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  1. Kathleen
    Kathleen August 9, 2011 at 9:10 am |

    Natalia — many, many congratulations on the birth of your child!

    I kind of am guessing that the feminist movement *did* kind of prepare you for this, though. Do you have maternity leave? Thank previous feminist struggle! Did you give birth not strapped down and sedated? Ditto! Are you maybe going to breastfeed in public sometime in the near future? Etc. etc. etc. etc.

    I mean, I know you probably know this. But moms & kids — feminism has done so, so, so much for them. The idea that somehow feminism doesn’t “get” motherhood, ****arggggghhhhhh*****. It’s just not true and not fair to say.

  2. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 9:22 am |

    Thanks!

    I live in Russia – breastfeeding in public all the time, since no one here gives a shit, thankfully – and I have the paternalistic Soviets to thank for the maternity leave and the equally paternalistic Putin government to thank for the good healthcare, actually.

    It’s not that feminism doesn’t “get” motherhood, it’s that in the U.S., it has been co-opted by the right for some time now. And that feminism in its current incarnation is stuck fighting off the steady and unrelenting advance against abortion.

    It wasn’t always this way, if my understanding of history is at least somewhat correct.

  3. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    I think the perception that feminism isn’t mother-friendly is maybe that feminism-as-identity is a young person thing, a population less likely to have kids overall? Or an internet thing — where women who don’t desire kids finally feel free to carve out child-free spaces and are (understandably, if not completely justifiably) hostile to interlopers? Just thoughts.

    I definitely think feminism has a complicated relationship with motherhood, especially in the US, and especially in spaces where motherhood is on the one hand put on a pedestal, and on the other hand, blamed for everything that is wrong in the Western world. I’m already a mom and expecting a new one any minute, and I find that my feminism has been immensely helpful to understanding some of the personal sacrifices I’ve made or have had to make, professionally, personally, emotionally. It’s the thing that makes me know that c-sections are not moral failures, that breastfeeding can be radical, and that bottle feeding is sometimes necessary and good, and that for the most part, women and girls do what is necessary to make room for children and their needs while also saving themselves, which requires a movement that is (or should be) understanding and flexible about women’s circumstances and resulting choices. That out biology shouldn’t be our destiny — and the reality that sometimes it is.

  4. chingona
    chingona August 9, 2011 at 9:44 am |

    First of all, congrats and glad everything went (relatively) smoothly.

    This is an interesting post because I don’t think I fully came into myself as a feminist until I became a mother. I mean, I grew up considering myself a feminist and women can do whatever men can do blah blah blah. But I don’t think that I really grocked a lot of the structural disadvantages that face women until I became a mother.

    But I do think the feminist blogosphere is dominated by younger women without children, which puts a different light on a lot of issues. And the feminist bloggers who are mothers and who write a lot about motherhood get lumped into the “mommyblogger” category.

    I would agree that becoming a mother made me a lot more sensitive to suffering in the world. Anything that happens, I think about how I feel about my children and that someone out there feels that way about the person that whatever the bad thing is happened to.

    Congratulations again, and enjoy the journey. As Lou Reed said, it’s the beginning of a great adventure.

  5. Azalea
    Azalea August 9, 2011 at 10:38 am |

    Beautiful post!

    Correct me if I am wrong but when you say “feminism didn’t prepare me for motherhood” you aren’t talking about societal rights you’re talkking about personal responsibility.

    That is the case for me. Feminism has often made motherhood seem like something you either do in your spare time and doesn’t deserve any special recognition or something that destroys your body, health sexual identity, and social life in one fell swoop that you should avoid. The middle ground that is the reality of motherhood is one that doesn’t find itself situated in mainstream feminism discussion too often. There ARE people for whom those two extremes are their true perception motherhoood and there is nothing wrong with that until it gets projected onto the masses and held as a universal truth.

    I love being a mother, I love being a woman and I love the interection between the two. Motherhood should be celebrated, motherhood is not some easy peasy thing to do and not everyone can or should be mothers because it requires so much and gives so little in return.

  6. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 10:44 am |

    Correct me if I am wrong but when you say “feminism didn’t prepare me for motherhood” you aren’t talking about societal rights you’re talkking about personal responsibility.

    Yep!

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen August 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm |

    Natalia — social welfare isn’t “paternalism”, and the embrace of some measure of gender equality by communists (along with their embrace of racial equality) was among the things that made the Cold War more productive of possibility than the current stand-off between two flavors of patriarchy. Describing the Soviet legacy as simply paternalistic is a lot like calling feminism clueless about motherhood: it’s accepting a set of narratives about our collective political heritage that have become conventional wisdom but that are historically wrong and deeply hostile to the possibility of real societal change.

  8. mws
    mws August 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    I loved that you did not have an angry tirade about the big breast comments. Obviously objectification of chicks is sexist; however, yeah, it can be a source (though maybe not totally right) of self esteem fer sure. :)

    I read an essay–maybe here– recently about someone walking and getting bullshit angry about a comment about her legs, and I gotta tell you: All I was thinking is this: I miss getting hooted at, I truly do.

    1. Jill
      Jill August 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | *

      I read an essay–maybe here– recently about someone walking and getting bullshit angry about a comment about her legs, and I gotta tell you: All I was thinking is this: I miss getting hooted at, I truly do.

      You know, women are allowed to have different reactions to things without one reaction being “bullshit angry.”

  9. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    Kathleen:
    Natalia — social welfare isn’t “paternalism”, and the embrace of some measure of gender equality by communists (along with their embrace of racial equality) was among the things that made the Cold War more productive of possibility than the current stand-off between two flavors of patriarchy.Describing the Soviet legacy as simply paternalistic is a lot like calling feminism clueless about motherhood:it’s accepting a set of narratives about our collective political heritage that have become conventional wisdom but that are historically wrong and deeply hostile to the possibility of real societal change.

    I think she was being snarky.

  10. Esti
    Esti August 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    Florence: I think she was being snarky.

    And even if not — maybe Natalia, someone living in Russia who (if I remember correctly) is ethnically Russian, might have some pretty valid reasons for referring to both the Soviet Union and Communism as paternalistic?

  11. Queen Maeve
    Queen Maeve August 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    Would it be just as ok to just be an uncool, frumpy mom who doesn’t fall all over herself apologizing for “priviliging her fetus” (you know with those evil ultrasound pics) and explaining how she’s totes a MILF and a good hetero wifey and making jokey comments after committing the horrific sin of writing three serious sentences about the gravity of motherhood in a row?

    Oh…sorry, I didn’t think so. Move along, nothing to see here.

