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This might be your mother's feminism

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Rules for getting along wtih critical relatives on family vacations [Jul. 6th, 2009|10:03 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

[mood |accomplished]

The following was an exchange (question and my response) on a parenting mailing list I am on that I am pretty proud of and would love some feedback from other moms who have been there. I paraphrased the question to get to the meat of it.

Dear XXX community:

My husband and I are going on a family cruise with some very critical relatives. They seem to constantly criticize (or roll their eyes and make little comments about)  me or my kids, decisions we have made, and I am concerned that the trip is going to be full of arguments and stress. We are going to be at sea for six days with these people. Help!

"lois lane"

Read my responseCollapse )
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(no subject) [Aug. 6th, 2008|03:30 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

"Test Tube Orphan"?

I really did mean not to click on this story when I saw the tagline, but somehow I did. Just how common/widespread commercial surrogacy becoming, I wonder?

I feel like I generally need to opt out of conversations about things like surrogacy and IVF because I suspect that my own opinions on the subject are not objective and possibly unreasonable, so I'm really curious to hear what others think.
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"Frogs and Snails and Feminist Tales" by Bronwyn Davies [Aug. 3rd, 2008|01:52 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

I've finished reading this (a book about preschool children and gender) for the first time - I read it very quickly, so have not digested it thoroughly. I've also read Marianne Alireza's autobiography about being an American woman marrying into a Saudi Arabian family in 1945, "At The Drop Of A Veil," and I've started Natasha Walter's "The New Feminism."

This is all new to me - I've read very little about feminism, really, all things considered.

Mainly, now, I feel despair that I will ever make anyone see my job as a job, my role as valuable, my contribution as financially useful. I'm a stay at home mother with no source of income, though I occasionally make small amounts with self-published books - I used to buy-to-sell stuff on Ebay, too, but it wasn't worth the hourly rate. I have no school-leaving qualifications and no university qualifications. I've never had a career, not least because I didn't want one. That never scared me because I understood poverty and wasn't afraid of it, though that's changed now - I'd hate to be poor now.

I worry that I'm demonstrating to my daughters lots of outdated versions of feminism - the hairy-legged earth-mother myth. But I also don't want to pursue traditionally masculine career-style wossname because the idea fills me with dread and misery and I don't want them to think that that's the place to aim for either.

I wish I had more ability to structure my thinking. I wish I could dig out the paints and paint things people would want to buy, but I'm not skilled enough to think it's worth my while to put the effort in, and anyway, that's more pathetic pin-money style earning.

I will NEVER be able to compare, earning-wise, to my male partner. When we were both salaried in the same industry, he had positions of responsibility over computers and I had positions of responsibility over people, and he earned three times what I did, in general. I reached the dizzying heights of earning half what he did at one point but that involved working 12-hour days for a company which ultimately went hideously bust because of delusions of grandeur.

It seems to me that the only ONLY way forward now is for men in general to take on more and more of the responsibility and career-eatingness of childcare, to level the playing field down instead of up. I'm sure my decisions were influenced by the certain knowledge that I could never work full- or part-time and have my children raised as I wanted them to be, and by our giving in to this knowledge when we arranged what happened.

I don't know where this post is going. There's a lot boiling up in my head. And I have a breastfeeding supporter assignment to do which I'm putting off, too.
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'Opting In' to Progressive Parenthood: A Personal Challenge to Modern Mothers [May. 21st, 2008|04:34 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

[mood |curiouscurious]

'Opting In' to Progressive Parenthood: A Personal Challenge to Modern Mothers

Anyone read this?

Here is an interview with the author:


A few years later, third-wave feminist icon Amy Richards is trying to bend the buzz toward a more truly radical revolution: opting in -- to whole, authentic, feminist mothering, that is. In her new book, Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, she challenges contemporary mothers to remake their lives to match their feminist philosophies and not get caught up in competition and control. In some ways, it is as simple as that old adage, "Don't sweat the small stuff." In others, it is as complex as the feminism Richards helped relaunch into public consciousness with her co-written first book, Manifesta (2000). AlterNet managed to catch up with her and ask some questions about the next feminist installment in our long legacy (Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Betty Friedan, Adrienne Rich, and more recently the work of Judith Warner, Leslie Bennetts and Linda Hirshman) of politicizing the personal.

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Mums + books [May. 2nd, 2008|10:43 am]
This might be your mother's feminism

My only knowledge of Zoe Williams comes from my f-list screaming about her, but here I am going to scream on my own (after being pointed in that direction by cigogne):


They're calling it "mumming down" - a website called Netmums surveyed 6,000 people, and 51.4% said they'd started reading "less taxing" books since they had had a baby. Of course, this is the most outrageous slur on all our intellects, and I wouldn't even dignify it with a mention, were it not for the fact that it is 100% true.

