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Wednesday
Jun202012

Why Humanism, Feminism and Attachment Parenting Are Compatible

Last week a new study found that the principles of attachment parenting are more popular with feminists than with other women. The study looked at the attitudes of four groups of women towards various parenting practices. The four groups examined were:

  • Non-feminist non-moms

  • Non-feminist moms

  • Feminist non-moms

  • Feminist moms


Among these groups, feminist moms were the most supportive of frequently carrying children (i.e. in a sling), co-sleeping, and extended breastfeeding, practices that are often associated with attachment parenting.

The results of the study weren't at all surprising to me or to Emma Waverman who first pointed me to the study. However, they may come as a surprise to those who pit feminism against  attachment parenting, such as Hanna Rosin, Elisabeth BadinterErica Jong, and the New York Times. Based on my experience and knowledge, I can't help but think that their objections to attachment parenting are coming from a selfish place, rather than a feminist perspective. Or, at the very least, their objections to attachment parenting are rooted in a grave misunderstanding of either attachment parenting or feminism or both.

In fact, that misunderstanding may be shared by much of the world, since the study also found that non-feminists, especially non-feminist moms, assumed that feminists are less invested in their children and families.

The Western World As It Stands


The traditional Western world order, which still stands to some extent today, is a hierarchy.

God


Man


Woman


Child


Each person in the chain is subordinate to the one above. Man is subordinate to God (Christianity), woman is subordinate to man (patriarchy), child is subordinate to mother (traditional parenting). Order is maintained through this hierarchy. Power and control are asserted by dominating those below you and stepping on others as you scramble your way up the ladder.


Towards A New World Order: Humanism, Feminism, and Attachment Parenting


There are a lot of labels out there, some of which I'll reference in this post. As much as I support the philosophy behind these labels and appreciate the thought and writing that exists on them, I also respect and understand the desire to cast the labels aside. This isn't intended to be an exercise in labeling ourselves (I'm a feminist/I'm not a feminist, I practice attachment parenting/I don't practice attachment parenting, etc.), but more of a thought piece on common tenets in movements that seek to break down hierarchies.

  • Humanism, according to Humanist Canada, "is a philosophy or life-stance based on a profound respect for human dignity and the conviction that human beings are ultimately accountable to themselves and to society for their actions."  Some of its principles, as outlined by the Council for Secular Humanism, speak to using reason and science to solve human problems, a belief in democracy and equality, pursuing justice and fairness in society, teaching reason and compassion to our children, realizing our full potential as human beings, and enjoying life to its fullest.  While there are some religious humanists, most humanists seem to be secular agnostic or atheist humanists, with no God or other higher power directing them.



  • Feminism, according to bell hooks (and quoted on Gender Focus by Jarrah Hodge),  is "a movement to end sexism, sexual exploitation and oppression." Many of the feminist principles outlined in Feminism: Our Basis of Unity, a document by the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women (PACSW) focus on equality, inclusion, collaboration, respect, and safety. There is a recognition that we cannot adequately address inequality between the sexes without also addressing other types of inequality, oppression and exclusion.



True humanism, true feminism, and true attachment parenting are not about one person. They are about all of us. They are about the creation of a collaborative environment of mutual trust and respect where we can learn from each other and make the world a better place.

Changing the Stereotypes and Assumptions


People often think of feminists as man-hating bitches who put their own rights ahead of everyone else's. People often think of agnostic or atheist people as lacking in morals and ethics. People often assume that parents who practice attachment parenting as martyrs who cater to their children's whims and demands 24/7. If you buy into those stereotypes, it is easy to see why you wouldn't think that feminism and attachment parenting are compatible. But ultimately, they are both rooted in humanism.

Feminism, attachment parenting and humanism all focus on:

  • equality

  • respect

  • compassion

  • teaching

  • conflict resolution

  • balance


When examined from that perspective, it is no wonder that true feminists seek to break down the same hierarchies in their homes that they also seek to break down in society. Why would a woman who fights for equality and respect for herself then choose to parent in a way that doesn't respect her child's needs and personhood? Perhaps it is simply selfishness, but it is more likely that she also unconciously subscribes to the hierarchical power structures that mark our society.


