Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Breed, Therefore I am



No matter what a woman has accomplished in her life, it seems that when she hits the status of grandmother, that then becomes her only definition.

Gawd, how irritated I get by these reports from various newspapers/media outlets:

Grandmother in car accident!
Grandma gets convicted of burglary!

A prefix always pops into my head when I read such drivel:

Grossly enfeebled by her biological status,
Grandmother placed fifth in the weekend's 10K Hamburg, Ont. road race.

But my favourite of all time has to be:
Grandmother of Eight Makes A Hole in One

This startled me until I realized she didn't puncture one of her grandchildren.

And it seems like it's only the female of the species who gets thus categorized. Ever seen the word grandfather in the headline of these kinds of news reports?

Perhaps grandfathers are models of propriety and virtue - and also non-golfers.

20 comments:

  1. It's ridiculaous that we get designated as grandmothers as if it is some kind of distinction and a miracle that we are still able to do ordinary things that anyone would be able to do, even men of a certain age. Like "Garndmother changes tire on family vehicle." Some women really identify with their gransmother status, thoguh, and use it as part of their blog name. I'll be darned if I'm going to do that simply because I have a grandson through no effort of my own. Imagine me being "Granny Nora."

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  2. When I see people designate themselves as grandmother I always get a little twinge of guilt. I fear that I am a somewhat inattentive grandmother. I am proud of my 12 grandchildren, but I am a busy woman and don't have time to dote.

    When I had 3 children under 4 I used to think that I might forget my name and that if I got run over the newspaper would say, "Mother of 3 killed in auto accident."

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  3. Nora:
    I've never perceived myself as granny to the world, just a grandmother to the ones who really are my grandchildren.
    I view it as a derogatory term when used by the media. As if we all should be tottering around on our canes, incapable of finding a bathroom on our own. (I should add -no offence intended to those who are disabled).
    XO
    WWW

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  4. 20CW:
    I've often used the phrase "pretending to be a real grandmother" when I'm doing stuff with my grandmother that my grandmother would do with me. Bake, make jam, tell stories. Actually I'm not pretending, I love it, but my life is too busy to be doing all of that full time. And housey stuff holds very little enchantment for me, I'd rather be travelling or working or writing.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. Ah, Wildwebwoman, ye must understand there are those of the gentler gender who embrace the moniker of grandmother in much the same way a cold traveller embraces a warm coat. For some, it may be a label that is overused ... for others, a label that is not used enough. Methinks each to her own.

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  6. I find it very sad that newspapers (who aren't the only ones, but they do it the most) want to pigeonhole people into nice little neat categories, then relying on the readers' ability to stereotype to prevent the reporter having to do any work to fill in the details.

    Another good trick is the one of using their occupation to describe them. When it is central to the story (e.g. a prison security guard who was killed on duty), then fair enough, but when it is another story, such as the man who has had to come back from India (where he was on holiday) to NZ because his wife and daughter have been murdered (nasty, nasty story!), what difference does it make whether we know that he is a taxi-driver or not? Yet that is how he is described in all of the headlines.

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  7. That annoys me too. As you say, grandfathers are seldom singled out like that. Though they do get caught by the ageist stereotypes such as the 73 year old bloke who drives in the wrong direction down the motorway.

    Also, if it's insulting enough to be dismissed as a granny, if you happen to become an elderly mother, then you really get trashed.

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  8. Lazy, sloppy journalism - that's what it is. Stereotyping saves the reporter the trouble of thinking of an accurate, unprejudicial way to be informative. If I owned a newspaper I'd fire anybody who used such a device. ;-)

    I'm not a mother so can never be a grandmother, but I stand with you in your protest, WWW.

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  9. VP:
    It is the misogyny, ageism and stereotyping all ruled into one that offends me about this kind of reportage. It is lazy. I have nothing against grannies, I is proudly one!
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Jo:
    Yes it is that hidden type of privilege (taxidriver, grandmother)inherent in the reportage that annoys me.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Nick:
    Yes, the ageism and the elderly moms, especially when there are far more elderly dads in the world. These reports have nothing to do with the story but feed the tabloid mentality.
    XO
    WWW

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  12. T:
    Yes, totally irrelevant reportage and completely annoying to me. Motherhood has nothing to do with murder or holding up a bank or driving a hole on one.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. This startled me until I realized she didn't puncture one of her grandchildren.

    I'll remember this line tomorrow and laugh all over again.

    Your point is a good one and well made. The media's treatment of older people is frequently just lazy, simple-minded condescension.

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  14. I am new to your blog, but I found your writing fascinating. You are so right about the categorization of older women. Actually, our paper referred to someone in her early 60s as elderly. Heck, I am 14 years past that and look back on early 60's as part of my middle-age or perhaps the fading of my youth.

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  15. Stan:
    And even worse there is very little positive reporting - both for The Raging Grannies (anti-war) and for the incredible work the Grandmothers for Africa are doing - linking to all the solo grandmothers raising their grand- and greatgrand- children due to the killer AIDS.
    XO
    WWW

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  16. Maria:
    Welcome! And thank you for the words!
    Yes, this 'elderly' thing chaps my hide too.
    Especially when the elderly victim is younger than me!
    XO
    WWW

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  17. I am not yet a granny and my 'handle' has been about since I was twenty six years of age - it was conferred in fun and stuck. The young man responsible for it nowadays treats me to sumptuous lunches. I think I am known more for gathering Toyboys & shoes, than for babysitting or making matinee coats.

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  18. GM:
    Ah sure you're in a class all by yourself!
    I was referring to the media biased (and lazy)perception only.
    XO
    WWW

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  19. He/she who seeks offence will find it. :-)

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  20. VP:
    Especially when it jumps right out and bites ya!
    XO
    WWW

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