So the French President stuck his foot in his mouth and stirred up an internet backlash.
The president of France shouldn’t speak for women—and certainly not on how many children they decide to have.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently said, “I always say: ‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight, or nine children.”
“Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12,” he added during his remarks at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Goalkeepers” event, which was held last month in New York.
Of course, most women agree with Macron on child brides.
But it’s insulting to moms of large families to imply a big family is akin to marrying off children.
I spoke to one such woman, Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, an assistant professor of social research and economic thought at the Catholic University of America, who has eight children—and no regrets about that.
“When I saw [Macron’s] quotation, my first thought was, ‘Hey, wait a second, I exist, and I know lots of people like me that exist,’” Pakaluk, who received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and her doctorate at Harvard University, told The Daily Signal in an interview.
She added that she thought plenty of moms of large families would share the reaction to Macron of thinking that, “Hey, wait, I exist, and my family is not the product of ignorance.”
Plenty of moms have contributed pictures of their beautiful large families to #postcardsforMacron.
Macron’s comments about women having “too many” children are stupid for many reasons but the one about girls leaving school too young to marry… projection anyone? Good grief. He wasn’t a child bride obviously, but he is young-ish, childless, white, male, and the boy toy of a much older woman — a woman who was a teacher at his school! He probably should have kept his mouth shut.
Other than incensing all the educated mothers of large families, he also brought on well deserved criticism for his elitist, patronizing attitude. Only people with degrees are intelligent apparently.
Melody Lyons of the Essential Mother had a perfect response:
I don’t care what the president of France thinks about my motherhood and he doesn’t care what I think. Perhaps I shouldn’t even waste my time with this but I’m not writing for him.
I know that for every highly educated, wildly successful mother-of-many out there (and all the internet posts suggest they are abundant!), there are even more throughout history who are like me…
…A woman who started her family instead of finishing college.
….Who didn’t think the weight of debt was a good trade-off for the value of a degree.
…Who has gained knowledge and experience outside of the popular institutional model.
…Who believes that our creative purpose is not defined by a certificate.
The truth is that civilizations were built on the servant leadership of “uneducated” women who poured their natural gifts into the care of their husbands and children… who have gone on to lead the world.
It is not a weakness of womanhood that we bear this role. It is our genius. JPII said, “To serve is to reign” and those of us who rock the cradle understand this on a deeper level than men.
But the worldly reality is that even if Macron cared about the level of our education or our resumes (he does not), he can always point to the many women like me and say,
“She proves my point.”
I’m not going to play that game with him or the internet because, honestly, I can’t win it. I’m not educated or successful in any way that he specifically means. I also do not buy into his agenda (which is really his issue).
And… it doesn’t matter at all.
At the end of the day, Macron will still think I’m a stupid breeder and I will still have 8 children. Nothing about seeing alphabet soup after my name will ever change his perspective because his point is not really about education… it’s about elitist, narcissistic power, antagonistic to the heart of Jesus Christ.
My own true value as a mother will only ever be weighed correctly by the Power of my God, not by some haughty flash-in-the-pan politician.
To every mother who didn’t participate in the public hashtag event because perhaps you stumbled over your skinny worldly resume…
You are free. You are not defined by men like Macron. He IS talking about you but it doesn’t matter. Neither are you defined by the resume of another woman. They ARE impressive but irrelevant to the genius of your own life.
You are doing it the way the majority of women throughout history have done it. Without fancy modern degrees and accolades. Giving the best part of yourself to your family. Heroically. Quietly. Intelligently. Wisely. Keeper of the flame of love. Guardian of Joy and Faith. Carrying the weight of the restoration of culture on your back.
You don’t owe an explanation to Macron. And when his legacy dies with his mortal body, yours will live on through your children through history and eternity.