  12. Florence
    Florence August 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Queen Maeve:
    Would it be just as ok to just be an uncool, frumpy mom who doesn’t fall all over herself apologizing for “priviliging her fetus” (you know with those evil ultrasound pics) and explaining how she’s totes a MILF and a good hetero wifey and making jokey comments after committing the horrific sin of writing three serious sentences about the gravity of motherhood in a row?

    Oh…sorry, I didn’t think so. Move along, nothing to see here.

    What are you getting at, really? Because unless I’m completely reading you wrong, this just looks like a sarcastic, shitty response to the OP.

  13. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    The comment about the Soviets was tongue-in-cheek – I bristle at the notion that the USSR was an “evil empire” – but I do think that the government was certainly not feminist. The feminist tradition was not really allowed to flourish in the USSR. Sure enough, women were granted a broad spectrum of rights. Hell, they could even fight and die for their country in WWII. But abortions without anesthesia were a norm, for example. Rape was hardly prosecuted. I could go on and on, really.

    As for Putin’s government – I was also saying it in a tongue-in-cheek way. Sexism has certainly flourished in Russia since the Fall (I like to just refer to it as the Fall) – sex trafficking being probably the most brutally obvious way in which the situation for women has drastically worsened. Still, you can be a successful woman around here and never apologize for it – and I kind of dig that. You’re expected to work and keep the home – it’s exhausting, but there’s also less hate against working moms. Overall, I think it all depends on luck, really. How the cards will fall. Or else, on class.

  14. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    Would it be just as ok to just be an uncool, frumpy mom who doesn’t fall all over herself apologizing for “priviliging her fetus” (you know with those evil ultrasound pics) and explaining how she’s totes a MILF and a good hetero wifey and making jokey comments after committing the horrific sin of writing three serious sentences about the gravity of motherhood in a row?

    I’m not a good hetero wifey. I’m a great hetero wifey.

  15. Emmily Bristol
    Emmily Bristol August 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    Congratulations! You’ve entered the beautiful, weird, frightening, delightful and sometimes mean world of motherhood — something I did a little over a year ago. The good news (aside from your fabulous new baby, of course): It is possible to be a feminist mom! And, yes, it can feel like you are tilting at windmills, trying to find your way in the chasm between “motherhood” and “feminist.” But the space exists. Even if we have to create it ourselves!

  16. Courtney
    Courtney August 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    Thank you so much for this. I’m expecting my first child, and instead of pouring over “What to Expect” I’m reading feminist theories of motherhood. It sounds like no matter what I read, I won’t fully be prepared – but your words are reassuring, and I thank you.

  17. SWNC
    SWNC August 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Azalea:
    Feminism has often made motherhood seem like something you either do in your spare time and doesn’t deserve any special recognition or something that destroys your body, health sexual identity, and social life in one fell swoop that you should avoid.

    I have felt this way as well. But nothing in my life has made me feel as strong and powerful as being a mother. Being the center of a tiny little person’s world is incredibly humbling, but it also made me realize that I can do this, I will do this, because this tiny person needs me and I will not fail them. It’s a very empowering (and, God, I usually hate that word) feeling.

  18. Queen Maeve
    Queen Maeve August 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    I mean really, “I’m a sexual object, hooray!” “well that’s why I married you, hurr durr!” this is feminism now? A lot of women feel threatened and upset by strange men commenting on our bodies, and rightfully so. Yes, “even” mothers. Just because I’ve have kids doesn’t mean I am no so pathetically in need of male validation that I will accept street harassment as a “compliment.” And I would be profoundly insulted by a partner even jokingly insinuating that my being a “sexual object” was the main source of their attraction to me.

    Can we drop all the MILF crap and all the apologizing for being serious and just be serious about motherhood and feminism? Ever? It seems like the only pieces on motherhood I see making the big feminist blogs are full of half-apologizing and attempts to prove that the author is still cool, sexy, and not a “square.” What about the rest of us?

  19. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    Queen Maeve, did you read any of the posts by Spilt Milk?

    And I think it’s one thing to look around and ask why there’s a certain conversation that doesn’t happen, and quite another to take a blogger to task for not writing the post that you thought she should have.

    Also, there’s been a lot of conversation recently on this site about people having different responses to street harassment and differences in people’s sexual relationships. And reclaiming sexuality after being placed in a category that society deems totally not sexy can be important and liberating.

    Anyways, as someone who is not a mother, this was a really interesting post to read. Thanks, Natalia. :)

  20. z
    z August 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

    Queen Maeve: I mean really, “I’m a sexual object, hooray!” “well that’s why I married you, hurr durr!” this is feminism now? A lot of women feel threatened and upset by strange men commenting on our bodies, and rightfully so. Yes, “even” mothers. Just because I’ve have kids doesn’t mean I am no so pathetically in need of male validation that I will accept street harassment as a “compliment.” And I would be profoundly insulted by a partner even jokingly insinuating that my being a “sexual object” was the main source of their attraction to me.

    Great, that’s your response. Natalia was not invalidating your response or others like it, and I think the readership of this blog is aware that your reaction is common and valid. That does not make it mandatory.

  21. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm |

    I dunno. I don’t think I can fully get behind this post unless there are pictures of the onesie.

    Congrats!

  22. Diana
    Diana August 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    @ Queen Maeve and those discussing her comments –

    On the one hand, it’s probably pretty obvious to most of us here that taking offense at any given situation or comment is not a requirement of being a feminist. There is no comprehensive list of Things Which May Not Be Tolerated.

    But seriously, if someone blogged here about, say, how she found purpose, self-worth, and peace in being subservient to every male member of her family because it was her god’s plan for women, or what-have-you, would you pat her on the back for sharing her unique interpretation of feminism, or would you give the post a giant ‘WTF?’

    The OP has not done that – not by a long shot – but the fact that she stated appreciation and enjoyment for an action and attitude that is generally decried as being systematically damaging to women should be allowed to raise eyebrows. I think it’s a good thing that it’s a norm on this blog to avoid accusations of ‘not a Real Feminist(TM),’ but I also think there probably is a line somewhere for most people, whether stated or not, and I’d be interested in a discussion of where that is. (Or in being linked to such a discussion that’s already been had, if someone can, because as such things go I’m relatively new here.)

  23. sabrina
    sabrina August 9, 2011 at 7:11 pm |

    um… I found the cat calling incident and her reaction to be extremely tongue in cheek and pretty sarcastic. Furthermore, you do not know the inner workings of her relationship with her partner, and to try and label her as not feminist, along with the dismissal that feminism leaves one woefully underprepared for motherhood is pretty insulting to mothers who are telling you that the movement left them underprepared for motherhood.

