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Cosmo Objects To Maternity Leave For Women Because Men Don’t Get It


Cosmopolitan magazine is at it again, with an Ivanka Trump interview about her signature maternity leave policy some have hailed with the typical “Yaas queen, slay goddess!” nonsense that belies vacuous partisanship.

While I’ve debunked Cosmopolitan’s political interests before, this latest foray is particularly humorous. Granted, Ivanka should have known better than to expect fair play from Cosmopolitan. If she had noticed they routinely ignore right-leaning politicians even when the interests of women and that politician overlap, she might have not been so surprised.

Cosmopolitan is rabidly pro-abortion, which might be why they have zero staff who understand what maternity leave is. The interviewer’s main objection to Trump’s maternity leave proposal is that it focuses on women, who give birth.

The first question simply slays. She’s hitting Trump for releasing this plan now, when Hillary released “aspects” of hers more than a year ago. Trump isn’t releasing it now. He and Ivanka announced it at the Republican Convention. In fact, more than a year ago this kind of plan was a live discussion among conservatives. As Reihan Salam discussed recently:

On the surface—and again, the surface is all we have right now—Trump’s paid maternity leave proposal bears a close resemblance to a very good one advanced by domestic policy analyst Abby M. McCloskey in National Affairs last year. McCloskey, a conservative in good standing, has served as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Donald Trump’s mortal enemy, the famously low-energy former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Her proposed maternity-leave program is simple, cheap, pro-growth, and business-friendly.

Let’s be straight here. What Cosmopolitan is objecting to is a Republican doing something for women. That’s because Cosmopolitan doesn’t care about women, it cares about electing Democrats. A sudden interest in fathers is laughable considering that if this same discussion were about abortion, Cosmo would suddenly insist the father had no voice in the affair.

Babies. How Are They Made?

The Cosmo interviewer demonstrates confusion over how babies are made and what maternity leave is for. Maternity is defined as the period during pregnancy and shortly after. This makes maternity leave’s purpose very clear. It’s to allow women time off to recover from delivery, establish breastfeeding, and bond with their babies. One sex, and one sex only, delivers babies, so that sex is the one for whom leave would apply during the period of maternity.

Despite this clear use of the English language, a large part of the interview is the author being confused about why this benefit doesn’t include paternity leave or include gay men who adopt.

Well, what about gay couples, where both partners are men?

Ivanka: The policy is fleshed out online, so you can go see all the elements of it. But the original intention of the plan is to help mothers in recovery in the immediate aftermath of childbirth.

So I just want to be clear that, for same-sex adoption, where the two parents are both men, they would not be receiving special leave for that because they don’t need to recover or anything?

While the mother who chose adoption deserves time for post-partum recovery just like all women, adoption leave is a different concept and not part of maternity leave. Men who are adopting do not have bleeding uteruses to heal or breastfeeding to establish. Although reproductive justice is supposedly their wubby, Cosmopolitan seems to be ill-informed about how women’s bodies need time to recover after childbirth. In some ways this is understandable for a magazine that considers babies a choice, not actual people. So let’s maternity-splain this for Cosmopolitan.

For many women who have a C-section, the recovery time is the same as for any major surgery. For those who have the child naturally, there can extensive tearing, bleeding and other fun stuff not worth mentioning here. Granted, some women bounce back quickly, but many are not able to return to work immediately. The average time for recovery is about six weeks post-delivery:

Traditionally, the medical perspective of the postpartum period refers to the time after childbirth that is required for the reproductive organs to return to their nonpregnant state, a process of about 6 weeks.5 For physicians this time is often perceived as one that requires little assistance other than the single postpartum visit recommended at 4 to 6 weeks after delivery. Yet findings from longitudinal studies suggest that recovery from childbirth involves more than the healing of reproductive organs. Most women contend with several minor to moderate discomforts for weeks (eg, fatigue, breast soreness, cesarean section or episiotomy discomfort, constipation, hemorrhoids, and sexual concerns),510 and some face serious problems, such as depression,1114 that may limit daily activities for months.15

This is study is a fancy way of saying that lots of stuff changes after a baby arrives, and new moms do benefit from having some time to get into a new routine and have their body return to normal. I understand that fathers are critical caregivers for new babies as well, but biologically it’s simply not the same intensity as it is for a woman in the beginning. Paternity leave is nice, but other than the discomforts John Podhoretz kindly highlights, men aren’t breastfeeding or physically healing after a major physical feat.

This is why Cosmopolitan would embrace Trump’s plan for maternity leave if they were consistent with their supposed pro-woman platform. Once again, Cosmopolitan proves they care more about sowing division and pushing one party’s politics than embracing policies their readers want.