In November 2000, the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women brought together the thoughts of twelve female thought leaders in a collection called Women Speak. In it, Marie Ryan, a counselor, spiritual director and group facilitator at The Lantern Centre in St. John's wrote about the need for society, and her church, to reject patriarchy and embrace feminism:
As more and more women - and men too - reject the worldview of patriarchy, they embrace the worldview that feminism promotes. The basic components of this world view are respect for otherness, equality, mutuality, interdependence and nurturance. Living these values necessarily changes the configuration of the human community from a pyramid to a circle.

In our religious (or secular) lives, in our society, in our relationships, and in our families, we can work to break down hierarchies and power structures. By recognizing that life is not a zero-sum game, we can create an environment that supports collaboration, equality and respect of everyone's needs. We can create a better, happier, more just existence for everyone by nurturing the common good and respecting our interdependence, instead of always focusing on moving up one rung in the existing hierarchical power structures.

Those are my winding thoughts on why feminism and attachment parenting are inherently compatible and not in conflict with each other. What do you think? Is there a connection or a disconnect between the two?

Photo credit: opensourceway on flickr
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Reader Comments (40)

interesting continuation of the discussion brought up by the Liss et al study. thank you. explained the way you have, of course there is no disconnect between AP and feminism.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpomomama

My experience has been that I (female) feel frustrated by AP for what feels to me like feminist reasons. But not in the way that I've read in the AP-conflict articles/book reviews. I am naturally inclined to AP approaches but partner (male) is not. So it feels to me that our parenting practices exaggerate our domestic inequality. Is that AP's fault? No. Is that feminism's fault? No. It's patriarchy's fault, reflected in his (and society's) approach to both me and our children. But sometimes, when I've been gentle-bedtiming solo for hours, for weeks, and waking every couple of hours to nurse for years, it kinda feels like AP sorta sucks for me. Misdirected frustration, I know. but still. frustration. It does not help that some of the AP-world-bedfellows are tacitly anti-feminist, which is one reason that I eshew the AP label, although truth be told, the shoe fits.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren L

Excellent post, Annie. I've always found that feminist women are the most willing to embrace attachment parenting principles. I personally struggled with the idea that I could be a feminist AND give so much of myself to my children, but I soon realized that there is power in making the decisions that are the most comfortable fit with the mother/child dyad. Many of those decisions - in my experience, anyway - have been traditionally AP. Women are intuitive creatures, and I'm so pleased to have honoured that in myself.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Maven

Thank you for this, Annie. I've struggled with labels, especially whether or not I am comfortable being considered a feminist (ultimately I think I am). I've long considered myself a secular humanist, and my parenting has always been firmly rooted in the attachment style. This essay brings it all together for me and helps me trace the beliefs that drive my daily actions. I feel the need to gladly share this widely.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKari

I'm sorry you are in that place Karen. Having a supportive and participatory partner has been critical for me. I do think it is good that you recognize where the problem lies, however. Hanna Rosin blamed breastfeeding in her Case Against Breastfeeding, when it really seemed her anger should be directed toward her husband not doing his fair share.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Well said!

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thanks Kari. I'm glad it resonated with you and sharing is always appreciated. :)

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

i really appreciate this, annie. i come at AP (and feminism) from a christian standpoint, because despite patriarchy and ugly power dynamics that are rampant in the church, i believe that God parents me gently, and it's how i want to parent my kids.

the anti-AP bias among feminists in the media seems glaringly antifeminist. if we truly believe in women's equality and agency--over her sexuality, in the workplace, etc--i don't see how anyone can anyone argue against women choosing a parenting style that values intuition, compassion, and respect.

I agree. This is what I am striving for! I just recently learned more about positive discipline and it feels better and makes more sense to be "kind and firm." Being vegan, I also spend considerable amount of time considering the human and other than human animal interdependence. There is overlap when we are considering re thinking hierarchy. Are humans really the BEST species, is there a species that should dominate all others? I don't think so. My 5 year old daughter read something to me tonight about a bee that we both thought was amazing. "A honeybee can flap his wings 250 times in one second" from a book called "How Animals Move." Why do we feel like their honey
is ours to take? Shouldn't we be greatful to the bees for all the pollinating they do for all the edible plants we can enjoy and allow them to enjoy their hard earned honey?
and let them enjoy their hard ea rned honey? And don't get me started o n human domination over "farm" and "zoo" animals, which.many cam