  24. CaliOak
    CaliOak August 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

    motherhood + feminism = midwife blogs among other things

  25. Natalia
    Natalia August 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm |

    See, I’m not a big fan of writing blog posts that go something like, “This is my life, this is what I am like, this is the kind of humour that thrives in my household – but hey, if your life is very different in certain key points and you don’t laugh about the same things, and perhaps if you look kinda different, and your values do not 100% line up with mine, THAT’S TOTALLY COOL TOO! I CERTAINLY DO NOT MEAN TO INVALIDATE YOUR DELICATE SELF!”

    I figure that people are adults and they don’t require said validation.

    Incidentally, I had to leave Jordan because of sexual harassment – so guess what? I allow myself to laugh about it if I so choose. I’ve certainly cried about it enough times.

    I also think it exists on a spectrum – how I personally respond to it always depends on context. I used it to my advantage that time I first crawled out of the house – exhausted, bleeding, and sad. It gave me quite a laugh at the time. I’ve used it to my advantage in other difficult situations – even in very dangerous situations.

    Oh and Queen Maeve – the exact conversation between my husband and I often goes like this: “So why did you marry me again?” “Because of your tits.” “My tits?!” “Oh. Sorry. I meant – your tits and ass.”

  26. dcardona
    dcardona August 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    Just riffing off the comment by Emilly Bristol about the chasm between “feminism” and “motherhood”…

    I think the belief that a chasm exists is one of the biggest roadblocks we face as a movement. Really, the chasm is the same size as that between “feminism” and “womanhood.” What I mean is that it depends on the woman. There are many women out there, and mothers, too, who do not embrace feminism as a movement. But there are many who do.

    My motherhood and feminism are inexorably linked. But it took me about a year to realize it.

    For the two years of my first daughter’s life I worked outside the home as the larger of two breadwinners in a hetero marriage. No problems. But then the Mr. got a job opportunity in another state. After much careful consideration, we made the move and I became an at-home parent. The first year of this new existence was harder on my concept of self than anything I ever experienced.

    Was I a “bad” feminist? This question haunted me until I realized that feminism and motherhood don’t have to be at odds. Only the damaging, patriarchal view of “traditional” motherhood is incompatible. To the casual observer, I seemed to embody the idea of “the little woman” – cooking, cleaning, childrearing. Even to myself!

    Slowly I came to understand that the path I took to get there was not one which I was forced to tread. That at this moment in time I was fulfilled by what I was doing and would be free to change my destiny if that ever changed. And that I was – AM – actively raising a pair of feminists by example; mindful of what I do, how, and in explaining why. It was as true then as it was when I was a working mother, without the trappings of domesticity.

    Feminism enables women to have freedom from and of motherhood(s). Neither is superior to the other; each can desirable, and feminist, in their own right.

  27. Natalia
    Natalia August 10, 2011 at 12:33 am |

    Feminism enables women to have freedom from and of motherhood(s). Neither is superior to the other; each can desirable, and feminist, in their own right.

    This general sentiment I am in complete agreement with – but does feminism currently do an adequate job of addressing motherhood and economic issues? Motherhood and affordable daycare? Motherhood and health care? Motherhood at the intersection of race and class?

    I don’t think this is currently the case. After all, choosing motherhood is only the beginning.

    P.S. I think I’ll definitely have to take some onesie pics! ;)

  28. Elena
    Elena August 10, 2011 at 4:46 am |

    Congratulations on the baby Natalia! Good luck on getting to the beach!

    IMO, one of the most feminist things to do is to make sure there is another generation of feminists. To me, having choices is what feminism is all about – choices whether to have kids or not, whether to go back to work out of the house or not. I have these choices because earlier feminists fought to have them supported by my culture, society, government.
    I agree with dcardona, exercising these choices freely is feminist. I am disappointed with *anyone* who claims that some of these choices aren’t valid ones. My hetero partner and I have the privilege of choosing to be dual income earners for our family, but if one of us ever gets the super-fantastic-high-paying-awesome career, the other one starts staying at home with our daughter, regardless of which of us that is.
    One of the problems with the kyriarchy is that for all right-wing blather about “family values”, childrearing is not given the respect that it should be; I think it should be a valid and valued career option, open to anyone who would be good at it, which is *not* defined by whether or not you happened to be born with a uterus.

  29. Florence
    Florence August 10, 2011 at 8:25 am |

    Natalia: See, I’m not a big fan of writing blog posts that go something like, “This is my life, this is what I am like, this is the kind of humour that thrives in my household – but hey, if your life is very different in certain key points and you don’t laugh about the same things, and perhaps if you look kinda different, and your values do not 100% line up with mine, THAT’S TOTALLY COOL TOO! I CERTAINLY DO NOT MEAN TO INVALIDATE YOUR DELICATE SELF!”

    I figure that people are adults and they don’t require said validation.

    I am glad that you do not like to write posts that are like this. I like a diversity of humor, perspective, and opinion, and I am free to agree or disagree with all or none of whatever I read on this fine, free blog. It’s pretty awesome to have that freedom and that entertainment at my disposal.

  30. Miss S
    Miss S August 10, 2011 at 10:22 am |

    Natalia congrats!! I’m happy for you.

    Azalea- your comment was spot on. I think motherhood is seen through the lens of the relatively privileged in relation to feminism, and that’s why there’s a disconnect between, say, my reality and the comments I see here. Here in the U.S, we don’t have universal maternity care, nor day care, nor health care. We also have a fairly hostile environment to black women with children. The feminist movement sometimes seems more concerned about not ‘privileging motherhood’ than making this country a bit easier for women with children.

    I think the intersection of woman and mother are praised among minority groups precisely because of the hostile environment from the rest of the country. Does that make sense? Kind of like how that study showed that black women and girls have some of the highest levels of self esteem, despite living in a culture that prizes eurocentric beauty standards. There’s alot of work being done internally and within a family or community to increase self worth. Like all the blogs on loving and appreciating kinky hair, etc.

  31. Sara
    Sara August 10, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    Looks like Queen Maeve needs to go look up “sarcasm” in the dictionary. I appreciate your humor, Natalia.

    When feminism reminds us that virtually all of the life restrictions mentioned in the OP that can be connected with motherhood can also be connected with fatherhood, it becomes clear that feminism and parenting aren’t incompatible. I do, however, sometimes cringe to see these things framed as intrinsic to motherhood rather than intrinsic to parenting and (unfortunately) socially linked to motherhood.

  32. Meredith L.
    Meredith L. August 10, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    First of all, mazel tov!

    Second, the crying: I would like to say it gets better after all those pesky post-natal hormones calm down, but it doesn’t. After the recent horrific abduction and murder of an 8-year old boy in my neighborhood, I cried for DAYS, and my son is nearly 3 years old.

