Two more mothers have responded to my 10 (plus) questions on feminist motherhood.
First, some aspects of faith. Saha, a Muslim feminist mother talks about how her religion intersects with both her feminism and her motherhood. Her response is fascinating and thought-provoking.
So responsible human interactions to me, means balancing responsibilities (worked out on a nuclear family basis) so that ALL family members have the opportunity to develop as people and feminist motherhood means working to remind the world that our needs as women cannot just be consumed by everyone else’s needs.
How does this translate practically?
a.) gently reminding my husband, who comes from a world in which gender roles are wrapped in concrete and understands this as being religiously mandated, that justice is based on individual circumstances. Therefore, trying to run a household like a traditional village woman without the support structure that is created by the women, for each other is not just. Slowly suggesting that the religious perspective is much broader than is understood, and that there is actually a very strong traditional view that housework and cooking is not the sole responsibility of women at all. And consequently showing our children through joint effort at home that the workings of the home are everyone’s task and not gender specific. Alhamdulillah, he is very responsive.
b.) Understanding that my children are going to be exposed to a lot of sexist twaddle in the community, so it is imperative that I continue to educate myself and develop strength of character in order to counter it and be self-composed enough to cope. Foster very open communication from an early age, so that all these things can be discussed, so that they understand the differing attitudes of the people around them. Again, bringing everything back to the central facet of justice in faith, self-development in faith, and the difference between faith and dogma. And learning as much as I can about dogma, to see where it actually supports women. Always bringing it back to faith-development so that my reactions are not pure cultural and social responses.
And now some aspects of grace. Or rather Grace, Janet’s adorable daughter. Janet often describes the profound impact of Grace on her identify on muppinstuff. And in the excerpt below she talks about how her partner and she organise family life, and her feelings about their trade-off. Janet’s posts are almost always accompanied by beautiful documentary-style photographs and this one is no different.
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’m the main income earner at the moment and although I had a bit over a year off after Grace was born, there are times I would prefer to be a full time stay at home mother. But with equality comes responsibility. And why should he be the one that has to work fulltime all the time? In my femotopia we would both work part-time in family friendly workplaces, doing interesting useful work that paid really well. As it is, we share housework and parenting, although I do less now because I work outside the home more. G’s a bit of a lefty ratbag himself and has always loved strong women, I think he assumes that any sane woman would be a feminist. He’s also a dab hand with the vacuum cleaner and lawnmower. While looking after a child. Although I still do the shopping.
But it’s about more than who looks after the children and who does what at home. It’s about not taking in all those beliefs that one gender or gender role has a lesser or greater intrinsic value.
To read other responses to these 10 feminist motherhood questions, and they’re all very insightful, go here to the archive.