I was having a drink with a male artist recently, when he told me that he was dreading seeing his ex-girlfriend later because “she’s 44 and acts like she’s 24, partying…she’ll have a little bag of something.”
A woman over 35 should not indulge in ‘partying’. If she procreates, she must abandon it (heaven help her if she has not procreated – she doesn’t know her place).
Of course, there are restrictions on age-appropriate behaviour for fathers, too, in a culture that links material and ‘masculine’ success. The sanctified value of the family unit demands that we should all morph from crazy motherfuckers into stolid burghers the second our bellies stiffen with progengy. Additionally, we foist expectations on ourselves, as author Amy Liptrot recalls, of her pregnancy, in ‘Mother Animal’. We demand we be as rigorously intellectual or as fun as we were before.
Certainly – for those who ‘show up’ for our kids – everything changes. In this issue, artists from the UK and USA discuss whether it’s possible to be a mother or mother/father and be a fertile fucker, too. From performance artist Bean, whose early artistic works included a Super 8 film shown through Bean’s vagina, to Katie Cercone’s live performance art, dancing as the Mother Goddess Kali, with her son, Kali, there’s a common outcry, backed by Seattle doula Alex Weiser, at how commerce milks parenthood, while denying new parents the time and money to tend their kids.
The majority of workers in the U.S.A. receive no paid or unpaid maternity or family leave.
We can feel crushed by these prescriptions and denials – like the “breadwinner” of whom Bowie sings in Young Americans, in 1975, begging “off the bathroom floor, ‘We live for just these twenty years/Do we have to die for the fifty more?'”
Not enough has changed, since 1975. You can listen to Caoimhe’s Lavelle’s jumping, punky Mama pop mix and read of new lives and new art being spawned, a celebration of animality and tenderness. But make no mistake, We Motherf**kers have to support each other, in privileged societies that still don’t have our back.
Love on ya,
Twitter @calcourtesan, @GoddessDemented
Main Photo of Katie Cercone and Kali, by Eva Mueller.