Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Motherhood = Social Activism

Ms. Magazine vol IV.
(not the issue containing the
motherhood article)
 Today I read a two-part article from one of my favorite online magazines and found it incredibly timely and thought-provoking. Ms. Magazine is a shaper of contemporary feminist consciousness, and has been since the "2nd Great Awakening" of feminist concerns in the 1970's. This magazine examines pop-culture and American journalism through a distinctly feminist lens and I find the publication insightful and pretty excellent almost all the time.

The article I read today was about the politically active and socially conscious mother. It was written by Natalie Wilson, a professor at Cal State San Marcos and mother of two. Read the article HERE. I promise, it's amazing and every woman should read it!

As some of you know, the "problem" of blending motherhood with academia/politics/social activism/feminism is something that has weighed on my mind for some time. On one hand, I think, motherhood should fit right in with a feminist praxis. After all, isn't motherhood one of the most expansive and creative roles a woman can have? On the other hand, I realize that the confusion and tension is natural for women brought up in a society that creates prescriptive binary distinctions between the roles men and women take on, and a woman's role "in the home" is almost never valued as the social activism that it is.

But a mother's role IS social activism! It's preparing young minds to take on the world with you! It's thinking outside the box...then deconstructing that box...then buiding up something new in its place! And it's doing these things regardless of the gender of your child. A socially active and conscious mother will raise her sons to be feminists, as well as her daughters.

I am pregnant with my first child--a boy. One of my foremost concerns is that he learn to be nurturing as well as assertive. Compassionate as well as discerning. I want him to know that it's not okay to hit girls, because it's not okay to hit anybody. And for goodness sake, I'm gonna let the kid play with dolls and fisher price kitchen sets if he darn well pleases! Seriously, people.

And I'm going to go back to school for my Masters. That's just how it's going to be.

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