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post #41 of 281
Here's an essay about intactivism being a feminist act:

http://www.noharmm.org/feminist.htm
post #42 of 281
Greenmamapagan, thank you for the site! I am exploring it now. While it doesn't say much about homebirth, it does have a lot to say about how to get a natural birth in the hospital and what "natural birth" is, which is great! I love the internet! The pictures provided of the rooms in the two birth centers I know of also made me realize that they are not a real option for me and that homebirth for future babies is definitely going to be my goal. Btw, they are trying to close down one of those birth centers (again) right now due to "lack of funding". As if it were cheaper to have a highly medicalized birth. Not that that's where the state should be cutting their budget anyway! Sigh...
I'm curious though, do you personally know the Finnish homebirther who set up the site? Because we are ttc right now and so far my search for a hb midwife has been fruitless. I would be really interested to know how she found a hb midwife.
A&A, that is an interesting article, thank you.
post #43 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post
I'm curious though, do you personally know the Finnish homebirther who set up the site? Because we are ttc right now and so far my search for a hb midwife has been fruitless. I would be really interested to know how she found a hb midwife.
No, I don't know her personally. She is on a local attachment parenting list I'm on. I know she's back in Finland now and that her last bub was born there, I'm not sure but she may have had her fist homebirth when she was living here (Australia). Perhaps if you contacted her she would try to help you find a mw.
How frustrating about the birth centre
post #44 of 281
Talking about pictures on the internet, I thought I might share this. These are pictures from Serbia's most "prestigious" L&D hospital. The website is there for women to share their horror stories. I don't think they are doing much to change the conditions though )some half-hearted attempts), and they are not interested in homebirth.

Isn't it funny how you run into the same people all the time on MDC? Lots of UC-ers on this thread - do you think it is a coincidence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post
Greenmamapagan, thank you for the site! I am exploring it now. While it doesn't say much about homebirth, it does have a lot to say about how to get a natural birth in the hospital and what "natural birth" is, which is great! I love the internet! The pictures provided of the rooms in the two birth centers I know of also made me realize that they are not a real option for me and that homebirth for future babies is definitely going to be my goal. Btw, they are trying to close down one of those birth centers (again) right now due to "lack of funding". As if it were cheaper to have a highly medicalized birth. Not that that's where the state should be cutting their budget anyway! Sigh...
I'm curious though, do you personally know the Finnish homebirther who set up the site? Because we are ttc right now and so far my search for a hb midwife has been fruitless. I would be really interested to know how she found a hb midwife.
A&A, that is an interesting article, thank you.
post #45 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmamapagan View Post
No, I don't know her personally. She is on a local attachment parenting list I'm on. I know she's back in Finland now and that her last bub was born there, I'm not sure but she may have had her fist homebirth when she was living here (Australia). Perhaps if you contacted her she would try to help you find a mw.
How frustrating about the birth centre
Ok, thanks, I will probably try to contact her. I realized from the website actually that I was directed to the same place by a Finnish MDC member recently... I think it's time to go check it out.
Yeah, I have been stewing about the birth center (actually it's just a small local hospital specializing in natural birth but it's the closest thing Finland has to a birth center) all day : I really hope they don't shut it down... People come there all the way from Russia (probably because birth conditions there are similar to Serbia's I would think).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
Talking about pictures on the internet, I thought I might share this. These are pictures from Serbia's most "prestigious" L&D hospital. The website is there for women to share their horror stories. I don't think they are doing much to change the conditions though )some half-hearted attempts), and they are not interested in homebirth.

Isn't it funny how you run into the same people all the time on MDC? Lots of UC-ers on this thread - do you think it is a coincidence?
Oh my goodness, MittensKittens. Those pictures are... harrowing The place is a dump - does this send the message that women/their reproductive functions are garbage, much? : Are people really not willing to work towards change even with sites like these where obviously a decent number of women had terrible experiences and are publicly complaining about them? Could you contact the person who started that site and see if she would be interested in putting up some sort of notice of a meeting or something on her site? See if you could get a few women together who have had enough? (I'm only asking these things in the context of you asking for ideas about activism... probably you have already thought of these though!)
I do not think it is a coincidence at all Since radical feminism involves questioning the whole system altogether, I think it makes perfect sense... Not that you have to UC to really "get it", not at all, but I think when you get into rad. fem. enough you are seriously going to question routine hospital birth.
post #46 of 281
Hello! I just found this thread and am reading with interest. I don't know if I qualify as a "radical" feminist, but I am definitely a feminist. But I agree that we need a new "face" to feminism. I read an article in my mother's More magazine, bemoaning how the younger generation (meaning us) has "dropped the ball" and use statistics about the growing number of educated, professional women dropping out of the workforce to stay home with their children as an example of that. I can't tell you how much that gets my goat!

