The Price of Feminism

Rebecca Walker’s article in The Mail Online has received a bit of attention in blogs. Rebecca Walker is noted feminist Alice Walker’s daughter. (Credit: I found it first at Dr. Helen’s blog.)

I’m not a feminist. And there are many reasons why. This is one. From the article:

My mother’s feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.

According to the strident feminist ideology of the Seventies, women were sisters first, and my mother chose to see me as a sister rather than a daughter. From the age of 13, I spent days at a time alone while my mother retreated to her writing studio  –  some 100 miles away. I was left with money to buy my own meals and lived on a diet of fast food.

But the truth was I was very lonely and, with my mother’s knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.

Oh, I don’t believe that all feminists are as cold as Alice Walker seems to be in this article. But I do think that one of the underlining principles of feminism is that motherhood isn’t important, that women can ignore and shove aside their biological clocks without consequence. Rebecca Walker says it well in her article:

Then there is the issue of not having children. Even now, I meet women in their 30s who are ambivalent about having a family. They say things like: ‘I’d like a child. If it happens, it happens.’ I tell them: ‘Go home and get on with it because your window of opportunity is very small.’ As I know only too well.

Then I meet women in their 40s who are devastated because they spent two decades working on a PhD or becoming a partner in a law firm, and they missed out on having a family. Thanks to the feminist movement, they discounted their biological clocks. They’ve missed the opportunity and they’re bereft.

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

In college, I was like the 30-something women described above. I thought I had years and years of time, that modern medicine would allow me to have children whenever I wanted.  That, of course, is a lie. And it’s a big one perpetuated by the “you can have it all” faux miracle mentality espoused by feminists. Modern medicine, as great as it is, can only do so much.

The entire article is good, and quite a bit longer than I’ve quoted here. It’s worth a read.

Hello, Soap Box: It’s ignorant and downright arrogant to assume that you can have it all. I’ve learned that the best things in life, the worthiest things in life, have to be worked for, sacrificed for, and sweated over. You can’t just shove one aspect of your life aside and assume you can just easily pick it up later when it’s convenient. Life doesn’t work that way: Nothing worthy is easy. And there’s no way to have everything you want of worth. There are always sacrifices. Telling women that they can have it all is a betrayal of the women who sweated, worked, and sacrificed for something worthy. It’s negating their hard work by selling fast and easy to a gullible audience all too willing to believe in faux miracles.

2 comments on “The Price of Feminism

  1. Janet says:

    It sounds to me like Alice lacked maternal instincts herself, and she’s jealous of her own daughter because Rebecca had advantages as a child that Alice didn’t, and when Rebecca started writing, she was crowding on Alice’s turf. I really don’t think this is about feminism-it’s about jealousy and hurt.

    I wouldn’t condemn feminism in one swoop-it’s what got women’s salaries to be more equal, or equal to, men’s salaries. It got women jobs that were traditionally male-only. Feminism allowed the next generation of females the freedom to choose-and when a woman makes a choice, she has only herself to blame. In a perfect world, professional women wouldn’t be penalized for taking time off from work or post-graduate studies to have children. I think we need to keep working for women’s rights.

    If I’ve missed the point of what you were saying here, let me know!

  2. Prudie says:

    I don’t condemn feminism in one swoop. I condemn modern feminism in one swoop. It’s nothing more than a political arm of radical liberalism.

    Classic feminism… I have nothing but respect. And by classic feminism, I mean the Susan B Anthony generation of feminists.

    In a perfect world, professional women wouldn’t be penalized for taking time off from work or post-graduate studies to have children.

    Why shouldn’t a woman be penalized for taking time off from the job to have kids? If a man took time off from work for any long length of time, he’d be penalized, too, regardless of why he did it. That’s the way the business world works. If women want to be competitive in it, then they need to realize that taking significant time off for birthing babies will endanger their careers at most. At least it will create a wage gap between them and the men with whom they were formerly earning at pace.

    I think we need to keep working for women’s rights.

    What rights do you think we women are lacking? I can’t think of any.

    I really don’t think this is about feminism-it’s about jealousy and hurt.

    The daughter herself said it was about feminism. I’m willing to believe her since it is, after all, her own life. She’d know better than any, I suppose, except her mother who has been curiously silent over then entire thing.

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