..that they should have the courage of women. I mean by this something very concrete and precise: the courage I have seen in women, who, in their public and private lives, both in the interior world of their dreaming, thinking and creating, and the outer world of patriarchy, are taking greater and greater risks, both psychic and physical, in the evolution of a new vision. Sometimes this involves tiny acts of immense courage; sometimes public acts which can cost a woman her job or her life; often it involves moments, or long periods, of thinking the unthinkable, being labelled or feeling crazy; always a loss of traditional securities. Every woman who takes her life in her hands does so knowing that she must expect enormous pain, inflicted from both within and without. I would like my sons not to shrink from this pain, not to settle for the old male defenses, including that of a fatalistic self-hatred. And I would wish them not to do this for me, or for other women, but for themselves, and for the sake of life on the planet Earth.
From Adrienne Rich* in Of Woman Born (1976) to her own three sons.
*Rich is both problematic and inspiring to me as a feminist mother.