Anyways, I totally agree with you all on how feminism has totally passed over the birthing rights issues. I am just getting started in activism. I'm president of a non-profit friends group trying to support midwifery and eventually be part of a movement in our state to license CPMs. I am finding this very difficult right now. I have so many things I want to do with this organization, but I am so exhausted and overwhelmed just trying to take care of my 3 children. They are so young right now... but now is the time things are happening here, and honestly, if I don't do this I don't know who will. The Board of our Friends group has changed over a few times already, and we just had another member who had to step down due to health reasons and nobody has yet to fill that place. So, I am trying, even though I feel like I'm only doing a half-a** job of it.

So, yah, I'm having a hard time figuring out that balance between mothering and outside "work" -even unpaid, volunteer work. I've also done some WAH in the past, but not for about a year. I'm finding it difficult.

As a young adult, I did a lot of reading about issues surrounding girls and women, especially as it related to my field, education. I learned about sexism in schools and the gender gap, etc. Then I had my first child... a boy. Then I had two more boys. At first, I was concerned with making sure my boys would grow up to be sensitive men who would be full partners to their wives. I still am concerned about that. BUT, I have also done a lot more research and have come to understand how our gender stereotypes and expectations are also so harmful to boys and men. Now I am primarily concerned with how to protect my boys in this world. I want to protect them from the aggression and dominance images that saturate our media. I want to protect their emotional integrity so they don't feel they have to cut off a part of themselves in order to fit in with society's image of a "tough guy." Yet, I still want to honor the boyish parts of them... the tendency to want to compete, a need for rambunctious play and a lot of movement, their concern about fair play, etc. And now I am pretty annoyed at how little attention is made to the needs of boys in our schools... the gender gap goes both ways, and boys are being shortchanged in many ways.

Anyways, I find myself in a strange dichotomy. My friends from high school (who I am becoming reacquainted with through facebook of all things!) are primarily professional women who are politically active and identify themselves as feminists--yet do not seem to question the status quo/mainstream in regards to rearing children. My friends here in town are wonderfully crunchy, but most are pretty conservative and seem hesitant to identify themselves as feminists.

I am also wondering what will happen once all my kids are all school age. I still have this idea that I should have a "career" and I really do want some time to pursue outside interests in some form. But, I am becoming more open to the idea of SAH while my kids are in school. I would like to pursue activism and creative endeavors (would really like to write that book I've been wanting to write!)... but then I wonder if it is fair to expect my husband to carry the financial burden of supporting our family for so long. Doesn't he deserve to pursue activism and creative endeavors, too?

And then I wonder what kind of example I'm setting for my boys, since I am finding myself in a "traditional" gender role. But, then, they do see their dad cooking dinner and cleaning the house and caring for babies, too, so we are not completely traditional. I do feel a bit guilty when something needs to be fixed, and I say "wait for Dad to get home." I feel like I'm not holding up my end of the bargain... but unlike my own mother I'm actually not very good at mechanical/fixing things and don't really like to do it.

In general, I'm just struggling with what it means to be a feminist stay at home mom.

And that saga turned out a lot longer than I meant it to be... I have been thinking about theses issues for quite a while.
post #47 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
Birth rights are very important to me, especially right now as I am realizing the depth of some peoples' prejudices with regard to UC. As for abortion, *Yeah, I know MDC's policy on discussing that* I strongly feel that in this country, it is not one of the rights that women have fought for, but rather, something that many women are coerced into much of the time, because of lack of economic possibilities for single moms. Abortion "rights" are well established here, and it is not something I would ever campaign for.
But I think that's why women's rights are so tied to other social issues. Like in the US, if we had affordable healthcare and paid leave from work (and paid leave for our partners), abortion would be less of an issue. Now it's women over 30 who are having more abortions, often because they can't afford another child. So I think feminism is tightly tied to socialism. That's one of the reasons I can't call myself ONLY a feminist, although abortion rights have always been a major issue for me. I'm really more of a socialist in general because I think socialist policies tend to benefit women more than capitalist policies (not that the two are mutually exclusive - they just tend to be in the US).
post #48 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
And then I wonder what kind of example I'm setting for my boys, since I am finding myself in a "traditional" gender role. But, then, they do see their dad cooking dinner and cleaning the house and caring for babies, too, so we are not completely traditional. I do feel a bit guilty when something needs to be fixed, and I say "wait for Dad to get home." I feel like I'm not holding up my end of the bargain... but unlike my own mother I'm actually not very good at mechanical/fixing things and don't really like to do it.