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I've been waiting for someone to point out that the brand of ''feminism" that has been pitted against AP is one that reflects the classic liberal notion of the individual. That is, that humans can only realize their true self when they are free from external demands (or should we say 'attachments'). Another flavor of feminism embraces the inherent relationships between humans and the environment and the notion that individuals realize themselves through nurturing these ties. This perspective and many AP advocates see infants and mothers as a unit, which have evolved together to ensure the health and well-being of both. This approach fundementally challenges mainstream notions of what it means to be a human (i.e., independent, free, unburdened). I'm an AP/feminist leaning mom and I have to admit when my daughter was six-weeks old I threw Sear's book across the room after failing to find any solution to my 'lack of sleep problem'. Americans in particular have a fit when there is no remedy for inconvenience or discomfort - it goes against our deep cultural ethos. The fact is, the first year of a baby's life is exhausting, stinky, and damn inconvenient. It also has been the most rewarding and happiest time of my life.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawilli

Excellent article, thank you.
I am never sure whether to consider myself a feminist or not, probably because of extreme examples like Badinter. Badinter (and possibly the other feminists you mention as well) declares the child to be the feminist mother's opponent and the mother, especially the breastfeeding mother, to be a slave to her child. There is a hierarchy that cannot be escaped and it it puts the mother subordinate to the child, to the man, to god. The feminist mother thus has to neglect the desires of her child to defend her independence. So the feminist mother has to betray feminism to fulfil her child's needs or wishes; or she has to betray her child to stay a feminist. This way feminism becomes a constant fight even against the ones you love. This is nothing I can relate to.
The fact that AP is so much about being relaxed towards your children makes it so attractive a concept for me. Doing things for my children can feel just right and can be the key to a peaceful harmonic family life, as can doing things for myself. You're absolutely right in bringing together humanism, feminism and AP - none of them is a strict concept with a given number of rules to follow, but a certain way of thinking and acting within society.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Annie, I really appreciated this post; it speaks to my feelings about feminism and attachment parenting. I came to AP largely through intuition about the kind of relationship I wanted to have with my child, and my instinctive sense that we must have a fundamental and profound respect for children as human beings. (I drew this largely from my Montessori background, but I know people access it from different directions.) As you argue, it's deeply intertwined with my feminism - feminists know all about marginalization and dehumanization, and the power structures in place that reproduce such oppressions. So when we see that happening to children - when, it's not possible to fail to react strongly, and want to create other, non-authoritarian models. I've also done a lot of (academic) research on attachment theory - not attachment parenting, which if you will a popular application of attachment theory, which came out of experiments done by psychologists, sociologists, and neuroscientists starting in the 1930s. Feminists have always been hostile to attachment theory because they felt it implied that day care harms children and mothers should stay out of the workforce.

I disagree fundamentally with the majority of the feminist critique both of attachment theory and AP. Yet, the feminists who issue such critiques often have legitimate concerns or fears that lay behind their positions. Popularized AP can drift towards sex/gender essentialism, which feminists find problematic (that women are "natural" caregivers, the ones who "must" perform the role of primary caregiver, that any distance/absence between mother and child can do the child irreparable harm, women are reduced to their reproductive bodies). I remember reading the Sears' baby book shortly before returning to work, and the chapter on Work went something like this - don't work. Seriously, don't work. If you "have" to, try to take your baby with you. But really, don't do it. For a mother about to return to work, it was anywhere from upsetting to devastating to read that chapter. Outside the US, of course, it's much easier to have six months or a year of interrupted time with a baby, should the mother desire it. (But even at that, parental leave should exist but should not be mandatory - not wanting to stay home with a baby 24-7 does not a bad mother make.) One hears troubling (to feminist ears) discourses in NCB circles, as well as breastfeeding ones. And the concern, as stated by a commenter upthread, that the continuing unequal power dynamics between husband and wife ensures that many couples who adopt AP principles are creating a system in which parenting becomes more labor intensive, and mothers are shouldering that labor, often while working full time jobs. Now, of course, my response to this, is yes, these are problems, but that doesn't make AP "wrong" or antifeminist. It means we have to work together to create solutions for working mothers and for co-parenting. But I think we do a disservice to fellow feminists if we don't understand the sometimes real-concern behind their arguments, no matter how infuriating (and condescending! and mother blaming!) those arguments can be. And I completely agree with the critiques made in the comment thread and on other blogs of feminists who seem happy to replicate patriarchal norms, values, and structures, seemingly in the name of eradicating them. I happen to think that attachment theory and gentle parenting are (or at least *can be*)deeply subversive, in the best sense.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I was just directed to this post after getting involved in a debate over at Free-Range Kids about whether you could practice both Attachment Parenting and Free-Range Parenting.