    Third, thank you. This might be the best post on motherhood and feminism I’ve read in a very long time. It’s tough to reconcile my choice to become a stay-at-home-mother with my feminist ideals, but after nearly 3 years (and another on the way) now, I think I might be making a dent in that whole mishegoss. I really needed to read this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  33. La Lubu
    La Lubu August 10, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    Queen Maeve, I kinda-sorta get what you’re saying, but at the same time, I didn’t relate to it the way you did (and not just because I’m familiar with Natalia’s style of sarcasm). What struck me was how much I could relate, because of how the “outside culture” or “overculture” (especially in the US, where I live) denigrates mothers—assumes that mothers are *of course* frumpy and boring and brainless because of our motherhood. It doesn’t assume that of fathers. Fathers are assumed to retain all their interests and knowledge even after becoming a parent. It’s definitely a gendered thing that women are *reduced* by parenthood. I didn’t read it as “oh how nice if you’re one of the cool kids”. I’ve never been one of the cool kids; I’m pretty sure that somewhere close to half the Feministe readership would take one look at me and say, “oh look! It’s Snooki, all grown up!” if they saw me in person (and I mean that tongue-in-cheek, but…..yeah. hipster, I ain’t). But still. I didn’t and don’t dig the assumption that “mother” points to one specific, reductive template, and that I am to be judged by how well I fit that template—which is (yet another) version of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t.

    Cosign to what Miss S and Azalea said. Motherhood isn’t just a status, it’s a praxis—one that has radically different expression depending on one’s culture and community(ies), in a way that fatherhood doesn’t. I’m on my phone, so forgive me for not trying to find the link, but I believe there was another post on this blog that mentioned that organized, predominantly white, predominantly middle-class feminist groups have basically taken a don’t-ask, don’t-tell attitude toward motherhood (at least, organizing around issues of much import to mothers) because of their image of motherhood as imprisoning (think: the Feminine Mystique).

    And I gotta say, the reasons I can’t relate to almost all of organized feminist movement in the US is *because* of the unwillingness to give anything other than lip service to the needs of mothers and labor (umpteen marches and fund drives and writing campaigns for abortion; none for other working-class concerns like universal daycare or the property tax system of school funding ensuring educational inequality, and I could get thumb cramps going on and on). There’s a huge gulf. Maternity leave? I wanted to laugh, except it isn’t funny. So very few women have paid leave of *any* kind, including sick leave.

    “Official” feminist movement in the US seems to assume that working class women are nonfeminist (or even antifeminist) by default. And it seems to assume the same thing of mothers. And that still boggles my mind, coming where I’m coming from.

  34. Dawn
    Dawn August 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    I think the problem is woman =/= feminist. A lot of the blocks we face as feminists are not just men, majorly it tends to be mothers who are responsible for them, understandably that annoys some of us feminists.

    Who spread nonsense such as:

    Being a mother made them a better/more responsible/loving person. (Implication being women without children are lesser because only giving birth improves a woman).

    Motherhood is the “hardest job in the world”. (Implication, basically running down women without children because they don’t work “as hard”).

    Motherhood is the greatest role a woman can play. (Implication, nothing else a woman does matters).

    You don’t know X until you give birth. (Implication: Apparently being nulliparous makes us stupid).

    There’s also the problematic assumption that women without children are cold, incapable and a bunch of other things. Is it really necessary for so many women to “celebrate motherhood” at the expense of women who can’t or don’t want to have children? How do you think we like being called unnatural because we choose a different path?

    Then there’s the attitude from some mothers that is pretty much “I have given birth so therefore the world revolves around me”, and the entitlement complexs, I really hate being unable to catch a bus because some able bodied women thinks having queefed out a baby means that her convenience takes precedence over my need despite the law.

    If you want to know why the feminist movement is so often anti-mother, look no further than the nearest clueless woman with a kid in tow who thinks women like me are broken because we’re not like her. Worse still this crap is backed up by patriarchy, so we deal with a sea of this crap flowing forth from both women and patriarchy, is it any wonder many women are less than happy about it?

  35. SWNC
    SWNC August 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    La Lubu:
    And I gotta say, the reasons I can’t relate to almost all of organized feminist movement in the US is *because* of the unwillingness to give anything other than lip service to the needs of mothers and labor (umpteen marches and fund drives and writing campaigns for abortion; none for other working-class concerns like universal daycare or the property tax system of school funding ensuring educational inequality, and I could get thumb cramps going on and on). There’s a huge gulf.

    I agree so much with all of this. I don’t work outside of the home because I want to; I work outside of the home because my kid needs to eat. Right now, almost all of my concerns as a woman are related to being a mother–the lack of paid sick and maternity leave, the crazy high costs of daycare, the lack of universal health care for American children–and I don’t see organized feminist groups or much of the feminist blogosphere (beyond the “mommyblogs”–oh, I hate that term!) paying attention to these issues.

  36. dcardona
    dcardona August 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    Natalia: “This general sentiment I am in complete agreement with – but does feminism currently do an adequate job of addressing motherhood and economic issues? Motherhood and affordable daycare? Motherhood and health care? Motherhood at the intersection of race and class?”

    Yes. In general is what I meant. I agree there is much work to do until the perceived chasm disappears. It takes all of us to stand up and say, “There are not two separate concepts.”

  37. Dawn
    Dawn August 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm |

    @Natalie,

    Go right ahead, if you don’t mind I’ll refrain from them though.

    The suspicion usually ends for you once you’re kids are grown up, if you don’t have them, it never ends. Plus women who have kids get lots of validation to balance it out, I’m not saying your life is a cakewalk but comparatively you won’t be judged anywhere near as much as a nulliparous woman will no matter why she’s nulliparous.

    My point was, a large part of the anti-mother sentiments in feminist circles are down to the obnoxious entitlement from women who think that only mother issues are important. These are the sort of people who will interrupt a feminist discussion on say slut walks to talk about how mothers have it harder than anyone and generally to pull a martyr act which usually annoys everyone else.

    I’m all for mothers and their choices being judged less, but when I came face to face with yet another bechilded person who thinks that the world should stop for her and only her, I find myself hard pressed to give a shit about her issues since she’s making it abundantly clear that she doesn’t care about mine.

    The problem is for every feminist that gives birth and manages to remember that women’s issues cover more than just maternity leave, there’s usually a thousand more women with children who are only feminist so long as it suits them and gets them what they want.

    Most people tend to be annoyed at self centered folks, regardless of race, gender, creed or anything else. If you want mainstream feminists to care more about mother issues, perhaps you might want to persuade mothers to give a crap about mainstream issues instead of treating us like selfish children which is what usually happens.

  38. Andie
    Andie August 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

    Dawn:
    @Natalie,
    Go right ahead, if you don’t mind I’ll refrain from them though.

    You don’t think equating childbirth with a giant pussy-fart constitutes mysogynistic language?

