Sunday, March 04, 2012

Quotable: Maternal Ambition

"A female's quest for status- her ambition, if you will- has become inseparable from her ability to keep her offspring and grand-offspring alive. Far from conflicting with maternity, such a female's "ambitious" tendencies are part and parcel of maternal success."

- Sarah Hrdy, in Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species.

Dr. Hrdy is writing about chimpanzees, and speaking of the strictly biological meaning of "maternal success" (i.e., getting your genes propagated into successive generations, and not worrying at all if the offspring carrying the genes are happy and well-adjusted except to the extent that those traits help them pass the genes along to the next generation). Still, I thought it was an interesting quote, given my recent discussion of ambition and motherhood.

(I'm less than 100 pages into Mother Nature, but I am really enjoying it so far. I've had to put it on hold for awhile, though, while I read my next book club book, The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Obreht, which I am also enjoying.)

1 comment:

  1. Well, now I've added another book to my book list. "Mother Nature" sounds fascinating.


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