Troubling phrase of the day: “natural parenting”

22 Jan

This phrase is generally used in reference to the following non-inclusive set of parenting practices: home or low-intervention birth, cloth diapering or elimination communication, organics, extended nursing, babywearing, and anti-vax, all fine in their own way and many of which I practice (except anti-vax, which is just stupid and selfish). But that phrase has all sorts of nasty implications:

•implies that any other kind of parenting is “un”natural
•assumes a monolithic definition of “nature”
•assumes that “nature” has any meaningful valence in a technological, capitalist society
•aligns “natural” with something like “tribal” or “primitive, suggesting that “tribal” people are closer to a desirable state of nature, which is primitivist a la Fabian

I will be avoiding this one.


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