Many of the commenters were adamant that they two could co-exist, and several of them (myself included) pointed out that the two actually complemented one another, and for the very reasons I think that you point out in this post: they grow out of a space that bases parenting on respect that views children as full human beings. To me, that belief is at the very core of my feminism, and I can't imagine a philosophy where that doesn't also extend to my parenting.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBalancingJane

Thank you! I love this. I feel like there is a puzzling pushback from some of my feminist-identified peers on the concept of AP. I said to a friend that it puzzled me because I would say that most of us, having been raised in a hippie college town by groovy progressive parents, had a lot of attachment parenting elements in our upbringing, even if our parents didn't practice/identify with AP. She responded that she thinks of APers as the stereotype you mentioned about "catering to the child's whims 24/7" - THOSE are the "true" APers. Yet I think almost all the feminists I know would agree with the idea that children have needs which we should honor and are people deserving of equality and respect. Maybe there is a resistance to the idea of a particular philosophy - especially one which does elevate the physical presence of the parents - and people are comfortable to identify particular ideas of AP that they feel comfortable with, without identifying as "one of those cuckoo people who sleep with their kids till they're 15".

oh boy... this sounds sooo familiar!!

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzvezda

Your comment struck a chord with me, too. My husband and I talked about this a fair amount early on after I was upset that he took forever to respond to my daughter's crying/needs when she was an infant. He made it clear that he just really didn't see it as being so important to answer her need as immediately as I did. So how could I demand that he do so? He was pretty rational about it. And he was supportive in that he accepted that I felt strongly about how I responded to her, and certainly didn't undermine me...but that he was under no obligation to respond in the identical way. He is a very kind person and a wonderful father--from my perspective, more wonderful now that my daughter is a toddler than he was when she was an infant. But your comment reminds me that, with #2 on the way, I want to revisit the discussion with him. I think that he's had more experience now with other parenting practices and with how our/my parenting has seemed to influence our daughter...and I think he may have shifted a bit on this spectrum. We should definitely have an explicit conversation about it before baby#2's arrival! I suspect that Karen's experience is not unusual (and note that it could run the other way, with the father being more into AP than the mom, but that in that case it's unlikely that he'd be able to go it alone with an infant. So the issue wouldn't run its course in the same way). Whew. That was long.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRS

Why do you think it is unlikely that a father would be able to "go it alone" with an infant even though mothers do it all the time? I recognize that is the way it often works in society, because it is usually assumed that the woman is the primary caregiver. But in families where both parents work or where the father is a stay-at-home dad, I do think it is possible for the roles to be reversed, especially if the mom has bought into the selfish brand of feminism.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

" they grow out of a space that bases parenting on respect that views children as full human beings."

THIS. So, so much in agreement! I absolutely feel that AP and FRK come together naturally. I've explained it to people like this: when you have a safety net under you, you can take greater risks because you know you are safe if you fall. "Clingy" kids are the ones who *didn't* get that security when they were younger and feel the need to constantly reassure themselves. It's definitely been my experience that my co-sleeping, longterm breastfeeding, baby-wearing parenting got me *extremely* independent kids, who I am happy to say are quite capable and responsible (y'know...mostly LOL!).

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Baker

[...] Why Humanism, Feminism and Attachment Parenting Are Compatible [...]

Erin, this is GREAT. Thanks for articulating a bunch of stuff that was vaguely trying to get out of my head. I consider myself a feminist first and stumbled into attachment parenting because it felt right and intellectually made sense to me as a secular humanist. But the discomfort (distrust?) between elements of those two worlds has occasionally left me feeling conflicted. I was going to post my thanks to Annie directly (and THANK YOU, ANNIE! Wonderful post), but you pretty much summed up my thoughts, and better than I could have done.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I am guessing she means in the first few months, as breastfeeding is not so much a male thing :). Everything else is possible though - even my non-very-AP exhusband was a huge fan of babywearing and actually started talking up cosleeping as a good thing to other parents.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Baker

Wow, excellent post here. and excellent comments from EVERYONE! I feel like I've been grappling with how I feel about the AP & feminist issues ..I've been trying to place these things in my thoughts & feelings in a way I can understand. what I've come up with for myself...is that the way society is set up, the patriarchal model we live in, really disregards the feminine as equal and important. And it feels like feminism strives for women to be LIKE men rather than striving for society to be influenced by the feminine. That is, shifting society to be inclusive, to really support families and children, so that we are all actually taking care of our children, rather than encouraging women to shift and be like men, to buy into the corporate destructive polluting society. I have not really written about my feelings about this before so they are not so clear and not based on research but on my lifetime feelings about bringing the feminine energy into public life. Thanks for your thoughts and all of the comments here, too!