  39. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    Seriously Dawn? You use that type of language to talk about another person and then complain about being treated like a selfish child? From where I stand you’re being an asshole. Perhaps if you want someone to treat you with respect you might start by treating others with respect.

    I get just as pissed off at entitled motherhood as the next CF, but that doesn’t mean I blame all mothers for the assholery of some.

  40. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm |

    Dawn: The suspicion usually ends for you once you’re kids are grown up, if you don’t have them, it never ends. Plus women who have kids get lots of validation to balance it out, I’m not saying your life is a cakewalk but comparatively you won’t be judged anywhere near as much as a nulliparous woman will no matter why she’s nulliparous.

    Way to erase those of us who are harshly judged for wanting kids. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t face shaming if I didn’t want kids, but, as a very fat woman, I’ve had to deal with a whole lotta bullshit for wanting to have kids and considering fertility treatments (I have PCOS). Then, once I have kids, if they inherit my fattness, I risk *having them taken away from me*.

    Patriarchy: it hurts women.

  41. DammitJanet
    DammitJanet August 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

    Dawn: Being a mother made them a better/more responsible/loving person. (Implication being women without children are lesser because only giving birth improves a woman).

    You realize this doesn’t logically follow and that it says more about your insecurities than it does about the speakers intent, yes? “X made me more responsible” does not imply “X is the only thing that could ever make anyone more responsible.”

    Having kids changed me more than I can say. So did getting divorced. So did the death of my best friend. None of this means that no one else could experience growth if they didn’t go through these things.

    1. Jill
      Jill August 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm | *

      Being a mother made them a better/more responsible/loving person. (Implication being women without children are lesser because only giving birth improves a woman).

      Yeah, what? Why is it bad to say that being a mother changed your life in positive ways? Being a pet-owner has also made me a better/more responsible/loving person; it doesn’t mean that non-pet-owners are lesser. Come on now.

      If you want to know why the feminist movement is so often anti-mother, look no further than the nearest clueless woman with a kid in tow who thinks women like me are broken because we’re not like her.

      You know, people in every demographic can be assholes. There are no doubt clueless women who think that women without children are unnatural and sad. But those women are not the majority of mothers, and the existence of those women aren’t an argument against supporting mothers any more than you — a bit of an asshole yourself — are an argument against supporting feminism.

    2. Jill
      Jill August 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm | *

      My point was, a large part of the anti-mother sentiments in feminist circles are down to the obnoxious entitlement from women who think that only mother issues are important. These are the sort of people who will interrupt a feminist discussion on say slut walks to talk about how mothers have it harder than anyone and generally to pull a martyr act which usually annoys everyone else.

      Really? I haven’t seen a whole lot of that in my feminist circles. Although again, assholes take all shapes, and some mothers are total assholes who de-rail conversations to talk about their own personal issues, at the expense of everyone else.

      Kind of like what’s happening here, where someone comes in to interrupt a feminist discussion on motherhood to talk about how non-mothers have it harder than anyone and generally to pull a martyr act which annoys everyone else.

  42. Florence
    Florence August 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    For all the shitting on motherhood politics in this thread — it’s worth noting that most countries and cultures have shitty leave policies, lack universal healthcare and/or childcare, and vacillate between putting mothers on pedestals and knocking them off. So, Dawn, I don’t know what you’re being such an asshole about, because from where I sit we’re all arguing over the same old shit misogyny pie.

  43. igglanova
    igglanova August 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm |

    Yeah, let’s cool it with the mother-hate. I understand some of the frustration with mothers (I mean hey, I guess at least one in your life has done the irritating self-important act) but that’s not what the post is about, and that kind of behaviour is far from whatever norm I’ve been able to ascertain in feminist circles. And it’s not as if non-feminist mothers have anything uniquely worse to say to women than other non-feminists, either.

    I don’t have anything else to add, given that I’m out of my element when the discussion is about the experience of motherhood, so I’ll continue to lurk and read.

  44. Dawn
    Dawn August 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    @Andie,

    Well those mothers seem to be all about air, their children seem to be just another means of producing it.

    @Kristen,

    The kind of bechilded folks I’m talking about were continually nasty to me long before I started thinking they were entitled. Surprisingly if you abuse someone for twenty fucking years, they do get a bit naffed off and likely to describe the bane of their existence using less than pleasant language.

    I give respect to those who deserve it, not to those who demand the world bow down and worship their wombs for working.

    @Shoshie

    Way to try and equate what is mostly encouraged and supported with the kind of bigotry women like me face. I’m sorry that your personal experience hasn’t reflected the usual bias towards having children that society has but you =/= everyone. Having children is put up on a pedestal and reckoned to only bestow positive attributes, while the opposite is equated with only negative attributes.

    @DammitJanet,

    Yet, that whole idea that it is like that is often pushed. “It’s different when it’s your own”, “you can’t be X until you give birth”. I am responsible, sweet and loving but I am frequently told that I am not simply because I don’t have a kid in tow.

    People are told that they “don’t know love” until they have a kid. Having a kid is argued to make everyone more mature, women without kids are looked down on as frivolous and immature and if we aren’t then people look pitying at us and say “ah well no doubt she’ll settle down and grow up soon”.

    Women don’t get told they can’t have kids because they’re too young, let plenty of mothers will argue that women like me should not be allowed to choose not to have children permanently because we’re “too young” and “could change our minds”, nobody would say the same to someone who wanted children.

    @Jill,

    It’s not bad to admit the positive, but the problems start when some folks treat it as the only way to be a responsible grown up person, or equate having kids as bestowing those qualities automatically.

    A child can change someone’s life, but it’s not a given and it’s not the only thing that can.

    Funny cos they’re the majority of the women who are found arguing against feminism, and the majority of women I meet daily.

    My point was that if you want regular feminist spaces to open up more to mothers, how about doing something about the assholes who give you all a bad name? I’d love it if disabled feminists could have discussions that didn’t end with some parent coming in and basically demanding that we give up our needs for her wants simply because she has a child.

    I’d love it if the newspapers weren’t full of crap like:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1252452/Revealed-Why-disabled-bays-stay-empty.html

    Which is part of the campaign some mother’s groups are pushing against the disabled. Another campaign has been to grant buggies priority ahead of wheelchairs on buses, as if we didn’t have enough problems using public transport!

    You wonder why I’m so annoyed, because when we express our frustration with the problem, we get told off for being angry with these women and their ignorance. I wouldn’t tell you not to be angry if a feminist said you were less of a person for having kids, so don’t tell me not to be angry when mother’s and society regularly say I am less of a person for not having kids.

