Inquiry: Are you a feminist? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > Inquiry: Are you a feminist?
sohj's Avatar sohj 12:28 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda KS
If being a feminist is about wanting a revolution, then count me out. I like my life too much. I don't want to work outside the home anymore.


The "revolution" mentioned was not a "work outside the home revolution". To reiterate, the post said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
When I dream of a revolution- I start with birth and breastfeeding. What would like look like if the most important value in our society was peacefull, natural birth and extended breastfeeding? Can you imagine? We would be acknowledged as the powerful leaders of society that we are.
(Which, BTW, still makes women who follow biologically-based roles as being more valuable or doing a more appropriate "job". Which, personally, I don't agree with. I think everyone is valuable and I think that not everyone is cut out for fulfilling biological "functions". And, certainly, NOT everyone finds personal contentment fulfilling them. Also, if giving birth is the most important thing, then we will only become more and more heavily populated. When I was born in the 1960's the world had approximately 3 billion people. It is now over 6 billion. It doubled in my lifetime. I definately question the "calling" of bearing children. )

BUT, Linda KS, MsMoMpls certainly was NOT claiming the same sort of revolution you are responding to. :





And on the feminism-is-anti-breastfeeding topic: If it wasn't for politically active feminists, we wouldn't have rules making sure women can pump at work, for instance.

In my experience, the feminists-want-you-to-formula-feed is a red-herring set up by people (male OR female, there are plenty of both) who want to keep women in their modern assigned sex roles. And just because some people who claim to be feminists also spout that drivel, it doesn't mean that it is a feminist position. There are lots of people who do not think things through before adopting a position in every political camp.



And now, an off-topic question: For those of you who are thinking of a version of feminism as some modification to the biology-is-destiny idea: What, exactly, do you do with people who are somewhere in the middle of the hermaphrodite spectrum?

Sustainer's Avatar Sustainer 12:57 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by sohj
In my experience, the feminists-want-you-to-formula-feed is a red-herring set up by people (male OR female, there are plenty of both) who want to keep women in their modern assigned sex roles. And just because some people who claim to be feminists also spout that drivel, it doesn't mean that it is a feminist position.
Thank you!
DebraBaker's Avatar DebraBaker 03:19 PM 01-19-2005
I think one of the flaws of modern feminism (aka feminism from the '60's and '70's era.) is the notion that women are men without penises.
The male model was set up at the ideal or norm which we must strive to attain.

Mothering children is part of who I am as a mother. My mothering is a bit different from dh's fathering (but it doesn't mean we follow the '50's patriarchal model) Birthing and nursing and nurturing children is crucially important and instead of dismissing it (because it's so inherently feminine) we should be out there demanding its respect.

I am not a penisless man, I'm much more than that. And as far as respecting the full spectrum of sexuality as someone noted, we must and we must understand that many of us women are not the little girlie girls. This goes far beyond feminism and back to basic respect.

Debra Baker
kaydee's Avatar kaydee 07:10 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebraBaker
I think one of the flaws of modern feminism (aka feminism from the '60's and '70's era.) is the notion that women are men without penises.
The male model was set up at the ideal or norm which we must strive to attain.

Mothering children is part of who I am as a mother. My mothering is a bit different from dh's fathering (but it doesn't mean we follow the '50's patriarchal model) Birthing and nursing and nurturing children is crucially important and instead of dismissing it (because it's so inherently feminine) we should be out there demanding its respect.
I think that this is an inaccurate stereotype--a caricuature, really, devised to distract and detract from the critical issues feminists raise(d) about equality-- of modern feminism--particularly when you take into account the "maternal feminism" and "difference feminism" that emerged in the 1980s and that are still with us today. As is true of any social movement, feminism is not a monolithic philosophy. There are sparring factions and warring ideas and differences of opinion. I don't think trying to gain access to traditionally-male realms is the same as trying to *be* men.
phathui5's Avatar phathui5 07:23 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
What, exactly, do you do with people who are somewhere in the middle of the hermaphrodite spectrum?
Why, they can do whatever they want.
Linda KS's Avatar Linda KS 10:12 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by sohj
BUT, Linda KS, MsMoMpls certainly was NOT claiming the same sort of revolution you are responding to. :
I don't want a revolution because I don't see the need for a major change. I find the idea that natural childbirth and extended BF should be the primary goals of society absurd. I had 2 c-sections, so in MsMoMpls ideal world I would be a failure at the "most important values in society". So would an old friend on mine who never married and doesn't have kids. So would an adoptive mom. I cannot imagine anything more degrading to women than reducing us to our biological role in reproduction.

YUCK.

I think the best thing is for all people to have lots of options so they can decide for themselves what they want to do with their lives -- which is what we have, which is I don't see a need for revolution.