This is very good.

I think it comes down to why we AP. Is it to encourage attachment for the sake of attachment or do we AP because it promotes respect of our children? For me, it's the latter. However, as AP is typically expressed in popular culture (and in particular on the internet) the intent of AP is the former. The latter is consistent with feminism but I'm not so sure about the former.

For example, when I read the Baby Book 3 years ago my takeaway from it was that I was supposed to follow all of the 7 Baby B's to make sure my baby was attached to me or I would mess her up. There was probably more to Sears than that but that's how I read it in my first few months of mommyhood. Sears, who is a devout Catholic and a follower of the RCC's prohibition against birth control, seems to believe that the attachment between mother and child can cure just about anything.

Feminist critiques of AP are reacting to that kind of fear-driven rule based kind of AP. I'm sympathetic to these criticisms because I think that kind of AP is harmful to women because the burden falls disproportionately on the mother.

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

[...] PhD in Parenting: Why Humanism Feminism, and Attachment Parenting Are Compatible [...]

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlternative Housewife

Wonderfully put!!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Klinenberg

Yes! Yes! and more Yes! I seem to be a broken record about my AP and my feminism: women and children are people too, with the rights and responsibilities that being a person entails. And children are *whole* people, not just partial people; they are whole people who do not yet have all the responsibilities of personness, but all of the rights that we assume for those kyriarchical males (bodily integrity, respect for their thoughts and opinions, etc etc).

As per usual Annie, you've said it better than I could have, and I have already passed this post along several times.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScholasticaMama

I just love this post. My initial reaction to Badinter's book and that Time piece and all that (which I wrote about http://www.thevariegatedlife.com/five-truths-about-attachment-parenting/" rel="nofollow">here) was to think about how feminism and AP are not incompatible, rather than think about how they are compatible. Kinda defensive thinking on my part, actually.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

Erin, I totally share your frustration with that same chapter of the Sears Baby Book (which is nevertheless the only baby book I own). What's especially frustrating is that I'm pretty darn sure that lots of work has been done in attachment theory itself to explore the importance of the role of allomothers (non-mothers) in caring for children.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

Thank you so much for this! I am so happy to see an article that draws parallells to feminism and APing. The comments have been so nice to read too!

I use many AP practices/philosophies in my parenting style: I cloth diaper; made own food then did baby led weaning; bedshare; still breastfeed my 20 month old at bedtime, through out the night if she wants and in the morning before work. I am a single, feminist mom and can see both/all sides of this debate. It does pain me that women always get pitted against each other and its not a new thing...I am, however, deeply suspicious of the media’s motivation in featuring so many feminists criticizing APing.

The more I think about this "mommy war" the more I see the need to reframe how we see motherhood in general. Much of the feminist response is (rightly so) based on women being marginalized and oppressed by motherhood. This has been and continues to hold a lot of truth professionally, economically, socially and intimately. I never felt more powerful than when I was pregnant. My love for my daughter has stretched and filled me with more love than I could have ever imagined and feminism has also found those new nooks and crannies. I honestly think I am more radical now and I find motherhood to be extremely powerful.

I see APing as reclaiming the experience of motherhood from the patriarchy by having an non-medicalized pregnancy and birth experience, breast feeding, making my own food, using cloth diapers, not letting my daughter CIO (I feel like this, especially in America, is built on a foundation of self sufficience and toughening it out).

Patriarchy has many guises – consumerism and corporate greed are biggies. Keep in mind that The Baby Business generates a lot of money for corporations and they have a literal vested interest in parents buying lots of stuff. For example, I use cloth diapers for economic, health and environmental reasons. In many areas of my life I have tried to become “greener”. Imagine if every parent decided to use cloth diapers? That would have a huge impact on the bottom (pardon the pun) line of many companies. In just this one lifestyle choice I feel like I am teaching my child to make alternative choices. You don’t get much more feminist than that!