  45. Julie
    Julie August 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

    Thank you Jill! I mean, I do feel like motherhood made me more responsible, but it doesn’t mean that I think people without kids aren’t responsible. It means FOR ME that was a huge turning point- other people become more responsible when they get their first professional job, their first pet, etc… I also became a pro-choice feminist when I became a mother. Doesn’t mean I think people without kids can’t be a feminist. And yes Dawn, equating childbirth with a queef is pretty fucking insulting, sorry.

  46. Shoshie
    Shoshie August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    Dawn: Way to try and equate what is mostly encouraged and supported with the kind of bigotry women like me face. I’m sorry that your personal experience hasn’t reflected the usual bias towards having children that society has but you =/= everyone. Having children is put up on a pedestal and reckoned to only bestow positive attributes, while the opposite is equated with only negative attributes.

    Wait…you’re accusing me…of pretending that everyone shares my experience? And then…and then you decide that somehow disabled women and women with children are exclusive groups? Wow. I just…wow.

  47. DammitJanet
    DammitJanet August 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    Dawn: Women don’t get told they can’t have kids because they’re too young

    I see you have missed the whole war on teen pregnancy that has happened over the last twenty some years. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that no one thinks young women having children are doing anything to “mature” themselves.

  48. Dawn
    Dawn August 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm |

    The problem is that a lot of parents are often downright nasty to the disabled and nulliparous. (and yes, disabled parents get the shitty end of the stick along with us).

    The average disabled person’s life is impacted by two big issues, social and legal pressure on them, things like the government’s attempts to do away with help for disabled people, and other people, those people are predominantly mothers and children.

    Please understand this, we get tired of the following treatment:

    Being treated like our disability is catching. Seriously, parents will literally bundle children away from us as if they can catch our disability and they make comments as well. It’s not nice.

    Being treated at a learning experience for children and even told off if we refuse to be so. I’m a person not an interactive museum exhibit, at least ask if I mind before pouncing on me with a bunch of questions about my disability.

    Another variant on this that annoys me, is when parents let their kid walk into me in my wheelchair to teach them not to walk backwards. One lady got awful pissy at me after I howled because her kid landed in my lap and dislocated my hip, clearly everyone in a wheelchair is paralysed down there and I was just making a big fuss about nothing and ruining her lesson by being upset because I am a big meanie.

    Or they decide that clearly anyone who doesn’t want to hear precious howl his lungs out is hateful. High pitched howls trigger one of my conditions, I’d prefer to avoid that thank you very much.

    Being told our disabilities are nothing because we don’t know real suffering until we have kids, and yes women do say stuff like that to us. You’d be miffed as well if you had to listen to shit like that all the damn time.

    Many of the mother group agenda’s are anti-disabled people. Groups like netmums and mumsnet are often in the pocket of groups like the daily mail attacking disabled people as if our needs are somehow violating their rights. They treat it as a zero sum game and seem to feel that running other groups down to get what they want is a perfectly acceptable strategy.

    Then there’s the assaults with buggies, especially in crowded stores. Several times women have deliberately rammed me with the damn behemoths. Why do so many shopping trips end in me being assaulted?

    Not to mention the fact that a trip can take 3 hours instead of the thirty minutes it should thanks to entitleparents and their refusal to fold buggies.

    Then you’ve got the political impact parents can have on the disabled. For the last decade help for the disabled has been cut to the bone, parents have largely ignored this problem because it didn’t affect them, then when the cuts to child benefit were announced they hit the roof and incidentally drowned out protests about cuts to DLA that would basically imprison many disabled people. The people complaining? Get twenty times as much money as some disabled people receive, disability isn’t cheap. Please understand why some of us are upset that parents seem to enjoy marginalising and hijacking our issues when it suits them.

    As for treatment of the nulliparous. Crack open a magazine sometime, you’ll notice a deluge of comments such as “the greatest role a woman can have”, mommy worshiping and other yummy mummy things, society puts motherhood on a pedestal. There are lots of stereotypes, such as the idea that motherhood means someone is a loving devoted person. Society overwhelmingly gives positive stereotypes to motherhood, not negative ones.

    Many childfree folks have been told that we’re immature, stupid, selfish, unloving or wasting our lives because we don’t have children. If there was more support within mothering circles for people who don’t have kids and the disabled, then you’d probably find a whole lot less friction happens.

    Mother’s are overwhelmingly negative towards nulliparous women. They write things like: http://mommyish.com/stuff/adultism-people-get-over-your-hatred-of-children/ where childfree people are blamed for issues that have nothing to do with us, not to mention the fail of equating children not being allowed in one restaurant with racism.

    @Shoshie,

    No, I’m accusing you of not realising the privileged position motherhood enjoys compared to the choice not to have kids. Overwhelmingly society supports and defends the choice to have kids, while it disparages those who choose not to. That is the norm for society, while there is misogynism at work in the whole mythos, it hurts women without kids more than it hurts women with kids because those who follow the standard are rewarded.

    I didn’t decide that, the constantly reinforced message that nulliparous women and disabled women are lesser from mothers decided that one.

    @Dammitjanet,

    And you missed the whole glamorization of teen pregnancy, the equation of motherhood with maturity and all the programmes created to worship at the temple of motherhood. John and Kate plus eight, the Duggars, hell most of the reason Octomom kept all eight babies was for the attention, multiple births were hot at the time. The only reason she didn’t end up on top was her timing was bad, she had them just as the multiple mommies trend dropped and people started realising the mess we were in.

  49. My feminist life – after childbirth. Yes, it does exist. - Feministe (blog) | Feminist definition of life and living well | Scoop.it

    [...] My feminist life – after childbirth. Yes, it does exist. – Feministe (blog) My feminist life – after childbirth. Yes, it does exist.Feministe (blog)As feminists, we're sick to death of the image of the self-sacrificial woman, yet being a feminist mother obviously means having to reconcile this fact with making certain… Source: http://www.feministe.us [...]

  50. Dawn
    Dawn August 14, 2011 at 10:20 am |

    No, I’m merely pointing out that nulliparous women the -minority- of women since only one in five is so, get incredibly shitty treatment from the world, whereas those who have children often receive better treatment and more to the point are often part and parcel of the people judging us.

    All the women with kids I’ve worked with have had flexible hours because of feminist efforts, I don’t get the same consideration cos of course I have to understand that Liam has a cold and none of the other parents can possibly come in on short notice and how dare I be upset at being made to work a 24 hour shift with no breaks, no sleep and a chronic exhaustion condition, clearly I’m just hating on parents. Try dealing with that shit for a while and perhaps you might understand why I’m distinctly unimpressed when parents complain that feminism doesn’t do it enough for them when they due to being the biggest group have already won many rights that some of us are still fighting for.

    I’m also disabled which is another minority frequently ignored by mainstream feminism and we are often victimised by the self same attitude.