I get a lot of positive feed back from my DH and my friends for what I do. I don't expect everyone in American to validate my decision to be at home with my kids. I think there is a difference between having a choice, and having everything think you made the right one.
mamawanabe's Avatar mamawanabe 10:20 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda KS
I think the best thing is for all people to have lots of options so they can decide for themselves what they want to do with their lives -- which is what we have, which is I don't see a need for revolution.

.
Most of yoru post I agree with. Except the part above. Have you read through this thread - I can think of several posts by women who don't feel they have lots of options.

Because of economic reasons and/or because of the way professions are structured, women do not have "lots of options so they can decide for themselves what they want to do with thier lives."
Sustainer's Avatar Sustainer 10:26 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda KS
I think the best thing is for all people to have lots of options so they can decide for themselves what they want to do with their lives -- which is what we have, which is I don't see a need for revolution.
No, that's not what we have. I was in my fifth month of pregnancy before I was able to find a midwife, because they're illegal in my state. And I was one of the lucky ones. There are lots more women who never find a midwife. And there are so many women for whom breastfeeding isn't a real option because they are bombarded with misinformation and social disgust at breastfeeding their whole lives. A lot of change still needs to happen before we get to the point of women truly being free to choose.
MsMoMpls's Avatar MsMoMpls 11:50 PM 01-19-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by sohj

(Which, BTW, still makes women who follow biologically-based roles as being more valuable or doing a more appropriate "job". Which, personally, I don't agree with. I think everyone is valuable and I think that not everyone is cut out for fulfilling biological "functions". And, certainly, NOT everyone finds personal contentment fulfilling them. Also, if giving birth is the most important thing, then we will only become more and more heavily populated. When I was born in the 1960's the world had approximately 3 billion people. It is now over 6 billion. It doubled in my lifetime. I definately question the "calling" of bearing children. )
Ok- you've messed with my perfect revolution fantasy but you've got me thinking. No- I don't think I value a world of out of control reproduction, I don't think everyone should or does want to birth, I don't think c-sects would be a failure but they wouldn't be the plan either. I do think that our biology (men's and women's) does invest us in the outcome of future generations. I think that the current world values of money and power are a great disservice to this generation and the next. And I do believe that it will take a revolution. I think that if the values reflected here at MDC were the values we saw running the world we would see less polution, less greed, less racism, sexism, homophobia, hatred, war, destruction of the planet. I guess that I believe that feminism speaks best to that fantasy for me.
Linda KS's Avatar Linda KS 12:00 AM 01-20-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawanabe
Because of economic reasons and/or because of the way professions are structured, women do not have "lots of options so they can decide for themselves what they want to do with thier lives."
No one can do everything all at the same time. Having choices means being able to decide for one's self; it doesn't mean getting to do everything. I don't see options for women as being different than those for men. If you want to work toward tenure, or being a vice president, or a partner or whatever, you can. Being a woman won't stop you.

I find the idea that women should be able to do less than men and reach the same goals insulting. I think such a thing would only hurt career women.

Quote:
And there are so many women for whom breastfeeding isn't a real option because they are bombarded with misinformation and social disgust at breastfeeding their whole lives. A lot of change still needs to happen before we get to the point of women truly being free to choose.
I have a hard time accepting that women aren't free to choose something that I chose. There ARE options and women need to research do what is right for them. I feel like what you are saying is that women need to be spoon fed and patted on the back. I just don't see women as that stupid or weak. I think *most* women are strong people who can think for themselves.
Linda KS's Avatar Linda KS 12:00 AM 01-20-2005
deleted because of double posts
Linda KS's Avatar Linda KS 12:00 AM 01-20-2005
deleted -- I have no idea why the same post showed up over and over!
Linda KS's Avatar Linda KS 12:01 AM 01-20-2005
deleted
Sustainer's Avatar Sustainer 12:02 AM 01-20-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
No- I don't think I value a world of out of control reproduction, I don't think everyone should or does want to birth, I don't think c-sects would be a failure but they wouldn't be the plan either. I do think that our biology (men's and women's) does invest us in the outcome of future generations. I think that the current world values of money and power are a great disservice to this generation and the next. And I do believe that it will take a revolution. I think that if the values reflected here at MDC were the values we saw running the world we would see less polution, less greed, less racism, sexism, homophobia, hatred, war, destruction of the planet. I guess that I believe that feminism speaks best to that fantasy for me.

