Wonderful cartooning by Jon Kudelka at The Nib. You must read the whole thing. My grandfather was a pilot in the war and hated war, too. Coincidentally, his navigator was also named Don. For a heartstopping moment I wondered if this was his navigator’s grandson’s cartoon I was reading.
In the midst of everything I’ve been going through lately, thank you for reminding me why I started a blog…
This is a beautiful and timely response to receive to my long-running 10 Questions About Your Feminist Parenthood from Slow Growing.
(Can you believe that my 10 Questions have been going since 2007, have received a couple of hundred responses from all over the world from all kinds of feminist parents, and have by now, also been published by me in an academic book?)
5. Do you ever feel compromised as a feminist mother? Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a feminist mother?
The moments when I feel like I have failed most are when I haven’t done my best to act in solidarity with another mother; whether that be by listening well to a friend who is tired in her parenting, or supporting another mother in a tough situation in public, or by finding an authentic response to the suffering of women in other places. I feel this failure daily but I know that for me, and the work of feminism in itself, there will always be work to do and mistakes to be made–it’s a big world out there to respond to. So there’s got to be grace as well. Ultimately the work of feminism is a uniting work, one that illuminates and works through–and for–our deep inter-connectedness and dependence on one another. When I lose sight of that, that is when I feel I have failed the most.
6. Has identifying as a feminist mother ever been difficult? Why?
In the circles that I move in it can be difficult identifying as a feminist–this is mostly because I am not sure that my definition of feminism necessarily fits with the definition in other people’s heads. I think many people still think that feminism equates to hating men, or thinking that you have to run a successful corporation… but as you can see, this is nothing like my feminism.
Through my partner’s workplace and through our church life, I meet a lot of women from more conservative backgrounds who are often at home with their kids too. I wonder if they feel marginalised enough by the celebrity/corporate type of feminism, so much so that they choose not to identify with feminism altogether. I don’t know. I just know that I often feel misunderstood by this group, and misunderstood by some successful working mothers who don’t see the value of the care work I do, or the complexities of professional, cultural, and financial systems that make it hard for many mothers to work outside the home. However, it is never so difficult that I don’t identify as a feminist.
There’s a lot in this response that I relate to, but particularly, her thoughts on vulnerability and connectedness. I love this latest reply to my questions, and thank you for keeping the 10 questions alive.
(You can find all the many other responses in this series here. If you’d like to respond to these questions yourself you can either email me your answers and I’ll put them on blue milk as a guest post or you can post them elsewhere and let me know and I’ll link to them).
Autumn has so far included:
my partner getting quite a bit of surgery
my daughter turning 12
weather too hot for autumn
soup made out of anything left in the fridge
bike riding again, finally
him, oil painting
me, submitting an essay for a book
an engagement cake
the storm shall pass
preparing the kitchen garden for replanting
a new job, and having to take my kids to work for the day because my partner is re-admitted for surgery, and the 7 yr old getting lost after taking himself to the toilet while I am away at a one and a half hour meeting (I know!) and coming across a stately gentleman in the corridors and asking him where I might work and that man, of course, being the CEO, and him telling my son to go down there and hang a right.. and taking my kids home later that evening at precisely the correct time because by then my son was relaxed enough to flip the bird to himself in the mirrors in the elevator.
Paintings are important slices of history, but when they are tucked away in the hallowed halls of museums, large swathes of people are unable to access knowledge about their own past. Outings Project removes art from places frequented largely by privileged art connoisseurs and pastes them on walls which are universally accessible, allowing lesser-known paintings to narrate neglected personal histories.
After reading Cruzvillegas’ warm book and exhibition, I felt renewed. I walked outside and gazed upon the dead patches on our lawn (that none of our neighbors have) and my children’s scattered toys (that every other parent picks up), and for once wasn’t annoyed:
Not long after photographing this autoconstrucción, I decided to set aside my long held hostility toward Instagram and gave it a try. Would it be possible, I wondered, to approach this communal and fragmentary medium with the spirit of generosity as Cruzvillegas describes it (providing things and/or knowledge to oneself as shares or bits of life-term research)?
From “Popsicle #25: The autoconstruccion suites” at Little Brown Mushroom. I can’t remember if I have posted this before.. but I am posting it again.
Are people rude because they are unhappy? Is rudeness like nakedness, a state deserving the tact and mercy of the clothed? If we are polite to rude people, perhaps we give them back their dignity; yet the obsessiveness of the rude presents certain challenges to the proponents of civilized behavior. It is an act of disinhibition: Like a narcotic, it offers a sensation of glorious release from jailers no one else can see.
From Rachel Cusk’s “The age of rudeness: As the social contract frays, what does it mean to be polite?” in The New York Times.
This is a thought-provoking article about rudeness and our failure to find a way to reckon with it politically. More specifically, how politeness instills a pattern of empathy even where one may not yet be capable of it. And so, it is also an article about regret, the failure of empathy, and a falling out with one’s parents.