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I saw this earlier today, and I had to run outside to see if the sky is indeed falling! Someone addressing a "women's issue," by asking the women themselves.

It boggles my mind.

A sample from a study shows some interesting things about Feminists, and parenting styles, and stereotypes about Feminism.

Feminists are often portrayed in the media as anti-family and anti-motherhood and the stereotypical assumption that feminists are uninterested in caring for children has contributed to the backlash against the feminist movement. Are Feminists and Attachment Parenting Compatible? Science Daily

I always found it funny. My mother was a Feminist. So I formed some of my Feminist notions based on what she modeled for me. However the stereotype is that Feminists avoid motherhood at all costs. Maybe some do. But last time I checked, that was not a rule. One didn't have to avoid having children in order to retain one's feminist card. However that and other stereotypes about Feminists have prevailed for years--decades.

I have a very very old tee-shirt of a very old Pat Robertson Quote:

Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. Rev. Pat Robertson, 1992 GOP Convention.
Yes that pretty much sums it up for me. I haven't left my husband or killed my children, so you will have guess on the rest. Now ole Pat claims he never said that. But he has been spouting crap like that for years. Remember we--Feminists made *the list of people to blame for the attacks on September 11th too. God's wrath and all that.

The point being, if the Pat Robertson quote/sentiments reflect basic assumptions about Feminism by and large, and other people bought into this notion, that also runs parallel with Flush's Femi-Nazi-Slut theme; How would that frame the image of Feminists in the act of being mothers?

Let's explore that for a moment:

After all they "hate" men and children, and are out to "destroy" society and capitalism, so that would make for a scary mother. The phrase "No Wire Hangers" comes to mind.

The results of this study though, were surprising. The surprise is that those results, pointed in the opposite direction.

Granted this is a small sample but:

Results showed that feminists were more likely to support attachment parenting practices than non-feminists, and non-feminists were more likely to endorse strict schedules for children. These results suggest that attachment parenting is a type of parenting that is attractive to feminist women. Science Daily
Hmm well that is interesting. Now this doesn't mean that all attachment mothers are Feminists or want to be labeled as such, though I am sure they like having the vote, and would like equal pay, and to have other rights and protections afforded to their male counterparts, but that is another diary. And I am sure this doesn't mean that there are no Feminist disciplinarian types out there--Tiger Moms or what have you.
Interestingly, non-feminists, and mothers in particular, held misperceptions about the typical feminist who they saw as largely uninterested in the time-intensive and hands-on practices associated with attachment parenting. Non-feminists perceived feminists as less interested in attachment parenting than they were when, in fact, the feminists were more interested. Ibid
I have an observation about this last one as well. Perhaps many Feminists [like other women] are not necessarily planning on creating their lives around the eventual birth of children--in childhood or even young adulthood. And as unattached, non parents--young single women--how many of us really sit down and plan our lives around that?

Does that lack of interest equate to hatred, or is it simply a sign of a young person who is caught up in being young?  I certainly wasn't interested in this as a young woman. But after that baby is born, whether planned or not, they-myself-like other new parents go through a tremendous, personal, paradigm shift.

Lets face it, as much as you love your new baby, you look like hell to the people on the outside. No sleep, less bathing and grooming, lots of squishy unidentifiable semi-solids on your shirt and in your hair [that isn't brushed]--some from a jar and others from less attractive places. I can see why young women would run, not walk in the other direction, upon seeing that.

But still, is that hatred? Or simply a healthy fear of an expensive, long term, labor intensive commitment?

The fact of the matter is, unless you have a helluva support system, or unless you can hire one, then usually the college and career happen first, and the baby comes later. Anyone who has been around new parents, knows that life stops abruptly as you know it, once that first ultrasound comes back.

I know that for me, my first encounter with Feminism as the *F-word, was in the military during the height of the Femi-Nazi crap oozing from the radio. There was a tremendous amount of hostility towards women, any who wore the uniform were considered Feminists regardless of their actual views on this particular *ism.  This happened because women and those who were actually Feminists were demanding that certain needs be met. Silly things like human rights, and civil rights, and equal rights and pay and stuff--not big things apparently but important to them [note sarcasm]. So the best way to shut them up and to shut them out was to turn them into *dangerous deviants.

And we all know that dangerous deviants don't have children, they eat children.

Feminists were already deviant in the technical sense of the word, meaning that they--we were/are breaking away from society's expected roles for women, and redefining what being female and what being a woman means. And now, some of us are also redefining and reclaiming pregnancy, birthing and motherhood on our own terms as well.

Those Feminists in the past, were deviating from the norm. But to make them truly dangerous, well that would explain the integration of words like "Nazi," [as in Femi-Nazi]; that is why certain televangelists feel compelled to label them as man-hating, baby-eating harridans who want to do away with the male gender entirely, and live in a utopian commune,  in some massive matriarchal sisterhood. Like some of the scarier Amazon queens or like alien-bee-hives. You know how it goes-- we just keep [a few] men around as walking sperm banks--while some female version of Ming the Merciless rules the planet for nefarious purposes--purposes that can only be decoded by modern biblical occultists on late night religious programming.

And if you believe that, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

I just thought it was nice to see someone actually asking the questions, as in actually asking the women, instead convening an all male, he-man-woman-hater's panel, in a dark, dank basement somewhere in the beltway, to discuss our "issues".  

I have wondered for a long time, why women would, or do allow the least credible sources define Feminism or motherhood or womanhood?

Why allow Feminists to frame their own notion of feminism, when we can let religious extremists do it for us?

Why let mothers define mothering for you, when you can ask a man?

Or we could just accept that when women become mothers, they have their own way of being that mother, of playing that role and fulfilling their duties. Their methods will reflect a combination of their own cultural conditioning, how they were mothered and the goals they believe are important in parenting.

Feminism right now, is still about a major, cultural, paradigm shift. And so parenting choices would be a big part of bringing about the change we want to see in society.

Once again, all these stereotypes being perpetuated by pundits of hate, or by those who wish to profit from the real life dramas of raising a family. It's never easy, you always worry, but we don't have to add grossly, inaccurate assumptions to our list of things to endure any more.

 It has always stumped me when seemingly rational adults, swallow the propaganda that perpetuates such silly stereotypes about women, feminists, or mothers.

Can't we just be parents that support each other as parents? My Feminism is about the fight for equal rights. That I want access to family planning information and services, doesn't mean I hate children. And my desire for human rights and civil rights, isn't an affirmation of a hatred of men. My desire for equal pay isn't a declaration of a hatred for America or capitalism. And my desire to live a life, larger than a shallow assumption based on a strict, 2-dimensional, gender role is an affirmation of my ideal of womanhood and motherhood.

I am larger and more complex than the space this society made for me. And I am fairly certain that could be a truthful statement regarding just about anyone.

Originally posted to GreenMother on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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