luvinmum's Avatar luvinmum 12:09 AM 01-20-2005
I am proud to call myself a feminist, especially among my generation of women who abhor the term even while benefiting from all the hard work their mothers , grandmothers and great grandmothers did. I am also a Dancer a dance teacher, a Mother, who is a full time parent and I'm married to a great guy.
I feel that it is really important for Mothers to work against forces in our culture which are trying to undermine the power we have as women. Namely this current trend to glamourize marriage and motherhood. Getting married and having children is not the same as winning the lottery! It is a choice that comes loaded with many consequences , some of them wonderful and happy, and lots of sacrifice and work. A woman does not NEED to be a mother or a wife to be fufilled, and mothers do not NEED to be bound to their child's every whim to be successful parents. Fathers ( grandparents,family,friends) can change diapers, cuddle in a sling, night time parent, volunteer at school etc.
mamawanabe's Avatar mamawanabe 12:24 AM 01-20-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda KS
No one can do everything all at the same time. Having choices means being able to decide for one's self; it doesn't mean getting to do everything. I don't see options for women as being different than those for men. If you want to work toward tenure, or being a vice president, or a partner or whatever, you can. Being a woman won't stop you.

I find the idea that women should be able to do less than men and reach the same goals insulting. I think such a thing would only hurt career women.
The options are very different. Men who have kids before making tenure are MORE likely to make tenure. Women who have kids before making tenure are not just less likely to make tenure, their likelihood drops astronomically.

Nobody is saying women should do less to reach the same goals. I am saying let's have more ways (equitable ways) to reach those goals. The way the many professions are now structured allows for one and only one way. There is no reason for this - for example there is nothing inherant in academia that makes teaching six classes and publishing one peer reviewed article a year for 36,000 better than teaching three classes a year and publishing one peer reviewed article every other year for 15,500. There needs to be other equitable ways to reach the tenure goal, and these ways are not watering down that goal or insulting people who choose the traditioanl way, just keeping it a possibility for the thousands of mothers (and fathers) who love their career but who don't want to miss their children's young years in order to keep this career.

There are a thousand other examples of professiosn that arbritarily don't allow for multiple equitable paths to the same end goal. But not that even this discussion of "choice" ignores the millions of women in this country who can't even "choose" thsi much because thier partner doesn't make enough for them to not work. What choices are they faced with?! They can't even choose between good daycares cause there are so few of them in part because the work is so low-staus.

Feminsim has a lot of work ahead of it . . .
Sustainer's Avatar Sustainer 12:30 AM 01-20-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda KS
I feel like what you are saying is that women need to be spoon fed and patted on the back. I just don't see women as that stupid or weak.
No, I don't think women are stupid or weak or that they need to be spoon fed or patted on the back. You don't have to be stupid or weak to be influenced by culture. And there's a middle ground between spoonfeeding women/patting them on the back and actually lying to them/glaring at them when they feed their babies/etc. We need to combat the misinformation that abounds about breastfeeding, and at least get the culture to a point where women aren't actually harassed when they breastfeed. How could anyone argue against working toward a society that is more accepting of breastfeeding? Doctors shouldn't be taking bribes from formula companies/encouraging women to use formula! Breasts shouldn't be culturally re-defined as sex toys for men, rendering breastfeeding "disgusting!"
Sailmom's Avatar Sailmom 01:23 AM 01-20-2005
For the record, I am a WOHM and a feminist. I work as a nurse nightshift every weekend. I co-parent with my dh who is a full time grad student. Our dd is fortunate enough to have both of her parents committed to being at home with her. I also bf and pump at work (where you would think, working with almost all women, I would get a tremendous amount of support - the opposite is true.)

I wanted to make the comment that I have a dear friend who was terrified of having a girl child. She was afraid that she would not be able to raise her to be the strong person it is necessary to be as a woman in this world. Someone who could "do it all" as it seems that we are, in many ways, expected to do. Have fullfilling careers and raise healthy happy children while keeping a clean house and baking for the school bake sale. I told her that is why she has to teach her son to be a feminist. He needs to know how to take care of a house, cook and LISTEN. He should be comfortable around children. He should think that violence is not ever an answer. He should think rape is an abhorence. Until our society truly places emphasis and importance on raising healthy, happy, educated children, we will always be having to make a choice or feel we are failing in one direction or another. It does take a village to raise a child - but we seem to be hiding in our houses and expecting that we have to do the work of a village on our own. We farm out our children to daycare and our parents to nursing homes or "retirement communities". The extended family doesn't exist as a functioning unit anymore.

We can judge our society by the conditions of our helpless. This isn't about choice. This is about freedom from choice. We shouldn't have angst about whether we work or raise a child. We as a society should demand better for our children and ourselves.

My little utopia...
musingmama's Avatar musingmama 01:37 AM 01-20-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer
No, I don't think women are stupid or weak or that they need to be spoon fed or patted on the back. You don't have to be stupid or weak to be influenced by culture. And there's a middle ground between spoonfeeding women/patting them on the back and actually lying to them/glaring at them when they feed their babies/etc. We need to combat the misinformation that abounds about breastfeeding, and at least get the culture to a point where women aren't actually harassed when they breastfeed. How could anyone argue against working toward a society that is more accepting of breastfeeding? Doctors shouldn't be taking bribes from formula companies/encouraging women to use formula! Breasts shouldn't be culturally re-defined as sex toys for men, rendering breastfeeding "disgusting!"