In general, I'm just struggling with what it means to be a feminist stay at home mom.

And that saga turned out a lot longer than I meant it to be... I have been thinking about theses issues for quite a while.
Hi honeybee! I agree that boys are shortchanged in this society as well... feminism is so not just about women! It's about changing the relationship between the sexes to be less rigid and oppressive for everyone.
I don't think you should feel guilty! If you're not good at a coincidentally traditionally male skill that doesn't mean you don't provide a different contribution that's just as important. Perhaps you do more housework than your husband, for example. The main thing I think is that all kinds of work and contribution to the family are seen as valuable, including cooking, cleaning, fixing stuff, earning wages, etc. etc. because traditionally "men's work" has been seen as more valuable, important and fun than "women's work" and I think that's half the problem right there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katmann View Post
But I think that's why women's rights are so tied to other social issues. Like in the US, if we had affordable healthcare and paid leave from work (and paid leave for our partners), abortion would be less of an issue. Now it's women over 30 who are having more abortions, often because they can't afford another child. So I think feminism is tightly tied to socialism. That's one of the reasons I can't call myself ONLY a feminist, although abortion rights have always been a major issue for me. I'm really more of a socialist in general because I think socialist policies tend to benefit women more than capitalist policies (not that the two are mutually exclusive - they just tend to be in the US).
I think you are right to a large extent. Here in Finland they have a much more socialist system than in the states and it has been a major contributor to gender equality - at least in the public sphere. It is much easier to have a career and also a family here due to paid maternal and paternal leave, public childcare, public healthcare, public assistance, a "child bonus" from the government, single mothers are not officially stigmatized, etc. etc. HOWEVER, women still do most of the housework and cooking even if they work 9-5, which they are expected to do much more here than in the states. The structures are in place to help women live a life "equal to" (which here is interpreted as "the same as") a man's life, but the attitudes and expectations of gender roles in private life have not changed all that much. For example, women here still know how to see dirt, whereas men don't, and so women clean because men don't know it's time to clean. I'm sure this is a "training" issue because I have taught my DP to "see" dirt slowly over the past few years, and I know I was taught to see it more than my brother ever was - because my mom just assumed that men naturally don't know how! And I think this is a very prevalent issue. Men just aren't taught to care, or that they should care, and by the time this becomes an issue in a private relationship women are already 10 times faster and better at caretaking than men due to years of practice so they just do it rather than forcing the men to learn how. I notice this in my dealings with DP - it's much easier to just wipe up the counter after him than to teach him how to do it thoroughly, or cook the sauce myself rather than letting him learn the most efficient way to do it through experience as I have.
So while more socialist policies definitely help, there isn't going to be true equality in any system until the underlying expectations people have of gender roles change.
Also, while I do believe that it is extremely important for women to have the same opportunites to interact in public life as men have, I think that funnelling all women into the rat race with men (as has been the focus of feminism in Finland) is not going to help anyone be happier in the end. What really needs to change is the culture of wage earning being the superior activity to non-paid activities such as parenting, housekeeping, volunteering, etc. Of course, one could definitely blame capitalism for that too... Sigh, it's all so complicated.
post #49 of 281
Oh, I wanted to ask everyone: how "out" are you as a feminist? I am not terribly much - I don't call myself a feminist, for one thing. I don't stint to argue with people about the safety of homebirth or to point out that one rape affects all women, but I don't generally use the word "patriarchy" to explain why births are centered in hospitals, or anything else for that matter... Probably only my DP really knows the extent of my beliefs.
I am starting to care less and less what my friends know about my ideas though (my facebook is full of feminist quotes ). Perhaps part of what's holding me back about becoming more outspoken is that, while I find it easy to point out what's wrong, I don't really have a theory about what would make things better. One thing I believe is that politics won't change anything - call me cynical, but I believe power is always going to be in the hands of the rich and well-connected no matter what kind of system or laws you have. I think the way things change is through grassroots efforts - but I don't know what kind of effort to make, where to focus myself, or even how. I also feel that I don't know enough about the world to formulate a theory of how things should operate - but then I look around and I see that many people in power have even less insight into things than I do!
post #50 of 281
i have lots to say to this thread but no time! i will be back!

