The image of Mary Wollstonecraft was today beamed onto the Houses of Parliament in London to publicise efforts to erect a statute to her memory. I was thrilled that a feminist had been given the honour of having her memory showcased on one of our most popular British landmarks.
That makes Mary officially a part of our British History, thereby a recognition that feminism has been woven into our fabric of the past. It lends more meaning to the feminist term ‘her story’.
I pay homage to Mary because her view of mothers being important because they educate children is a tenet that is central to my mothering. Mothers have so much that they can teach and pass on to their children but society disempowers mothers by marginalising the work of mothering. That which does not produce a profit is disregarded.
Contrasting Pictures Of Anger and Serenity
My first thought when I read that line was that Gloria Steinem can afford to get angry. She is famous and well respected. She can get away with it. The rest of us have to negotiate and advocate for our women’s rights. In other words in the typical female way of apologising before demanding.
As an Asian woman, a further complication, I was taught that it was unladylike to be angry or, indeed, exhibit any other emotion other than demure obedience. Anger? That was the reserved right of the men we disobeyed or unruly children.
So how we do up the ante on demanding equality? Will anger work? On second thoughts, I think collective anger which manifests itself through activism will work. The women in Tahrir Square were angry. The women in Liberia who campaigned for years for peace were angry. The feminists who burned their bras were angry. Anger, therefore, does work.
Let’s all get angry.
It never ceases to amaze me just how much is blamed on women or done in our name when we do not want nor need whatever deed we are being burdened with. Gloria Steinem says that women are both the victims and the false excuse for keeping guns (because men use the excuse of protecting women as a reason for having a gun).
So women are both recipients and contributors to violence. I have a sense of deja vu. Hasn’t that train of thought been used before to justify rape and violence against women?
Facebook has finally taken down the page on rape but not before a number of men had a field day indulging in their evil fantasies. Social Networking is the domain of misogny now, taking the reach of misogy to new levels. By leaving the page up for as long as Facebook did the company ‘normalised’ violence against women. How safe are women on the internet then?
A woman was raped because her ex-boyfriend posted details of her online falsely alleging that she had a fantasy of being violated. Quite often I see comments left on women’s sites too that threaten rape. Cyber rape is a growing phenomenon.
This blog post of mine has been inspired by a similar one written by bluemilk called ‘Break-the-isolation-join-the-list’ and my experience of speaking at the recent MIRCI (Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement) conference in Toronto.
I am quite used to speaking in public but when I got up to speak at MIRCI I was nervous as anything because I felt as if I was about to reveal a stream of inner consciousness and thought. In my normal day to day life I don’t get the opportunity to discuss the ideologies and practical experiences of being a feminist mother.
Mothering in the public sphere seems to be about discussing a list of things ‘to do’ with one’s child. Mothering in the private domestic setting is about ‘doing things’ with one’s children. The deficit lies in discussing how a mother’s personal experiences of feminism can shape a child’s cognitivie, psychological and emotional development.
I am on a mission to rectify the situation and will be speaking at Occupy St.Paul’s, London, UK on November 12 at 11am on Feminist Mothering. Specifically, I am hoping to start a UK Mother Outlaws group (originated by MIRCI) and am hoping that enough interest will be generated at Occupy St.Paul’s to get the ball rolling.