Number 1, I'd guess that many people when faced with a fundamental lifestyle change would read books more suitable termed 'brain candy' or otherwise not terribly taxing. Ask anyone who's moving to another country, in the nitty-gritty part of a divorce, recovering from surgery, or writing up a PhD whether they feel like tackling Dostoevsky today. Heck, when I was writing up I was ripping through the Chalet School books as if there were no tomorrow, and no one accused MY intellect of dribbling out my ears, though allegedly if the PhD had been waking me up every four hours demanding my breast then that would have been the case.

Number 2, note how she treats that statistic as a monolithic thing, without bothering to question whether a one-year follow-up survey would change any of the answers. No, baby = dumb books. And I want to know how that question was originally phrased. AND I want to talk to that other 48.6% and find out if they actually ARE reading Dostoevsky.

Here's the survey on Netmums:


Can anyone figure out how she got that 51.4% statistic out of those numbers?
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This is how it starts [Apr. 28th, 2008|03:30 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

We recorded an episode of Bob the Builder during the Week We Let the TV Raise the Baby*. I resisted showing it to Lillian, a LOT. For DAYS. Because it is a boy show.

I bought her shoes that did not stay on securely, that interfered with her ability to run and play, because the only shoes that DID stay on securely were olive drab and navy, or black and silver, or brown and orange. Boy shoes. Mind you, my comfy shoes are white and navy, and I am not a boy.

Months ago, I let her pick out a book at the bookstore. She chose a book called "I Love Trucks." I almost put it back. Because it is a boy book.

What the hell is wrong with me?!!? How can I purge this awful instinct, which if I saw it in anyone else I would rant about it for hours? She's not a living doll to dress up, she's a human being, a strong, tough human being who loves to play rough. Ack.

*ETA: I've been horribly sick with a throat virus and opportunistic staph infection of the tonsils. I'm a stay-at-home mom, so when I get sick, the only relief pitcher is the TV. Trust me, I'm not happy about it either.
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At each other's throats [Apr. 17th, 2008|11:26 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

I really hate the mothers-against-mothers stuff. I have particular aspects of it I particularly hate, chief among them the idea that mothers who have other jobs / do not have other jobs are not proper mothers / not proper workers. I use the phrases "part-time mother" and "doesn't work" when I'm talking about this.

And today I hurt a mother who wasn't familiar with my heavily sarcastic use of the phrases. She knows me well enough to be able to work out that I don't actually think mothers who have other jobs are bad mothers, or part-time mothers, but the issue is so nasty that the phrase made her wince.

How can mothers express their own opinions to each other without it being an automatic attack? So much of the language is so loaded. I quite see that sarcasm doesn't help, but I get so ANGRY.

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"The hidden brain drain" [Feb. 29th, 2008|06:27 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

[mood |depresseddepressed]

An article from a couple of days ago: The baby blues: Study finds a third of mothers slip down career ladder.

And the original paper that the article is about.
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Housewife-mother [crossposted a bit] [Feb. 21st, 2008|06:26 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

I don't have a vast deal to say on this right now, but I would like to hear what other people have on the conflation of housework and childcare into one job called "housewife." It's not what I do, and it's not a job title I allow people to use for me (I'd rather be listed as unemployed than as a housewife, I can't imagine a more loaded word), but since it's what I appear to outside eyes to be engaged in I often end up talking about it.

Inarticulately, while people hang out of my pockets and hit me with small plastic things at knee-level.

I think "homemaker" still conflates the two jobs. A woman who is a housekeeper for her partner and children AND a nanny to her own (and partner's, usually) children is seen to be doing only one job.

Gradually, money-earning partners of unwaged stay-at-home parents are taking on more of the housework, at weekends etc, but it's by no means universal.

I wish I was less inarticulate about this.
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Inarticulate and ill-formed starting point [Dec. 1st, 2007|02:51 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism

This is probably going to sound very blamey. That's because I'm talking about my mother in law (since my father in law had NO INPUT WHATSOEVER because that's why god gave us gender roles) but not because I think she was operating as the sole blamable wossname in a vacuum.

I think there's a wife mother and housewife thing where to be perfect she has to keep the house spotless and do all the housework and cooking and cleaning and laundry and childrearing. I think that's why her son left home unable to cook, clean, shop for groceries (recent quote: "Of course he can't, he's a man!"), do his own laundry, remember to wash regularly without reminder, or, you know, any number of other basic life skills. He functions best (by which I mean most comfortably) in the manner of, say, a primary school age child - a very set routine, where everything he does at home he's reminded about a few times, from getting up, through eating, washing, and leaving the house on time, and again when he returns, from taking his coat off, eating, washing, whatever. This lack of responsibility for his own actions holds true for all sorts of things - calling his mother (she thinks it's my job to remind him to call her), sending birthday cards to his aunt (they all think it's my job to buy the card and ensure it gets posted), etc.

Now, he doesn't believe any of this crap, but he has a lot of behaviour patterns tied into it, which, because he's not a dickhead, he's working on changing. But I'm pretty sure that it's all tied into a sort of 1950s Stepford Wives childrearing thing, raising men to be helpless and depend on a proper wife at home.

Can someone more articulate please articulate what I'm talking about?
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