just wanted to post a link to this article - you can never have too many mothers which i thought was interesting

Quote:
What I'm saying is that human mothers are unusual in how much support they need. I'm also trying to expand the concept of what children need to include other people as well as mothers. Mothers need a lot of social support, and having more than one caretaker is very, very useful.
post #51 of 281
Ok, I'm posting yet again I'm really not trying to hijack this thread, I'm just at work and procrastinating

Quote:
Originally Posted by calpurnia View Post
i have lots to say to this thread but no time! i will be back!

just wanted to post a link to this article - you can never have too many mothers which i thought was interesting
Calpurnia, that article was very interesting, I think I will have to check out some of this woman's books - have you read any of them, out of curiosity?
Her theory sounds right to me. Most societies, including ours until a hundred years ago, operate/d on an extended family/small community basis, with lots of alloparents to go around.
It would make sense that we, who have evolved for an alloparent context, would have trouble in a system that confines caretaking to one person.
I also think it's interesting in the implications for daycare. It doesn't seem to be a bad thing for a child to not be raised 24/7 by its mother, but the average daycare attendant is not at all the same as the grandmother or aunt or sibling of the child in terms of providing loving, emotionally meaningful, and caring support and social interaction. The difference between modern alloparenting substitutes and the traditional alloparenting context is that childcare was historically provided by people who had a vested interest in the child and its survival, not strangers.
post #52 of 281
Just a quick check-in because the hijacking of Mother's Peace Day by the advertising industry hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday and i'm still bawling and wanting to singlehandedly turn it into a National Day of Mourning the way the native american movement has been able to do for thanksgiving.

Never mind, just United Statesian stuff.

MittensKittens, I think it's yet another coincidence! I posted as Anonymon in the feminist blogosphere, but I think the ddos attacks on the people I can't mention because of MDC's UA during the incident I can't mention because of MDC's UA happened long before Terran's birth and i've been kind of hiding out since then. There is another Anonymom (which i didn't know when i began posting under that username) who i fear might have borne the brunt of attacks intended for me.

Anyway, the whole encyclopedia dramatica incident was very dramatic and relatively peripheral to this discussion. I'm a baby Radfem who is pretty devoted to my mentors, who are controversial figures in the blogosphere. I am open to having my ideas and perceptions challenged, but not to ad hominems on two fairly well known Radfems who have been there for me during some very difficult periods of my life and I have never posted under the name "Biting Beaver".

Honeybee, i am so thrilled to have someone else to talk to about Boys Rights! As i said during my pregnancy, i wish Terran's gender were not so important, but it did determine the direction my own life is going to take over the next 20 years or so. I have an older son, who i feel that i have failed miserably, and i need to get excited about the challenges that lay ahead of Terran and I and become more confident in my own ability to deal with them.

THIS son shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
him of charity, mercy and patience.
post #53 of 281
nak with lots to say but probably not enough time to say it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by katmann View Post
But I think that's why women's rights are so tied to other social issues. Like in the US, if we had affordable healthcare and paid leave from work (and paid leave for our partners), abortion would be less of an issue. Now it's women over 30 who are having more abortions, often because they can't afford another child. So I think feminism is tightly tied to socialism.
Exactly. It's my opinion that capitalism is bad for everyone but as you run through a checklist of disadvantage and oppression it blows my mind that women, that's half the population(!!!), do so freakin' poorly in all aspects. Of course, class and race pull up pretty poorly too and we can't forget that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post
Oh, I wanted to ask everyone: how "out" are you as a feminist?
Very out. Though less so with my newer mama friends. I do try pretty hard to sneak a bit of consciousness raising into my mothers groups though. But in general it's hard for me to be 'in' given my personal and professional history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noordinaryspider View Post
Just a quick check-in because the hijacking of Mother's Peace Day by the advertising industry hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday and i'm still bawling and wanting to singlehandedly turn it into a National Day of Mourning the way the native american movement has been able to do for thanksgiving.

THIS son shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
him of charity, mercy and patience.
I know what you mean re Mothers Day - can you imagine if mothers rallied in the streets instead of the stores? We might actually have a chance at a real, large and meaningful womens movement.

