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University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Children

Law and Society

2012

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Against The New Maternalism, Naomi Mezey, Cornelia T. L. Pillard Jan 2012

Against The New Maternalism, Naomi Mezey, Cornelia T. L. Pillard

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Parenting is a major preoccupation in law and culture. As a result of efforts of the American women's movement over the past forty years, the legal parent is, for the first time in history, sex-neutral. Our law has abandoned restrictions on women's education, employment, and civic participation that sprang from and reinforced beliefs about the primacy of motherhood as women's best destiny. On the flip side, U.S. law now also generally rejects formal constraints on men's family roles by requiring sex-neutrality of laws regulating custody, adoption, alimony, spousal benefits, and the like. The official de-linking ...