Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mothers' issues are feminist issues

I had this post in draft for a few weeks before deciding to clean it up a bit and publish it. I realized that I didn't need to write everything I ever wanted to say about motherhood and feminism, the exclusion of many women from our motherhood and feminism discussions/causes, and all the other related issues. I could just start the conversation. And then when I went to look at #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen to see the latest tweets, I stumbled upon this and my inner voice shouted YES! Although not specifically about motherhood, that open letter identifies (way better than I could) the problem with so many (most) white feminists: failure to check our privilege or even acknowledge it. We have to stop that shit!

Why don't feminists talk more about mothers' issues? Yes, we talk about paid sick leave and family leave, but do we talk about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding? What about daycare and public education?We sure talk a lot about birth control, sex and abortion. But we really don't talk about all the stuff that happens once we have a baby. Where is the choice debate around birth and feeding? We talk about the choice of working or not (for those who have the luxury of choice). We don't talk much about how our socio-economic status influences our options and choices about how we birth and care for our babies. I think we should.

#solidarityisforwhitewomen pained me, not only in the sharp criticism, but because I realized that so often there's only one conversation in feminism (mainstream, anyway) and it's really about women like me: white, middle-aged, educated, relatively affluent and empowered. If we talk about women of lower socio-economic status or women of color, it is often condescendingly, or in passing.

And when I say "we" I mean my feminist friends, the regular people. I also mean the mainstream feminist organizations and media that often focus on whatever way we are all "leaning" that week or how much we get paid while we lean. Let's be honest, we suck. We are not inclusive of our sisters of color, or our sisters with limited financial resources or social capitol. We basically ignore them. Or silently judge them for not being like us. Or not so silently.

So I say, mothers unite! If we acknowledged our common and shared struggles we could actually get to the real work of feminism -- changing the fucking world for everybody! Not just privileged white ladies or people of a certain class or your kids or their kids -- EVERYBODY!

But how do we go about getting all together? What will be our priority issues? What are the solutions? I have ideas. What are yours?

Moms Rising is one organization that is working on many of the issues that concern mothers: healthy food, health care for all, paid sick leave, fair wages, etc. But as of yet, not focusing on pregnancy, birth and feeding of our babies. But I bet we could change that.

What other organizations do you know working on behalf of ALL mothers? Or are otherwise working to bring the many voices and experiences of mothers and women together for the common good. And to slay the Patriarchy.


  1. This is an awesome post...I will be sharing it...

  2. "What other organizations do you know working on behalf of ALL mothers?"


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.