#vivelafeminism: Why disregarding motherhood and women’s bodies won’t help feminism
On Mother’s Day, a piece by @glosswitch on feminist and motherhood: @newstatesman:
The question “what is a woman?” – that annoying, wheedling, pseudo-intellectual musing, of which there’s no equivalent asked of men – takes on a particular meanness when considered in relation to maternity.
If feminism is to be, not the liberation of women, but the rejection of gender roles per se, then Mummy belongs in the past. We can still make use of her body and her day-to-day work – of course, why not? – but the idea of her having a subjective self fades away. To associate one’s gendered location in the world with milk and flesh and blood is simply not the done thing, at least not any more.
Like many women who write about motherhood (“mummy bloggers” we are called, derisively, as though we have no voice other than the sing-song tones one might adopt with a petulant toddler), I started writing, at least in part, to show that I wasn’t one of those mothers, the dull ones, the unquestioning ones, the ones who identify with woman-as-mother and mother-as-woman without any idea of how narrow their worldview has become.
I wrote to show that not all of us were mere bodies, gestating wombs, milk producers, bleeding holes, but that some of us prioritised the mind. I thought I could write my way out of my female flesh, this dead weight around me.
Instead I found something else: that bodies matter. Bodies that eat, sleep, care, clean, nurse, love and, yes, gestate. The world, and the sexism that pervades it, doesn’t make sense without them.