Some I’ve mentioned before but in case you missed them..
Minister for Women
minister for putting your knickers into soak
for washing your bra in a laundry bag
for the stains that never come out
for hanging those sheets out to dry anyway
because fuck you
Dear Amanda and Debbie
the cake tin I’m using is square
and it’s supposed to be round
I think I married the wrong man
I am trying to trace it back to
the first wrong decision I made
Letter for a friend
Did you ever stand
with your hands in the sink
up to your elbows in soapy water
staring out the window
listening to the voices?
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Posted in 10 feminist motherhood questions, ableism, arguments with your partner, child hatred bigotry, classism, economics, fatherhood, feminism, feminist motherhood, motherhood, motherhood bliss, motherhood sux, politics, preschoolers, raising daughters, raising sons, slow parenting, toddlers, work and family (im)balance on December 10, 2014 |
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My latest article is here.
Speaking of personal stories, Latham has an interesting story, too. He’s a stay-at-home father with a wife working outside the home. Having made the transition from political leadership to primary caring he might offer an insightful perspective, instead, he seems clouded by a kind of defensive masculinity. And his hostility towards feminist parenting is curious when you consider Latham’s own role reversal is exactly the kind of freedom feminists are seeking as an option to be available for more parents. But critiquing parenting has long been an underhand route for simply censuring women.
Women well know that when male commentators talk about women’s lives they are prone to holding unexamined views that run contrary to one another. So, being the primary parent has allowed Latham to see the hoax that fathers can’t be nurturing, but somehow mothering is still essentialist enough for inner-city feminists to be capable of running a secret campaign to “free themselves from nature’s way”. And further, mothers who take their experiences seriously enough to write about them are “self-absorbed”, but to not take them seriously is to be “breeding a generation of shirtless, tone-deaf, overweight, pizza-eating dummies”. Although Macdonald, apparently, manages to do both.
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Quotes from Ariel Gore’s The End of Eve: A Memoir:
My mother stared ahead into the rain. I knew her well enough to know that she always had an agenda, but sometimes part of her agenda was pretending she didn’t have an agenda.
I thought of my Gammie, and the way she’d pour herself a nice, tall vodka tonic whenever she saw my mother enter a room and sip her drink and whisper under her breath, “If there isn’t chaos, there soon will be”.
I didn’t know if the cure for my life was to lie to everyone about everything or to become brutally honest.
And I didn’t want to say too much because, inexplicably, I still wanted people to like her.
This was supposed to be a book about a typical caregiver – a daughter with children of her own trying to help her terminal if eccentric widow-mother through a final year. But now here we were mid-narrative, more than a year gone by, and no one had died and I didn’t have a mother anymore and the semester was wrapping up.
Family and strangers sharing a meal; toothy smiles as if we weren’t all in it for the kill.
Maia lifted her Bloody Mary and shrugged. “Let’s not even list what we’re thankful for this year”.
I remembered when I was pregnant with Maia how terrified I felt that I would abuse her. That I would torment her. And I remembered the flood of relief when I realized unabusive motherhood wasn’t so very hard. That sure – it took a diligence, problably more diligence when emotional violence was my first language. But that in the end it isn’t so hard not to ruin everything we love. It meant deferring to my child when I felt that wit’s-end rage bubble up, meant stepping back to remind myself that she was the baby here, that I was the grown-up. It meant reminding myself to behave in a way I would be proud of. It meant not always needing to be right, apologizing when I was wrong. It meant a lot of pause-taking. But it wasn’t so very hard.
This book was such a great read.
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This is a terrific essay from Helen Addison-Smith in The Overland, “Yes, men are better writers”.
Recently, I received an email from a literary publication asking me to comment on why ‘women are underrepresented in major publications’. Since I’m a single mother, working six days a week, and I wasn’t going to be paid, I didn’t respond. But I thought I’d reply here, so Overland will give me cash.
It’s simple, really. Men are published more than women because men are better writers than women.
Do I need to say that there are great female writers? Maybe I do, because you don’t know me, and I might just be a misogynist arsehole. And do I need to say that there are boatloads of very bad male writers? No, you can just go to your local bookshop and peruse the new releases to prove that to yourself.
‘Good writing’ does not emanate from the penis but it does emanate from material conditions. Writing takes time – great swathes of clean, empty time, unsullied by children or housework or deep worry about money or skincare routines. To be a writer is to be selfish enough to grab time and spend it churning words around, even though you are not getting paid very much, hardly anybody cares about what you’re doing, and even fewer people think that it’s any good.
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Posted in arguments with your partner, body image, book review, fatherhood, feminism, feminist motherhood, motherhood, motherhood bliss, motherhood sux, sex of the icky parental kind, single parenthood, work and family (im)balance on August 7, 2014 |
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If sex is dangerous territory for memoir writing then it is surpassed only by motherhood. Mothering is so wrapped up in notions of sacrifice that it can scarcely sustain even the mildest critical eye without some controversy. Rachel Cusk, one of my favourites in this field, is completely vilified for her memoir writing. In fact, a scathing review of her latest memoir, Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation won Hatchet Job of the Year. Sometimes the criticism of her motherhood writing is about her taking domestic life too seriously; something that is notably considered “brave” when done by a male author.
But more often it is about Cusk being insufficiently cheerful about domestic life. In depicting herself as a mother in Aftermath, Cusk is devoted to her children but you are still invited to consider her selfish. Cusk describes an argument around shared parenting revealing her own monster. For Cusk to pursue her writing career, her ex-husband had given up his job and become a stay-at-home father. Now that they’re divorcing, Cusk is horrified to discover her rights as a mother aren’t enough to allow her primary care of the children. Cusk was roundly criticised for this moment in the book – oblivious, nasty and domineering.
But you only know this information because Cusk gave it to you. She realises her sense of injustice is perverse. She is exploring a wider point about how ill-equipped early attempts at feminist living are for the emotional bonds of motherhood. She is thinking not just about what the moment means for her but what it means for everyone else, too. If you think she’s selfish because of this anecdote I have to wonder how well you’ve received the gift of confession. Because personal writing, more than anything else is a favour of empathy.
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