    Let me show you something:

    http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/1188463-to-use-the-disabled-toilet-in-this-situation/AllOnOnePage

    Count how many able bodied mothers there think they’re entitled to use the disabled toilets, now realise that on average there is one disabled loo for every ten non-disabled toilets, parents make up a big chunk of the population, while there’s some overlap, what do you think the outcome of over 50% of the population trying to use 10% of the toilets is? Unsurprisingly it means they aren’t available for the people who NEED them much of the time.

    Oh and even when the toilets are built with bigger stalls to enable parents to take their kid and buggy in? Overwhelmingly parents will still use the disabled toilet, they had to lock our town center ones because of this despite all the toilets having one or more large stalls for people who need extra space without having a wheelchair.

    So yeah, when mothers stop hurting marginalised groups within feminism, then you can complain about being hard done by and ignored by mainstream feminism.

  51. Miss S
    Miss S August 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm |

    No, I’m merely pointing out that nulliparous women the -minority- of women since only one in five is so, get incredibly shitty treatment from the world, whereas those who have children often receive better treatment and more to the point are often part and parcel of the people judging us.

    Dawn. Have you read any other perspectives of motherhood on this post? Did you see where women pointed out that some mothers get treated like shit just for being mothers? Like black women. Or lesbian women. Or, hell, black lesbian women.

    Mothers don’t really get social support. Unless you count “ob your baby is so cute” as social support, which most of us don’t. There’s no universal health care, no universal day care, no universal paid maternity or paternity leave. Some women have to return to work the day after giving birth? Where the hell is all this damn social support you’re talking about?? Some jobs don’t care if your child broke his arm at school, no you can’t leave early. Some jobs don’t care if you’re breastfeeding, so no bathroom breaks.

    You’re not talking about mothers in your comments. You’re talking about a very specific group, and honestly? I bet if you asked them, they would tell you the shitty ways people acted towards them for being a mom.

  52. Miss S
    Miss S August 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    So yeah, when mothers stop hurting marginalised groups within feminism, then you can complain about being hard done by and ignored by mainstream feminism

    Mothers are members of marginalized groups within feminism. Also? Mothers want closer parking spots, therefore they are entitled, selfish, and undeserving of feminism? What???

  53. Dawn
    Dawn August 15, 2011 at 5:27 am |

    @Miss S,

    I’m not denying that society as a whole is shitty to women, especially those who are PoC or disabled.

    However this does not change facts: Motherhood is put on a pedestal by society and mothers. Being a mother can often get you help that others are denied and is seen as a woman’s highest calling with negative consequences attached for those who decide it’s not their their calling.

    Are there still fights left to fight? No doubt, but if you want to know why folks like me are so annoyed at the whole “mothers are feminist” claims, look no further than campaigns BY mothers to take away the rights and needs of people who are disabled.

    If I had a dime for everytime some mother had told me (either verbally or by her actions) that she felt she had the right to make decisions for me and the enforce those decisions without my consent? I’d have enough to sponsor gender equality laws worldwide.

    Try telling this stuff to someone who isn’t faced everyday with entitlement, lack of consideration and campaigns that are dressed up as “for the children” but really it’s all about helping mothers at the expense of other groups within feminism.

    Mothers are the majority not the minority. Four out of every five women will have a kid or kids. There’s nothing feminist about mother’s groups who argue for the removal of disabled spaces entirely to be replaced with mother and child spaces when many stores often have more of the latter closer to the door.

    There’s nothing feminist about mother’s groups who reinforce their feelings of entitlement towards things disabled people need to the point of imprisoning disabled folks in their homes because getting out becomes too difficult when the facilities we need are no longer available to us.

    There’s nothing feminist about mother’s groups who push “adultism” crap which compares children to PoC, GLBTQ and disabled people and claims that children are facing discrimination on the same scale (I wish that wasn’t true but it is).

    In short, motherhood and feminism are a contradiction to folks like me because of so many years of seeing mothers seek advantage on the backs of others.

    Basically mothers often don’t act in solidarity with the rest of us and then seem surprised that we’re not marching with them when it comes to injustice against them.

    My point: Problems like what I describe are a big part of the reason motherhood has become so estranged from the rest of us. It isn’t just the fight for the right to choose that leaves me and others exhausted, it’s fighting against entitled parents and their campaigns that victimise us.

  54. Natalia
    Natalia August 16, 2011 at 8:25 am |

    Intersectionality – you fail at it, Dawn.

  55. chingona
    chingona August 16, 2011 at 9:08 am |

    This is about women with kids using the disabled bathroom stall? Really? I’ll confess that I often do use the disabled stall when I have my kids with me. Believe it or not, I prefer not to be in such a cramped space that I end up sticking my crotch in my five-year-old’s face when I pull my pants down. I wasn’t aware that using the bathroom for a few minutes prevents someone who isn’t even in the room or in line at the time from using it when they need it at some completely different time. Your reward for not having kids is that you get to go to the bathroom in public without worrying about the older one wandering off or the younger one eating dirty wet toilet paper off the floor.

  56. Miss S
    Miss S August 16, 2011 at 11:49 am |

    Dawn, are you genuinely not comprehending that not all mother’s are placed on a pedestal, or are you ignoring the reality of millions of women so you can ramble on about disability rights?

    Hell, I use the dressing room for disabled people if no one is waiting or using it because it has more room. I can completely understand why someone with children would use the bathroom stall for disabled people if no one is waiting for it. The Target in my area has parking spaces designated for pregnant women as well as handicapped parking spots.

    Making stores mom friendly isn’t a diss to non-mothers just as making stores handicapped friendly isn’t a diss to non-disabled people.

  57. Dawn
    Dawn August 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    @Chingona,

    One person won’t stop me from using the toilet, however when virtually EVERY parent does the same, again ten percent of the toilets being used by 50%+ of the population, do the math. There are barely enough disabled friendly toilets for the 10 million disabled people in the UK, for there to be enough for parents like you to freely use them as well, the amount of that type of toilet would have to more than triple.

    Why don’t you campaign for more family friendly toilets? Instead of assuming that because you can’t see the harm done it doesn’t exist? You aren’t just one person who does it, as I linked further up, lots of parents regard the disabled toilets as their own personal special space. I have had bladder infections because some parent didn’t think that “nipping” into the disabled toilets (read: spending ten plus minutes in it) would cause problems for disabled folks. I’m allergic to the meds for those.

    Did I mention that there are NO disabled friendly baby changes? Yeah, they shoe horn baby changes into disabled toilets and most disabled folks can’t use them and half the time putting in the baby change also renders the disabled toilet not accessible to wheelchair users.

    @Miss S,

    Are you not comprehending that motherhood and most mothers already enjoy a higher standard due to social bias and due to previous battles fought by feminist campaigners?

