Two more have tackled my 10 or so questions about feminist motherhood. Firstly, there is Casey from Expectant Waiting (she is the ‘her’ referred to in the title of this post), and I very much enjoy her writing so I’m pleased to see her turn her unflinching eye towards my questions, and then there is Kelly from Thingy who I’m just meeting now for the first time through her responses to the big 10 questions. Thanks to both of them.
Here is a little taste of Expectant Waiting, yep it is definitely worth a read (and aren’t you dying to know her definition of feminism in one sentence?). Casey is able to discuss just about anything and make it both funny and insightful.
5. Do you ever feel compromised as a feminist mother? Do you ever feel you’ve failed as a feminist mother?
Every damn day. I wish I could say that my objection to patriarchal authoritarianism has translated into an approach to child-rearing that is gentle, reciprocal, and respectful. Let me tell you, though, I yell way too much. I pull rank all the time. I’m always indirectly playing the Bigger Than You card. I hate it.
I also would like to claim that my experience as a mother has made me more politically active, more involved in my community. No. My experience as a mother has made me tired and cranky and frustrated.
On the other hand, I don’t think feminist mothering is really something anyone can succeed at. It’s not really an achievable goal. There are no benchmarks, no milestones that indicate hey! I’ve done it! I’m an official Feminist Mother. Huzzah!
And then Kelly from Thingy has tackled her changing impressions of feminism post-motherhood, with all its “flopping of boobs out in public, picking of daughter’s noses, and failing to shudder at poopy messes”. Turns out while you’re dismantling previously-held boundaries you can get a very different picture of yourself and the world. Kelly’s reflections add to my own theories that motherhood is a potentially very radicalising time for feminism in womens’ lives. If only there was the right book out there, one focused squarely on the intersection of feminism and motherhood.. one we could write together dear reader. Hey, if you know a good publisher.
3. How has your feminism changed over time? What is the impact of motherhood on your feminism?
I used to roll my eyes at the term “feminism”. It immediately conjured visions of women who put down anything remotely feminine. I’m a bit more comfortable with the term now. I know now this was a stereotype trick the public seems to put out there. People are people, and we vary. I can call myself a feminist and still enjoy motherhood, the color pink, and cuddling with my husband. In the beginning, I didn’t feel like I could call myself a feminist. I thought being a feminist meant competing with men and winning. I thought it meant negating all that is “girly”. Now I feel more like it’s about mutual respect. Women just want respect. We want our rights honored. I’m all about that!
Since the birth of my daughter I’m more sensitive to women’s issues and public portrayals of women. I get extra upset over things I see in ads. I wish I could offer my daughter a better world.