New Book about Male Maternity: review by Caterina Dominici, newsletter May 2015

Professor Juan Carlos Suarez Villegas’ book “The male Maternity” presents an interesting, original and unique interpretation of “male maternity”. Spanish, Italian and English versions are already available. It is published by Il Sextante, an Italian publishing house based in Trento.

What does Professor Villegas mean by “male maternity”? In a nutshell, both father and mother have to develop maternal attitudes and ways of behaving in children’s upbringing; their commitment towards their children has to follow similar paths.

So “male maternity” means practically a common attitude of availability, a feeling towards children that is similar to that of a nurturing mother and a spending of equal amounts of time to upbringing. This commitment has been viewed as female values, especially in the past, but in reality they are equally rooted in human nature -irrespective of the gender of a person.

There is no doubt that this proposal, free from ancient moralistic attitudes and sectarian ideologies, is revolutionary. Professor Villegas argues eloquently that to obtain a real parity between a father and mother in carrying out the common tasks in their children’s upbringing the law is not enough. Parental equality can be possible, but it has to be substantially respected and translated into concrete acts. The book explains how this is done by using the concept of parity (equality). We need a parity that is obtained day by day by testifying values and challenging the established power.

The equality within public institutions cannot be guaranteed by the male logic of power for power’s sake, but rather it must be achieved by women and men participating and being jointly committed. Professor Villegas: “the perspective of equality should refer to any aspect of social life and foster a cross board view providing living together with more humane values. Politics should consider its commitment to trying to humanize society as the main criterion of efficacy”.

The author sums up inn the last chapter ‘Female Upbringing’ the main points of his reflections and concludes with: “the time has come to break once and for all the dichotomy between public and private”. There is no use in differentiating roles, if we are all equal and have to participate in the public and in the private space at the same time given that we live together in our community.

Spanish version: 

Italian version:

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