May 12, 2013

Queer Issue: Down With Mothers and Fathers Day!

There is an awkward cultural stereotype that gay men have obsessions with their mother. It is an image that shows up frequently in mass media and never in a good way. For the record, I do plan on calling my own mother today. I like to think that I have a relatively "normal" (whatever the bleep that means) relationship with my own mom.

However, there are plenty of people out there who do not have "normal" relationships with their parents. It goes without saying that there are more than a few individuals out there who have not been raised by kind loving parents, but by absentee, neglectful, if not outright abusive parents.

No, not all parents are abusive fucks. Not all parents are absent or neglectful. There are many who are kind, nurturing, and loving. Who teach their kids to be strong in a dark world by setting examples of proper behavior.

But what about those parents who are not? What are Mothers or Fathers day like for those who were raised by parents who were the opposite of loving and kind? Heck, what is Mothers/Fathers day like for those who lost their mother or father in a particularly tragic manor?

Not to mention, there is the issue of parents who are trying but are otherwise unable to conceive a child. I imagine days like Mothers and Fathers day might be a little tough to navigate. Admittedly, I can't speak for anyone here, I'm just speculating.

Then there is the issue of that even with Mothers and Fathers day, there are those parents who identify outside the gender binary. And let's face it, having a Mothers and Fathers as separate days is designed to normalize heteronormative relationship styles where Moms and Dads fill vastly different parenting roles. If Moms and Dads are not supposed to fill different roles, why would they need separate days to be honored? Admittedly, while it wouldn't solve the other issues, I sometimes wonder if it might not be a bad idea to have a gender neutral Parents Day for those individuals who might wish to show some gratitude for those responsible for their upbringing.

On a more philosophical note, I really cannot think of any other widely celebrated holidays that are designed to focus our attention on a specific relationship. Is their a spouses day? Friends day? Uncles or Aunts day? All other holidays are relationship neutral, so to speak. The exception might be Valentines Day. One can celebrate them (or not) with those families and friends that one chooses. In other words, there is no other holiday where one needs to have a living individual who filled (role X) in our lives before the holiday can be celebrated. Which does in fact make Mothers and Fathers day, kind of, well exclusive.

Just some food for thought.

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