I also wanted to say something about the sentiment that you failed your older son. You didn't! Society may have, but you are not solely responsible for the social education and upbringing of your kids, no one is. We don't live in a vacuum and we're all products of something much bigger than our parents and upbringing.

more t say but have a fidget midget on my lap and should pay him some attention before he loses the plot!
post #54 of 281
Is this thread dying a slow death, or are you all out campaigning? I do hope it's the latter!
post #55 of 281
i'm revising for finals! i shouldn't be here at all.

quick question: what do you do when people say things like "you can have the pink one, because you're a girl!", or "look at her kicking! she's going to be a ballet dancer!" (or, blue = boy, kicking = footballer). do you nod & smile, or do you interject the other option? dd is only 11 months & we are getting SO MUCH of this from people we see a lot - friends, mothers in law etc... i don't know how much to let slide & how much to challenge.
post #56 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by calpurnia View Post
i'm revising for finals! i shouldn't be here at all.

quick question: what do you do when people say things like "you can have the pink one, because you're a girl!", or "look at her kicking! she's going to be a ballet dancer!" (or, blue = boy, kicking = footballer). do you nod & smile, or do you interject the other option? dd is only 11 months & we are getting SO MUCH of this from people we see a lot - friends, mothers in law etc... i don't know how much to let slide & how much to challenge.
I hate that. It happens all the time in various forms. When DD was younger people frequently called her "him" because I am a bit resistant to pink. Depending on who makes the comment, I either explain my views, make a rude comments, or just ignore it.

Another question for you all - on the "case against circumcision" board, I frequently read comments about how society protects our daughters, but is biased against our sons. It talks about institutional bias against men. While I am anti-circ, the way in which these comments are formulated rub me the wrong way. What are your opinions?
post #57 of 281
And any good links on feminists raising boys?
post #58 of 281
As the mother of an intact son, I am definitely not concerned with the institutional/systemic oppression of men. It's a simplistic argument to even try and assert that routine male circumcision is oppressive, just as it's simplistic to assert that female circumcision is oppressive. In my view, female circumcision is one of the many tools used by the system/patriarchy/whoever you believe to be responsible, that contributes to and maintains the oppression of women and girls. It is simply not the same for males. Cruel and unnecessary, yes. Systemically oppressive, no.

And on the gendering of our kids...it drives me 'round the twist. DP's mother has recently picked up on my flippant comment that I don't want DP's racing car driver brother anywhere near DS once he's old enough to understand - I said it in jest because racing cars scare the sh*t out of me and I don't want DS to die. Simple concept, but a joke nonetheless. DP's mother will not let it go and has gotten into such a flap about it. She's suddenly all morally panicked that DS is being raised by 2 women who clearly are bringing him up to be a girl??!!!? Now, every time we see her she talks about what a great football player he's going to be and how he needs to get some football socks or that his uncles need to take him to the football this year. Um, he's 5 months old. I really don't think any babe, boy or girl needs to go to the football that young. I also make the point, regularly, that I am thrilled for DS to have a million interesting things in his life, his uncles and football included, if he so chooses, but that my biggest priority is giving him the tools to decide and express whoever and whatever he wants to be. Still, she's determined to buy him a tonka truck for his 1st birthday. Anyway, that's my massive gripe about her. My step-mum also recently said to him 'look bubby, there's a truck, that's a BOY thing.' I almost lost the plot over that. This is one hard battle to have.

I have to admit though, I do get some pleasure when people mistake him for a girl. I don't dress him in blue (or pink) ever so there are a few folks that we see around the neighbourhood who are a bit unsure. I love it! I never correct people when they get his sex wrong either. It's so unimportant, it's not worth the breath. When he's old enough to express gender then, with feminist sensibilities in mind, I'll be open to helping him do so in whatever fashion he desires.
post #59 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
And any good links on feminists raising boys?
Someone needs to write a really good book on this. I can't find much that grabs me.
post #60 of 281
i don't have a boy, & i haven't read this book for years, but i remember enjoying "the trouble with boys" by angela phillips. she also wrote the first "our bodies ourselves" edition for the UK. so not a ringing endorsement but a tentative one!

mujermamamismo:

[Quote]In my view, female circumcision is one of the many tools used by the system/patriarchy/whoever you believe to be responsible, that contributes to and maintains the oppression of women and girls. It is simply not the same for males. Cruel and unnecessary, yes. Systemically oppressive, no. completely agree with you./]

i completely agree with you.

damn more to say but nap over!
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