrifice.

30多年前,玛格丽特·阿特伍德(Margaret Atwood)的小说《女仆的故事》(The Handmaid's Tale)提出了一个将女性作为牺牲品的警示。在这部反乌托邦小说中,女性根据男性为她们所决定的用途进行分组:也就是,有的女人因为外貌被男人娶为妻子,她们不负责生育;而负责生育的“女仆”为了生殖而定期遭到强奸。一个男性人物宣称,女人必须“沉默而服从地学习”,并且“她将通过生育获得拯救”。在这种情况下,做母亲这一行为因为掌权者的利益而遭到颠覆,她们之所以忍受,是因为做母亲这个概念就意味着牺牲。

When we cling to the idea of motherhood as sacrifice, what we really sacrifice is our sense of self, as if it is the price we pay for having children.

当我们坚持做母亲就意味着牺牲这个想法的时候,我们真正牺牲的是我们的自我意识,好像这是为了要孩子而付出的代价。

Motherhood is not a sacrifice, but a privilege — one that many of us choose selfishly. At its most atavistic, procreating ensures that our genes survive into the next generation. You could call this selfishness as biological imperative. On a personal level, when we bring into the world a being that is of us, someone we will protect and love and for whom we will do everything we can to help thrive and flourish, it begets the question, How is this selfless? Selflessness implies that we have no skin in the game. In motherhood, we’re all in.

做母亲不是一种牺牲,而是一种特权——是一种我们许多人出于自私而选择的行为。在其最原始的意义上,生殖确保了我们的基因能够在下一代身上生存。你可以将这种自私称为生物本能的必需。在个人层面上,当我们把一个由我们制造的生物带入世界时,我们会保护和爱这个人,竭尽所能帮助他的发育和成长,由此便产生出一个问题,这怎么可能是无私的?无私意味着整件事对我们来说没有切身利益。而做了母亲,我们便会投入一切。

By reframing motherhood as a privilege, we redirect agency back to the mother, empowering her, celebrating her autonomy instead of her sacrifice. Granted, some of us have more autonomy than others. There are many mothers who would not have chosen motherhood, for financial or personal reasons. Still, by owning our roles as mothers and refusing the false accolades of martyrdom, we do more to empower all women.

通过将做母亲重建为一种特权,我们把力量重新还给母亲,赋予她力量,赞美她的自主权,而不是赞美她的牺牲。当然,我们当中的一些人比其他人拥有更多的自主权。出于财务或个人原因,有很多母亲宁愿选择不当母亲。然而,通过承认我们的母亲角色,以及拒绝被授予“牺牲者”这一虚假荣誉,我们更多是在为所有女性赋予力量。

In my experience, when women talk among women, our ambivalence or frustration is rarely about our roles as mothers. (That doesn’t mean our kids don’t drive us crazy sometimes.) Rather, conversations turn to questions of how to manage the best part of our lives (those very kids who are driving us crazy) with our partners, careers and other responsibilities. And while many women derive their deepest fulfillment as mothers, it doesn’t preclude their ambition or fly in the face of leaning in or out or sideways.

根据我的经验,在女人们之间谈话的时候,我们的矛盾或沮丧很少涉及我们身为母亲的角色。(这并不意味着孩子不会时时令我们抓狂。)相反,话题往往转向如何管理我们生活中最好的部分(其中也包括会令我们抓狂的孩子),处理好我们的伴侣、事业和其他责任。尽管许多女人从母亲身份当中得到了最深刻的满足,但这并不能阻止她们的抱负,不能阻止她们上前一步,向外一步或是侧身走一步。

Calling motherhood “the hardest job in the world” misses the point completely because having and raising children is not a “job.” No one will deny that there is exhaustion, fear and tedium. Raising a family is hard work, but so is every other meaningful aspect of our lives.

说做母亲是“世界上最难的工作”完全不得要领,因为生孩子和养孩子不是“工作”。没人会否认,你在这个过程中会感到疲倦、恐惧和枯燥。养育家庭是艰难的,但我们生活中其他每一个有意义的部分都是如此。

The language surrounding child rearing as a job surely derived from caregivers’ and homemakers’ efforts to be acknowledged as fulfilling an important role. And clearly raising children is one of the most important things we do — for both women and men — but that does not make it a job. In a job, an employer pays for services an employee agrees to perform. And there is a boss to whom the employee reports. In the case of parenting, who would that be?

养育孩子是工作的言论,肯定是源于看护者和家务操持者希望别人认可自己履行了一个重要角色。养孩子显然是我们做的最重要的事情之一——对男人和女人来说都是如此——但那并不能让它成为一份工作。在工作中,雇主为雇员同意完成的服务付费。员工需要向上司汇报。而在做父母这件事上,我们的上司是谁呢?

That doesn’t mean we don’t want support — paid parental leave, more flexible working hours, publicly funded day care. But the cultural shift has to happen for the policies to follow. Martyrs, after all, don’t need or expect public services.

那并不意味着我们不需要支持——带薪育儿假、更灵活的工作时间、公费日托所。但是,文化的变迁必须伴之以政策的支持。毕竟,牺牲者不需要,也不指望得到公共服务。

Fathers are rarely, if ever, spoken about in the same way that mothers are. It’s culturally acceptable for men to have children and professional identities without having to choose between the two. These unspoken biases run deep.

人们很少像议论母亲那样议论父亲。文化上允许男性既有孩子又有职业身份,不必在两者之间选择。这些暗含的偏见很深。

It reminds me of a friend whose husband complained about having to “babysit” the children while she went to dinner with friends. Has a woman ever “babysat” her own children? Things are changing, but the insidious inferences persist.

它让我想起一个朋友的丈夫曾抱怨她去和朋友们共进晚餐,而自己不得不给孩子们“当保姆”。有哪位母亲曾说过自己照顾孩子是“当保姆”呢?情况在变,但阴险的推论依然存在。

Further, with “women” and “family” as go-to cultural corollaries, studies show, terrifyingly, that these biases are being adopted by artificial intelligence, too. Calling motherhood a woman’s “job” only serves to keep a woman in her place. The priorities of mothers who work outside the home are often questioned. It’s as if women are forced to choose between ambition (or simply earning a living wage) and family.

而且,研究表明,由于“女性”和“家庭”在文化上的密切联系,这些偏见也正被人工智能所采纳,这非常可怕。称当母亲是一个女人的“工作”只会导致女性被要求守本分。在外面工作的母亲的优先考虑事项经常受到质疑。好像女性必须在事业心(或者只是挣一份谋生的薪水)和家庭之间选择。

If we start referring to motherhood as the beautiful, messy privilege that it is, and to tending to our children as the most loving yet selfish thing we do, perhaps we can change the biased language my mother used. Only when we stop talking about motherhood as sacrifice can we start talking about mothers the way that we deserve.

如果我们开始如实地将做母亲视为美丽而麻烦的特权,将照顾孩子视为最有爱心而又自私的事,那么也许我们能够改变我母亲使用的那种偏见言语。只有当我们停止将做母亲视为一种牺牲,我们才能开始以恰当的方式谈论母亲。

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