    Or That the reason many feminists are exhausted is not just the choice issue, but it’s having to fight all these battles because the majority aka mothers often don’t think beyond themselves?

    Seriously, if I could give you a week in my wheelchair, I would. Just so you can deal with what I go through everyday dealing with entitled mothers and the impact they have on my life.

    I’m not saying that there’s not still battles to fight or that mother’s have it perfect, I however am saying that many of us without kids through choice or not, often face exhaustion due to a lack of consideration from people who have kids.

    IF you want non-mothers to support you? Perhaps a little consideration is in order. As I said earlier, just because there’s no-one in the disabled toilet or waiting for it doesn’t mean that you using it won’t have an impact.

    Many disabled conditions come with GI issues, as disabled person with a GI issue might have to go right away, disabled toilets are often spaced widely apart, so to get to a disabled toilet might take ten minutes, that’s ten minutes of agonizing pain if you have a GI issue, if someone’s in it when you get there? That’s an additional 2-5 minutes of pain and this isn’t mild pain, this is someone stabbed you in the gut pain. I’ve only had to wait -once- for another disabled person to finish in the bathroom, I’ve had to wait countless times for non-disabled folks like you to finish in the one stall I can access, and often it’s anywhere between 2 and -20- minutes.

    Nobody has a problem with pregnancy parking in addition to disabled parking, the problem starts when able bodied mothers start campaigning for disabled parking to be -reassigned- to ONLY them because they think they need it more than we do.

    Nobody has a problem with mother’s seeking to have their needs fulfilled but mothers as a group have got to -stop- doing it at the expense of marginalised groups.

    You want to campaign for more wide stall toilets? I’ll happily come along and support you. You want instead to take over the few that barely manage our needs though? That’s when we’re going to butt heads. The problem is a lot of mothers opt for the second not the first.

    People with children are the majority, the disabled are the minority, we get very little help and our needs are barely if at all met by what we have, when you appropriate things put in place for us, you add another number to all the people doing so and often take those things away from us. It’s exhausting to have to argue this all the time, I deal with so many people who think “oh I’ll use it, it’s just me, it won’t do any harm” without realising that they’re one of thousands who do that daily and where one person isn’t a problem, thousands are.

    Then I have to deal with all the horrible things mothers say about the childfree as well, deal with bigotry and assumptions and deal with my disabilities, and I’m exhausted. Disabled feminists spend most of their time protecting their needs from the wants of the majority and trying to explain to people like you the real impact on what they do. Those without children spend most of their time dealing with ignorance spread by society and mothers.

    If I’m angry or annoyed it’s because my life is one long bloody explanation to ignorant able bodied mothers! and when it isn’t, it’s dealing with all the crap they cause and my disabilities.

    I’ve yet to meet one mother who gets it without needing detailed explanations of why them “just nipping” into the disabled loos is such a problem. Perhaps if mothers as a whole were more educated and considerate, they wouldn’t find people like me are so cheesed off all the time.

  58. Miss S
    Miss S August 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Are you not comprehending that motherhood and most mothers already enjoy a higher standard due to social bias and due to previous battles fought by feminist campaigners?

    I just realized you might not be in the U.S (you mentioned the U.K) which is probably why we aren’t seeing eye to eye. I’m also talking about governmental support in the form of univeral health care, maternity care, etc. In the U.S, the lack of these things makes motherhood damn near impossible if you’re lower class. In the U.K, you have some of these social supports already.

  59. Dawn
    Dawn August 18, 2011 at 2:53 am |

    @Miss S,

    I am indeed in the UK, and I honestly don’t mean to be such a downer about mothers, it’s just sheer frustration at dealing with constant problems because of women with children, disablist views and the bias against being childfree.

    All I want is access to public life like everyone else without having to fight a tide of bad behaviour from mothers all the time. Whether that bad behaviour be taking over the disabled toilets without realising they doing so, running campaigns to take the rights of disabled folks away or just acting badly in public towards us.

    From what I understand from many folks in the US, having a kid is actually beneficial, my understanding is that a lot of benefits are tied to having dependents under the age of 18. Two states recently enacted laws which basically said that only people with kids can access medicare. Apparently if you don’t have kids you won’t get sick or ever be disabled. Plenty of people I know have actually been advised to have a kid just to get help.

    I agree that the US really needs something like our NHS and your maternity leave is a joke plus there are issues with pregnant woman’s bodies being treated as public property, but at the same time everywhere women turn the “have a baby” message is showing, with woman having kids being placed on a pedestal.

    Giving birth is supposed to endow a woman with maturity, a loving responsible nature and a whole lot of other things, the implication being that people who haven’t given birth are immature, selfish and irresponsible.

    I’ve been called stupid, irresponsible and a lot of other things because I don’t have kids. After a while you just get sick of dealing with the hate and other shit, especially the sheer aggression of mothers when it comes to the needs of the disabled, some mothers seem to think that many of things for the disabled were created solely for them instead.

    My point in a nutshell, it’s isn’t just the choice issue that wears non-mother feminists down, there’s more going on than just that.

  60. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines August 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

    Dawn – Mothers are not out to get you. It wasn’t mothers who cut the DLA, it isn’t mothers who are slashing funding to community projects. Has it also occurred to you that some mothers can also be disabled? The two are not mutually exclusive. As for that Mumsnet post you linked to, most people agreed the the OP was being unreasonable.

    The ‘more going on’ you’re going on talking about sounds like a fixation against a group of women. And no, we’re not ‘bechilded’ or any other mother hating term, we’re parents.

    The fact the a post on here about motherhood cannot exist without someone complaining that the very act of someone having a functioning uterus oppresses them speaks volumes.

    As does the fact that in all such comments and tales of horrid StrawBabies and StrawMothers, fathers are never, ever mentioned. It’s always the women who are blamed, even on a feminist website.

    Congratulations again Natalia! Enjoy every minute because it goes so fast.

    Oh, and Azealea’s first comment was spot on.

  61. Natalia
    Natalia August 19, 2011 at 8:33 am |

    Dawn – you genuinely do not get it. Then again, I don’t know what else to expect from someone who talks about other women the way you do.

    The majority argument is particularly ludicrous. Poor people are also in the majority in the world – I guess they’re oppressing the disenfranchised upper clases…?

    I also love the whole “oh yeah, the US could use an NHS-like problem… But you know, the real issue is that mothers are on a pedestal!” Yeah, try telling that to mothers living in poverty, mothers with disabilities, etc.

    Once again – intersectionality. Look it up.

  62. I’ve been writing « Natalia Antonova

    [...] “My feminist life – after childbirth.” I blogged this for Feministe, and some truly marvelous people trolled the comments. Enjoy! [...]

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