Any one know about this?
So for those of you who don’t know I am attending the Feminist Intensive for faculty and staff in NYC hosted by Amy Richards and Jen Baumgardener…3 days of intense exposure to what feminist activism looks like right now…there are pictures and details and stories which I will post soon — but for now this was our schedule today.
The other night I noted that slamming women who choose to be stay-at-home moms is one of my pet peeves because this completely overlooks the real issues women face, i.e. being understood and understanding ourselves as valuable, capable and empowered and having access to the resources to be free to make choices. Culturally, Western thinking frames childcare as womanly or domestic work and therefore undervalues the complexity and necessity of this kind of work. (In the comments to my last rant on this topic – a good buddy of mine, Jeff Nall pointed out that Val Plumwood does a great job of detailing the fault in this type of thinking – noting that “the core features of patriarchy, including the devaluation of “domestic” duties … wants to take out lifeboats for elite women to join elite men, leaving behind the rest.”
We can’t draw lines in the sand – we can’t say she’s a republican or a christian or a stay at home mom, so she’s not a feminist. Feminism isn’t about what you think or do – it’s about the freedom and access to think and act as you desire. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of perusing Jennifer Baumgardner’s new book F ’em!: Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls and the sentiments in the first few pages of this book crystallize these ideas. Baumgardner explains:
“Feminism is the full political, social and economic equality of all people…Feminism is also a movement to make sure that all people have access to enough information and resources (money, social support) to make authentic decisions about their lives. Thus, it’s not the decision one make so much as the ability to make a decision that indicates whether feminism has arrive in your life” (10).
One of the most outspoken activist/feminist minds I know, Kristen Goss is a stay-at-home mom. I am also well acquainted with some stay at home dads – who are rockin’ the world – one politically conscious child at a time. As far as I’m concerned, child care is job – a choice – often feminist choice – one which often require sacrifice and hard work for both parents – that is if one is lucky enough to be co-parenting. (No judgement here – just noting that a child is a lot of work for one person.)
Today – in a flagrant attempt to appease my own anger at those that dismiss stay at home mom’s as un-feminist, I am providing you with links to my five favorite feminist/mom bloggers. There are others but these five bring to mind Bell Hooks sentiments that Feminism is for Everyone:
3. Blue Milk
We need to support feminist parents people – because arguably they have a much greater chance of raising kids with feminist values!
Inform me – who’s your favorite feminist mom blogger?
Last bit tonight, I promise. But as I imagine many of you know women’s rights are under attack and tonight the issue at hand is that the Republicans in the Michigan state legislature feel that saying the word vagina is inappropriate – and in light of this they have banned two female state representatives. If I lived in Michigan I would be marching in front of the capitol building with some seriously fun vaginal picket signs. Alas – Michigan you are so far. Instead I will mention this craziness to all I see and sport a Vagina pin – Thank you Zazzle.
For your reading pleasure Jezebel has published response to this lunacy entitled, “25 Republican-Approved Ways to Say ‘Vagina’ Without Offending Political Pussies,” which I imagine will make you both cringe and giggle – but either way I think you should read it because while I am still I’m gonna say vagina and all the other terms that describe my body – such as vulva, clitoris, fallopian tubes, period and whatever else you can think of whenever I see fit – in the classroom, legislature, hallway, bedroom and/or supermarket – I will henceforth endearingly refer to my vagina as the lovely and illustrious Ms. Kant from now on.
Tell me Ladies – how will you respond to this throwback into the dark ages?
If you remember – a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the two military moms who were photographed breastfeeding their children. Today a friend in the Airforce forwarded me a link to this article: “Woman Behind Military Breast Feeding Photo Fired from her Job“. Crappy world strikes again. Boo.
Once again I find myself in the position of defending stay at home feminist moms. Tonight, I’m tossing around this issue because I’ve just had the unfortunate experience of reading Elizabeth Wurtzel’s article in The Atlantic entitled “1 Percent Wives Are Helping to Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible”.
Okay – just to be clear, I find Wurtzel’s brand of pithy offensive and bitterly righteous. For example, I offer up this gem: “When I meet a woman who I know is a graduate of, say, Princeton — one who has read The Second Sex and therefore ought to know better — but is still a full-time wife, I feel betrayed.” Gag. So, if I were say a graduate of Valencia Community College – but had still read Beauvoir – would I be as offensive to Wurtzel? Are only the 1% her issue because there are others who choose wife and mother.
Wurtzel argues that “there really is only one kind of equality — it precedes all the emotional hullabaloo — and it’s economic. If you can’t pay your own rent, you are not an adult. You are a dependent.” Honestly, I think there are more women who think this way than I would like to admit – but I would argue that this completely misses the issue at hand.
Culturally we worship money and power and look down our noses at compassion and care — this framework allows jobs that were traditionally categorized as masculine – doctors, lawyers, politicians, bankers etc. – to be viewed as more prestigious than jobs that were and are still often fulfilled by women – elementary education, child care, nursing, secretarial work and of course mothering. In other words – men – and women enacting roles that were traditionally held by men are seen as more empowered.
This of course leaves stay at home moms sitting on their couches, eating bonbons and doing nothing of importance, which is ridiculous. Raising/rearing children is valuable and needed. The issue is not that women shouldn’t choose to stay home, if they so desire, but rather that the culture does not recognize the value in this endeavor – and reward or respond financially. At Rollins College in Winter Park, FL (my alma mater) I once heard Gloria Steinem say that perhaps the best way to deal with this issue was to work within the system and offer a tax benefit/deduction of some kind for women who choose to take on the challenge of staying home to raise their children – sounds like an awesome solution to me.
I know this is one of my favorite rants – but feminism is about choice and social justice for all people. ARGH!
P.S. Thank You, Mom. You’re fabulous and I treasure the fact that you poured your heart and soul into raising me.
Anna Curran – the founder of www.CookbookCreate.com and a very good friend of mine, for like ever, mentioned a feminist kickstarter phenomena to me – Tropes vs. Women in video games. No need to contribute your pennies – Anita Sarkeesian – the project’s creator has more that reached her goal – raising $120,000+ (She was hoping to raise $6000 – yeah kickstarter!!)
It’s also worth mentioning that Sarkeesian’s website www.feministfrequency.com is an invaluable resource for feminist educators and thinkers – and really anyone who wants to think critically about representations of gender in the media.
Obviously, I’m trolling the blog-o-sphere today. Ah – dissertation procrastination – how I love thee.
Exorcism. A post worth reading.
The Education of Shelby Knox (2005) is a must see. The film documents the activism of teenager Shelby Knox’s and her fight for the right to comprehensive sex education for teenagers and for basic civil rights for all people no matter their sexual orientation is inspirational. Knox’s struggle is of particular interest because of her conservative christian/ republican upbringing in Lubbock, TX.
Proving that you are never to young to speak up and speak out, Knox shines as a genuine critical-thinker who examines the moral framework of her upbringing and finds it lacking – noting that her god is a forgiving and loving god. Knox’s determination and endless pursuit of social justice reminds viewers why we need voices and activism.
In all honesty – I am late in the game on this one. I should have seen it six years ago, but it is still worth watching. For those of you who have Netflix – the film is available through instant watch or you can buy it on Amazon. And if you don’t know – Shelby is still out there fighting her fight. You can find her blog at shelbyknox.com and her twitter handle is @ShelbyKnox.