Friday, May 23, 2008

Rebecca on Alice


"The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother - thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.

You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women."


pomk said...

Well, I'm not upset with her about venting about the issues between her and her mother. I feel that too many people hide pain to glamorize the relationships between them and their parents, sometimes flirting with suppressing and repressing the hurt and causing so much more damage. I know because I have been there. I just hope she knows that this public article is not the way to heal the relationship between her and her mother. It is very obvious that she is unaware of what feminism is fighting for and she should be careful with blurring her mothers actions with an entire movement.
As someone who wholeheartedly wants children, I have taken from feminism the opportunity to rethink the way I plan to do it. To rethink the way I want to raise my children. I do not feel pressured to give up children all together. But rather than go into all of this I just want to say that Rebecca's issues are with her mother, not with feminism. First acknowledging that part of Rebecca's pain may be, in part, the result of the untrue fantasies of family that circulate. I cannot say that Alice's views on feminism didn't affect the way she raised her child, but I believe that those views, whether misrepresented here or not, cannot be seen as uniform throughout the entire movement.

MarcG said...

That ish seemed a little harsh to me. The extreme emphasis on having a child has always worried me. Biology demands it but so does society and too often the two are conflated and/or merged notions. That seems to be what is happening in Rebecca Walker's account. She doesn't mention many of the positive contributions of feminism though I'm certain she must recognize and savour them. This leaves her story seeming quite lopsided and distorted.

I'm glad she wrote it because I'm learning a lot from her critique of some of the contradictions of her feminist upbringing. However, I am troubled by the uncritical handling of the two parent paradigm. A child needs much more than two adults, something she almost admits in saying that Tenzin 'deserves' (not needs) a grandmother but she stops short. Children need many adults and other children in their lives. Not only do they deserve them but a healthy development requires them. The matrimony paradigm leads into the logic of the two parent paradigm. Understanding the oppressive character of marriage leads me to critiquing the two parent paradigm as inadequate as well for healthy human development and liberation. This doesn't happen in her article but I hope the discussion of the article develops the concept.