A Culture Malignant to Mothers

A Culture Malignant to Mothers
by Paula M. Fitzgibbons
March 9, 2022

A culture malignant to mothers is one where centuries of us 
are blamed for our sons’ disrespect, our sons’ crimes, our sons’ rapes and wars
while literature, technology, art, politics
are curated to promote the disrespect, reward the crimes, glorify the rapes and wars

Headlines warn us that we
—as mothers, as women—
are to blame for the men who fail around us
We are told it’s Oprah’s fault that well-credentialed men
took the platform she offered them and ran their fame into the ground
We are told to apologize for buying our wares from the vendor we didn’t know was problematic
for enjoying beauty in a presentation by the artist we didn’t know was questionable
for creating a son who bombs mothers and daughters and other people’s sons
as if we ever held the power to stop them

The money a woman earns, the status she holds, the body she wears, the mothering she does
—they are the root of all evil

Then when mothers fight back
When we speak out
When we watch over our sons
When we tell them no
When we listen to them and talk to them
And pull open their hearts
When we hold them tighter

We are called helicopter moms
controlling, overbearing, coddling

We are told to simultaneously bear the brunt of their shortcomings
while backing off and accepting a sphere that profits from their falls

A culture malignant to mothers holds us
—mothers, women—
to both the standards set over us by men
and the ones we are told we must uphold on behalf of all the men and boys
in and on the periphery of our lives

And—like malignancy does–
it is killing us