My Feminist Motherhood questions have taken flight and set off for a course of their own, they’ve become a meme. I’m very pleased but I’m not sure how I am going to keep up with them now.
Here are two more. (One of the best things about these questions has been discovering new blogs, and both of these thought-provoking blogs are new to me and they’re terrific finds).
What has surprised you most about motherhood? How has your feminism changed over time? What is the impact of motherhood on your feminism?
I think, for a long time, feminist notions for me were bound up in a specific contemporary form which defines feminist ideals along traditionally male roles in society – being career orientated, being independent, being a leader. Being a mother didn’t fit easily into this paradigm, and that has caused me to take another look at what feminism could/should mean for me. I feel that what often passes as equality actually forces women into certain roles either at the expense of motherhood or in addition to motherhood, without any changes being made societally. In other words, women were encouraged to change, with relatively few negotiations being made on the system level. So, although it is now acceptable for a woman to have a career and a family, maternity leave (at least in the US) is almost non-existent, few fathers choose to stay at home or reduce their workload to take part caring for children, and for these reasons women with children are still viewed unfavorably by employers in ways that men with children are not. Studies of academic professionals, at least, show that there is a strong discrepancy between the effect of having children on female and male professionals and that to me signifies a bias that needs to be addressed.
And from Writing Maternity.
What makes your mothering feminist? How does your approach differ from a non-feminist mother’s? How does feminism impact upon your parenting?
I think that I worry about the effects of popular culture more than the less-feminist parents I know, and try to establish more of a bulwark against them. I’m also aware of providing a feminist model in the ways that I try to balance career/vocation and family — a career that ‘s just as important to our family as G’s. And while dividing parenting is a neverending process, we work hard to share it equally: we’re both engaged with our daughters’ schools, we share cooking and food-shopping, we alternate who puts them to bed, and so on. All of those choices are ones that I think of as feminist. They’re also the only thing that makes sense for who G and I are as people and as a couple.
The feminist motherhood responses being selectively understood here at Oz Conservative. Well, he does say ‘conservative’ so it is not an unexpected analysis.
And thank you everyone for voting for blue milk for the Best Parenting Blog Award in the 2008 Bloggers Choice Awards, for a brief moment feminist motherhood has made it to the front of the pack. OK yes, this is a plug.