The Thinking 
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The Milking Machine

May 1, 2012



The Third Class Carriage, Honore Daumier

THE outrage of breastfeeding, in the mind of a feminist, is that it is something men can never do. It is inescapably feminine, an activity that resists the 50/50 division of child-rearing that is so much a feminist fantasy. In her book, Elizabeth Badinter, the French intellectual, insists it is wrong to hold up breastfeeding as an ideal. She writes:

A few advocates of breast-feeding do recognize that mothers might feel trapped by political correctness and they challenge the movement’s sentimental image of motherhood with its erasure of all the other aspects of breast-feeding: the loss of freedom and the despotism of an insatiable child. They recognize that a baby might be a source of happiness, but also a devastating tornado. On-demand breast-feeding can leave women feeling like “a walking meal” or a “giant pacifier” or a milk-producing “ecosystem,” of having lost their status as individuals with their own will and desires. But these cries do not appear in the pro-breastfeeding literature, which claims that what is good for some is good for all.

There is a good reason such statements don’t appear in the breast-feeding literature. They smack of selfish complaining. Whether one enjoys breastfeeding or not, whether one agrees to do it or not, public whining about despotic children is something mothers — I mean, real mothers — resist, in the same way real soldiers resist complaining about helping a wounded friend.

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A French Revolutionary Scolds Mothers

May 1, 2012


ELIZABETH BADINTER, the French feminist in the news, seems to have stepped from the pages of a contemporary fairy tale, so perfectly does she combine almost all the major elements of modern-day power and influence. She is a lecturer in philosophy at an elite academic institution (she smokes, so she must be a French philosopher) and is married to a prominent socialist politician. She is the major stockholder of one of the largest communications companies in the world, which was founded by her father. She’s never been a movie star, but she is so well-placed in government, business, academia, and the media, was it possible she would not be heard?

Badinter, 66, has authored a number of books on feminism. Like so many women who have achieved great success in recent decades, she is, despite her undeniable and impressive intelligence, walking proof of the intellectual inferiority of women. How many male philosophers end up writing about the male sex, championing its cause and tabulating its accomplishments in comparison to women? How many male philosophers become famous on such thin and narrow works? There is great irony in the fact that feminists should themselves prove what they have so often denied. But then mediocrity is the inevitable fruit of egalitarianism. Read More »


Elizabeth Badinter

May 1, 2012



THE French feminist and best-selling author Elizabeth Badinter has been the subject of wall-to-wall coverage in the mainstream press in recent weeks on the occasion of the North American edition of her book, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, which was a bestseller in France two years ago.

It is no surprise that Badinter should receive such notice. Aside from the feminist message of her book, she is a woman with towering connections in the communications industry.

Badinter, 66, is a Jewish professor of philosophy at the elite École Polytechnique in Paris. Her deceased father was Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, founder of the company Publicis Groupe, one of the top four multinational advertising and communications companies in the world. She is the major stockholder in Publicis and chairperson of its Supervisory Board. She is one of the wealthiest people in France, with a fortune valued at more than 750 million euros.

Badinter is the wife of Robert Badinter, the former French Minister of Justice under the socialist government of François Mitterand who was influential in eliminating capital punishment. The couple has three sons and lives near Luxembourg Gardens.

I will offer my thoughts on Badinter’s book later today. Stay tuned.

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