I just finished reading a piece by Rebecca Walker, Alice Walker's daughter, about the struggles she's had as the daughter of a feminist icon.

I love Alice Walker's work. I think she brought light to a lot of incredibly important issues in society, traditional feminism, and the like. But I definitely see where she went wrong.

Rebecca Walker talks about her own mother's rejection of motherhood, what it meant for her growing up (neglect, lack of affection, etc.). She, on the other hand, embraces motherhood, loves being a mother and is hoping to have another child. Alice Walker's thinks of motherhood, marriage, and other societal systems that have at times oppressed women as something that must be avoided at all costs. This is similar to what I've heard before by other women, especially older feminists.

But why does it need to be avoided? Again, this is the idea that "good" feminists don't get married, take their husbands' names, have children, leave the workforce, etc. Why is it that choosing to do these things makes you a bad feminist (or a bad woman)? Isn't feminism about giving us the choice to decide what route to take, however easy, difficult, or laden with patriarchy it is?

I truly believe that feminism is about choice. If I choose to quit everything and become completely dedicated to my (not-yet-existent) child, why should that make be a bad feminist?

Feminism and motherhood are mutually exclusive. If a woman is fully aware in the history of that choice, and makes the choice for herself (rather than being pressured to), there is nothing wrong with it. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the whole point of the feminist movement was to give women a choice...

2 comments:

At Fri May 30, 12:47:00 PM Renee said...

I also posted about this story. I don't believe it was fair of Rebbecca to denigrate feminism in that way, when she was clearly having issues with her mother. This was nothing but a family dispute made public. Let's also keep in mind that this is only one side of the story. I feel it would be unfair to throw Alice to the wolves without her making a response.

 
At Fri May 30, 01:06:00 PM Sally said...

It's true that there is definitely more of a family issue going on there than anything else. I have, however, heard women say negative things about those who admit to liking motherhood, which is why I think the discussion still needs to be had by feminists young and old.

 

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