Originally Posted by amitymama
Have any of you read "My Mother Wears Combat Boots: A parenting guide for the rest of us" by Jessica Mills? She's a punk musician/anarchist/radfem and it was refreshing to read a parenting guide by someone who discusses the issues that matter to me. I highly recommend it.
I flipped through it when I saw it in the bookstore! It looked very good. I <3 the birth/parenting section at my local bookstore (ok, actually the largest and best bookstore in Finland, but still...). Even though the mainstream birth and parenting culture is still rather "conservative" here this bookstore consistently stocks books on natural birth and childrearing
Originally Posted by transformed
so my husband and I were having a discussion last night about how our fathers are calm, cool and collected and our mothers are crazy as loons. (
) I was trying to articulate that it was how society wants us to view women but I really didnt have much to ride on. I couldn't articulate myself at.all. I didnt even really know what I was talking about - I just had a feeling that he was wrong. (Even though I think these women are crazy often.)
Anyone have any info? I am looking to explore this topic further. perhaps a book?
I think one of the hardest thins about branching out and learning about feminism, and women is that I, myself am still inherently brainwashed and that is a lot to contend with. 28 years of it. but I can see myself grow in spurts.
Transformed, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, especially after I read your post. When I was growing up and especially as a teenager I was used to thinking of my mom as this crazy, unstable, nagging unpleasant person who drove my dad to be absent, irresponsible, keep his personal life from her. As I've gotten older I've gotten to understand my mom more, and now I've started to see how much my dad's behavior ("normal" for a male in our society) actually drove her
to be how she is ("crazy" - obsessive about cleanliness, morally black-and-white, overly protective, "overly" enthusiastic about holidays, family reunions, etc., somewhat "nagging"). I see more and more how my dad refused to put energy into making a family and keeping up a household, even though he did work long hours to support us. I see how his actions drove my mom to "crazy" behavior which he then used as a justification for not respecting her or participating in life with her as a true partner. I see how my mom saw this as a normal relationship dynamic due to her conditioning as a girl and young woman and how my dad saw it as normal due to his conditioning.
My mom also tried to live up to a standard of "housewife and mother" that is impossible to attain alone (and men, husbands, are not supposed to help a woman be a good housewife but rather battle her efforts the whole time). When one doesn't attain the impossible housewife standard, one is vilified by society for being a bad woman, and when one does attain it, one is vilified for being "crazy" (obsessive about cleanliness and morality, uptight, scourge of "more relaxed" men and children everywhere). It's like when women with large breasts are given advantages for being large-breasted, which encourages women to desire large breasts, and then when a woman gets breast implants everyone laughs at her for being so insecure and looking "ridiculous".
It's so unfair: women are given the role of "keeper of morals" (upkeeper of social mores and duties), conditioned to the duty from very young, and then they are accused by men and women who have rebelled against that conditioning of being "uptight". Even people my age, university guys in their mid 20s, complain about their female partners making them come home from partying earlier, eat vegetables, not ride unsafe motorcycles, use hand sanitizer, stop smoking, exercise, have nice dinner parties, go to bed early, pick up their underwear, be "nice" - see a pattern? And yet they choose to be with the type of woman who finds such things as the above extremely important, having almost a moral quality, and they complain about their women's "restrictions" in a way that lets you know that they actually want and like their women's "uptight" behavior. So the woman gets complained about, the man gets to feel righteous, the woman gets to feel righteous, and there is no true communication or trust. Women like me, who do my utmost not to take on the role of moral lifestyle police, get to hear their friends complain, with utmost sincerity, about how uncivilized and wrongheaded their male partners are for not picking up their underwear or not stopping before that one last beer or not wanting to clean the house on saturdays - and while I want to validate my friends as people with real concerns, I hate the fact that they have been socialized to consider those things to be almost as important as the fact that they love their partners and their partners love them. And I also hate that men have been socialized to consider such things completely trivial. So instead of women communicating to men that, when they live with someone, they would really like it if both parties could be neat and pick up their own dirty clothes, or share the cleaning equally, and men respecting that for the small, reasonable, personal-responsibility issue it is, or women communicating to men that when they pick up their underwear it shows that they care and makes them feel loved and men accepting and respecting that, we have women getting enraged at men leaving their underwear on the floor and men completely disregarding that rage because they think a messy floor is trivial.
I'm rambling here, am I making any sense?