Many of the "natural" aspects of my parenting style are more time consuming but I do not see them as anti-feminist or chaining me to the home. I made these choices with full knowledge and I over-researched every option. I get a lot of grief from people about my choices but they are mine and I own them…I was not bullied or marketed into these choices.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegs

Thank you! I really enjoyed reading your thoughtful and concise piece on why society has such a profound misunderstanding of some labels. I too prefer not to label myself with any of the above titles; to me, having to label ourselves often carries the implication that we are something other than 'normal'. For example, in a sense the traditional mainstream identify simply as 'parents' yet I must fly under the 'attachment parenting' banner in order to explain sometimes why I parent the way I do – despite the fact that I believe AP as merely basic, instinctive, biological parenting. I must label myself as a feminist because in a patriarchy, standing alongside women and fighting for equality isn't considered 'normal'. You've clearly and articulately defined the terms and debunked the cultural myth surrounding them. Love it! I will be sharing widely :) Kim xo

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim Lock

[...] PhD in Parenting, Annie explains why humanism, feminism, and attachment parenting are compatible. I just love this post because it gets at the core values of both feminism and attachment parenting [...]

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOn My Mind: June

OK, I recognise I'm going off at a tangent, but this is precisely the sort of thing that drives me seriously NUTS about the AP movement - the way that it always, *always* seems to come back to a few specific practices in infancy as though they were the most important factor in the strength of your attachment to your child.

Sure, the movement is making some efforts to get away from being all about the length of breastfeeding and where your baby sleeps, and we get all the disclaimers about how it's really not about those specifics but about how responsive and sensitive you are to your child's needs... but, when a research study wants to measure the extent to which different groups 'endorse attachment parenting', do they ask them questions about how they feel about responding to their child's cries, or showing respect to their child, or listening to their child when they're upset, or spending positive time together to build a relationship? No. They ask about their thoughts on sleeping arrangements, slings, and duration of breastfeeding. And neither you nor any of the commenters so far seems to be querying whether it's actually appropriate to be using those practices as the best indicator of strength of dedication to attachment parenting.

Sorry, I'm in a ranty mood. But this sort of cr*p is exactly why, despite the fact that I did breastfeed my children and take them into my bed and cart them around everywhere in a sling, I've never, never felt comfortable with calling myself an Attachment Parent. Not because I object to the practices, but because I object to identifying as part of a movement that puts so much more emphasis on these practices than any of the many, many other ways of attachment.

July 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr Sarah

I agree, Sarah.

I don't see the study as groundbreaking proof, but I did see it as a jumping off point for a discussion I've been meaning to have anyway. I'm sick of hearing people talk about how feminism and attachment parenting are incompatible.

July 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I'd be interested to see the same study surveying men's attitudes towards AP. Because I think that the crux of much of the "debate" surrounding the compatibility of feminism and AP is the role of fathers. And yet, we're only picking the brains of women.

July 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren L

Great post, but I wonder about this sort of statement:

....."Based on my experience and knowledge, I can't help but think that their objections to attachment parenting are coming from a selfish place, rather than a feminist perspective."

While I believe these women are mistaken to suggest that attachment parenting is anti-feminist, I also think it's wrong to accuse them of being selfish simply because they personally find it oppressive.

In my opinion, feminism as it relates to motherhood is about women and families having the opportunity to make the choices that work for them (within reason, obviously) without being judged mercilessly by their peers. We all have different personalities. Therefore, we will all have different parenting styles.

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHollie

Great article. I'm not much for labels, but I could absolutely refer to myself as a humanist feminist attachment parent.

December 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsabelle

Thank you Annie! I am a feminist/AP/Atheist mother and see this combo frequently when I look out into my community here in Canada. However for many of my atheist friends in the US there seems to be a strong connection between the AP community and fundamentalist christianity and therefore they tend to reject that label. Hmmm, I'm going to ponder this for a while....

December 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

How would I find the empirical study this article talks about? I find this interesting, and would like to possibly use it for a research project.

September 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

@Rebecca: If you click through the link in the first paragraph, it is referenced there. But here is a direct link to the study: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11199-012-0173-z

September 29, 2014 | Registered Commenterphdinparenting

I completely agree, great piece. I love it when some one gives such articulate expression to mty thoughts. Thank you.

October 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie Nunez

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