Linda KS's Avatar Linda KS 04:18 AM 01-20-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sustainer
At least get the culture to a point where women aren't actually harassed when they breastfeed. How could anyone argue against working toward a society that is more accepting of breastfeeding?
I agree that society should be accepting of BF. I BF my DDs well into their toddler years and nursed in public and was never harassed. I'm not convinced that harassment is common. It does happen and it should be fought when it occurs (I almost got to be part of a nurse-in when my oldest was a baby, but the store issued a public apology so it was called off).

Quote:
Doctors shouldn't be taking bribes from formula companies/encouraging women to use formula!
agreed
DebraBaker's Avatar DebraBaker 11:04 AM 01-20-2005
Luvinmum,



db
luvinmum's Avatar luvinmum 08:34 PM 01-21-2005
I have wanted to express this idea for sometime now...
When I was a young girl I imagined that anything was possible, that I could be and acheive whatever I wanted. I always imagined my adult life to be powerful, excitng and liberated. I never really fantisized about being a mother or a wife, quite the opposite infact. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to university and complete my B.F.A.(theatre and dance) and I was on my way to finishing a B.Ed. after degree...
During that time I was VERY passionate about feminism. I met an awsome guy. He considers himself a feminist ( as every thinking person must be) and we started on this loving journey striving towards equality in marriage. We were going to "re-define" the institution.
Then we got married.
Then we had children.
I will never forget the night I laid in bed and cried ( our dd was a week old) because I knew , no matter what happened for the rest of my life , the trejectory of my destiny was FOREVER ALTERED. I am a great mom I've done all the "RIGHT" things : loved my kids beyond belief bf, co-slept, cloth diapered blah blah blah. And for a long time my self worth has been tied into those things too. Because I am a feminist I have always found a way to justify the mind-boggling demands of attachment parenting as revolutionary. And they are I suppose. But these concepts are also guilt ridden , judgemental and stifiling. Mother based primary care giving , can be cripiling to a woman's soul. There is a very real "machine" alive in contemporary culture that is selling patriarchal values as "good mothering" . Magazines, television, advertising are trying to tell us that to be a complete woman we must get married( beautiful wedding, diamond ring, true love) have babies ( naturally , midwife ,stay at home,bf, sling , cloth diaper, give every ounce of your being into raising an organically fed , wooden toy playing genius). Women who chose to pursue their careers or fall short to the unending demands of mother hood , are totally vilified.
Im not buying into it anymore, I support mothers who work , in home or out or both, I support mothers who breastfeed, or don't ,I support mothers who let their kids watch t.v. (god forbid) or don't .
My rant must end though , my 2yr old woke up, the cookies are burnining, Ihave to pick up my dd from school and get ready to go to my other job.
musingmama's Avatar musingmama 02:44 AM 01-22-2005
luvinmum, i loved yer last post- I totally hear ya!
My life has taken a simalar path- I had this crazy idea that I could have my ds and still be a fulltime thriving artist, with my own business, and paint and weave while he hung out in a sling -- YAH RIGHT!! turned out he hated the sling like it was torture, and shattered every other preconception i had!!! But that is why I love him so dearly, he is like me ina lot of ways- strong willed and insane..........
its taken a year and half to dig through my feelings of all this, and even be able to think- with all the daily survival chores, feedings, etc.
I have struggled with the guilt and stupifying self sacrifice that a good mother is supposed to endure these days, and I too am saying NO MORE to pouring out all my energy only to have my well run dry and never any filling in sight...
I Love my ds and dh eternally and deeply but I must follow my own dreams again, for the sake of them as well as my own sanity.

must go now, but will be back!
DebraBaker's Avatar DebraBaker 10:37 PM 01-23-2005
Luvinmom.

My own personal live has taken some curious twists and turns.

I became a mother early in life and spend the majority of my adult life dead to the self but loving being mother to my many children.

I thought I had made my choices in this life and didn't have regrets because I love my children and find great satisfaction in the relationships I have within my family. But, to be honest, I mourned the loss of what I didn't chose for myself.

Then my daughter stirred the soup of my imagination by coming over for dinner and talking about the woman (who is about 50) who is in her classes in medical school.

"Oh," I thought, "Could I dare dream?"

Well, I do dare dream and I have entered another phase of my life and I'm thrilled to dare imagine what this new season of my life could take me.

My youngest is in Kindergarten, she is starting to embark in her own new adventure and I will work my tushie off to do the hard work because of the opportunities for which I'm blessed.

Debra Baker
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