Confirmation hearings began this week for U.S. President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. Her political & philosophical views completely aside, there's been a lot of buzz speculating about Kagan's sexual orientation -- after all, she's over 50, she's never been married, she has short hair AND she plays softball!! (gasp!!)
Also mentioned, but not to the same extent, is the fact that Kagan doesn't have children. I actually read several articles & blog posts when her nomination was first announced, mourning the fact that President Obama had overlooked other well-qualified women candidates who, unlike Kagan, were moms, and how, should Kagan be confirmed, two of the three women on the Supreme Court would be childless. "Put a Mom on the Court," one headline read. "Elena Kagan sends us on the way to a motherless Supreme Court," reads another. (Hint: the author doesn't think that's a good thing.) (Curiously, the writers of both these articles are men.)
There's more. Just Google "Elena Kagan childless" & start reading.
I'm somewhat sympathetic to the argument that American women desperately need role models who have managed to rise to the top while also having a family. At the same time, reading stuff like:
"To me, if a woman doesn’t have a child, she has only an abstract ability to pass judgment on issues where motherhood is concerned."
sets my teeth on edge. I would submit that parents pass many, many judgments on behalf of people without children that don't necessarily serve our needs very well -- and yet nobody seems to question their ability to speak for us.