1. How would you describe your feminism in one sentence? When did you become a feminist? Was it before or after you became a mother?
The eradication of sexist oppression, one mind at a time.
I became a feminist at age 20, after going through a sexual harassment case at university and realizing a few things:
a. I was not alone in my experience
b. I was not deserving of such experience and treatment
c. The undeservedness was not based in anything unique about me as a person, the undeservedness was because I was a person, and that I had the experience because someone thought it was ok to treat women that way.
2. What has surprised you most about motherhood?
How hard it is, and how my mother and father both come leaping out of my mouth from time to time.
3. How has your feminism changed over time? What is the impact of motherhood on your feminism?
I think I have tried to temper my outrage with constructive action more often than I did in my 20s. Now I think about changing the behaviour, and hope for mindset later. I am also more likely to call women on their own shit – there’s a lot of that – and I include some serious self-critique.
I’m the parent of a young boy, and I hope to raise him to regard and respect women. I want him to understand that women are powerful, not to be trifled with, and to be treated with respect, just as he would
treat himself. And finally, I now call myself a femominist.
4. What makes your mothering feminist? How does your approach differ from a non-feminist mother’s? How does feminism impact upon your parenting?
I can say that I am very aware of sending the message to my son of the importance of action, exploration, and care. I try to find programs and books that have girls and boys as agents of action and power. I note that he has many stereotypical “boy” behaviours, but I don’t write them off as such. Also, I think that the example we set forth in the household, or at least that I try to set forth, is that Mommy and Daddy are partners who love each other and him, and that certain behaviours are not ok.
5. Do you ever feel compromised as a feminist mother? Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a feminist mother?
Not yet. I wonder what the dating experience will be like. I am hoping that the foundations I am laying now prepares him for respectful, loving and exciting experiences later.
6. Has identifying as a feminist mother ever been difficult? Why?
No, it would be much harder pretending that I don’t know what’s going on. The blogosphere also helps here immensely.
7. Motherhood involves sacrifice, how do you reconcile that with being a feminist?
The toughest question! Except that for me, having something unique that came literally from my body obliges me to certain responsibilities and also, has given me great love. And who said feminists don’t make sacrifices? If they are detrimental to your person in matters of principle, well then, that would be
extraordinarily difficult. I haven’t had that happen yet, though it felt like it in those 18 months of 3 hrs of sleep a night.
8. If you have a partner, how does your partner feel about your feminist motherhood? What is the impact of your feminism on your partner?
I think my partner still doesn’t get it entirely. He had no sisters and no female cousins, so women are still sort of a new construct for him. I think the world would suddenly become round for him if we had a daughter.
9. If you’re an attachment parenting mother, what challenges if any does this pose for your feminism and how have you resolved them?
Co-sleeping and baby-wearing came naturally to me. It felt like the right thing to do for my child, in a pragmatic, parent-y way. It didn’t feel like a conflict with my feminism. Instead, it was what was right
for me as a mother, a feminist, a femominist. I didn’t expect anyone else to parent identically, but I figured I would find people with complementary practices.
10. Do you feel feminism has failed mothers and if so how? Personally, what do you think feminism has given mothers?
I think, IMHO, that feminism reinforces the idea that motherhood should be genuinely revered in word and practice, and that in partner relationships, a mother should not be assumed as the only responsible parent in a household – or even the best parent.