If Missing out on Motherhood is a “Result” of “Fanatical Feminism” Has Anything Changed?

Hello folks,

Blogging about the life Childfree hasn’t really been at the top of my agenda for the past few months. There just hasn’t been the time. My dancing school is growing and is more and more fun and to be frank I don’t have that much time to think about child free-ness. But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten any of you… and I hope you’re all doing well. I’m amazed that my blog still gets so much traffic, pleased as well since there are always people new to being childfree who wonder if they’ve landed from another planet when they meet all the opposition to being childfree.

I have to say (again) that finding an activity where most of the people are single is a great way to meet other childfree people. And of course dancing is right up there… not only because so many are single (we do have couples too) but because it actually helps build confidence – on and off the dance floor. You need confidence to stick to the path that is for you. When most of the world would have you think your path heads off into oblivion you need confidence and a good dose of courage and the determination to find like-minded folk.

But anyway, enough about dancing for now. I came across this article on my Facebook and thought it was an interesting one to share.

How a Mothers Fanatical Feminist Views Tore Apart Daughter of the Color Purple Author

I wanted to start by writing my own views, but I reconsidered and thought I’d throw it open to anyone who wanted to comment first. The first thing that struck me was the undertone (or is overtone?) of deep resentment. Understandable perhaps.

The next thing that I noticed was there would be absolutely no understanding or acceptance of being childfree, or even how anyone could want to be childfree. Does anyone else think that?

Of course, reading this with my childfree lenses on it may come across more strongly than, say to a mother. However I think it’s still interesting, more so to me than childfree seats on airlines or how the childfree should get along with the childed. I’m not a feminist and I know that being childfree doesn’t necessarily mean being a feminist.

If you feel moved to, add your comments – for new commentators please read the commenting policy. We’re to the point but polite on this blog so if that’s going to be a challenge best not to comment.

I note the Daily Mail isn’t accepting any comments on the article at all. I’ve left the full link below.


35 thoughts on “If Missing out on Motherhood is a “Result” of “Fanatical Feminism” Has Anything Changed?

  1. childfreeisthewaytobe

    I found this article to be very sad. As an ardent feminist, I feel that the femenist movement and the understanding of what feminism is has been completely lost. To me, I believe that to be a feminist is to believe that women have the right to choose how to live their lives, and whatever they choose to do, they should be supported in that. But based on this article and lots of feminist ideology out there, it has turned into yet another list of rules about how women “should” live. But then I feel that at the end of the article Rebecca kind of jumps on that bandwagon too, giving into the old stereotype that all women “really” do want to have children, and those who don’t will waste away in misery once it’s “too late”.

    The main message, which is missing, is that one person’s dream life might be another person’s hellish nightmare. But then again isn’t this common sense? Whatever happened to plain old maturity, knowing that what is right for you may not be right for someone else?

    1. Britgirl Post author

      Good points. It is all about choice. It is still very ood to me to find women or anyone for that matter insisting that because they wanted to have children (no matter what the reason) every other woman must want to have kids too. It’s very closed minded. The writers own childhood is proof of that.

  2. Mia

    Indeed dancing is a good way to gain some confidence and also to become fit :)I don’t know why but i love the dancing shoes, they look great.

    Anyway, regarding your question, Yes, there’s no understanding when it comes to being childfree, but this is not the worst part. The worst part is when people try to convert you and give you the “classic” arguments, such as: who is going to take care of you when you’ll be old?

    Feminist or not, I think that every man/woman has the right to make his/her own choices.

    1. Britgirl Post author

      Dancing shoes are fun Mia… and practical :) they make all the difference to your dancing. I have several. Anyway, I agree – everyone has the right to make their own choice. It’s funny that groups evolve to supposedly give people choice only for some of them to promptly turn around and seemingly deny that choice to the same people they purportedly aimed to help. Bizarre.

    1. Britgirl Post author

      Well Mrs Jones, if I wish to not call myself a feminist it is my CHOICE to say this. You’ll just have to remain baffled. To say if you do this then then you ARE that smacks of enforcing your particular views on others. And neither I nor anyone else has to justify anything to anyone… least of all you… so I suggest you simply let people decide what they are… or are not.

      1. Canaduck

        I’m confused too. What is it about being called a feminist that bothers you so much? Have you fallen for the “feminists are man-haters who don’t shave or wear make-up or dress pretty” lie or have you just been snookered by all the negative “feminazi” stuff? Mrs Jones probably wasn’t trying to be rude. She was just surprised, as I am, that someone who clearly believes in equality between the sexes would put down feminism.

        You’re absolutely right that no one can tell you what you are or aren’t. Just know that when you say that you’re not a feminist, you’re also saying that you don’t believe that women and men should be treated equally. You’re saying that women shouldn’t have control over their own reproductive systems, their money, or their property. You’re also saying that there’s nothing wrong with women being paid less than men, or refused education simply because of their gender. You’re saying we don’t need to vote, that our husbands have a right to beat us because we’re owned by them. But you’re right, that’s absolutely your choice and no one else’s. I really would suggest reading the link that Mrs Jones provided, though, because I suspect that an open-minded and intelligent individual like yourself would probably get a lot out of it.

  3. Beth

    It seems many people fall into one of two camps about their childhood experience; you either loved it and want to duplicate it or were unhappy and purposely striving to create something different. I think it’s perfectly understandable that someone deprived of parental love would want so much to give someone what she always wanted. This woman sounds like a fabulous mother, but it’s sad that she doesn’t see that motherhood is not for every woman.

    It is selfish to have a child and not properly care for and love him or her, but if you know being a parent is not for you, the unselfish act is to choose to not to have children.

  4. Jenn

    I will admit to not reading the ENTIRE article, about half of it… but it seems to me that this woman has wildly misplaced the blame here. She shouldn’t be blaming the feminist movement for snatching her mother away from her… she should be blaming her mother for not having the basic sense of responsibility to properly nurture her, OR realize “you know what? I’m not interested in motherhood,” and not have a child, or give her child up for adoption. You can be a feminist and a mother simultaneously, but it’s irresponsible to have a child and then go, “meh, whatever, I’m going over here.”

    I also agree with the first commenter–the point of the feminist movement isn’t to say “You want me in the kitchen? Well, screw you, I’m traveling the world!” Feminism doesn’t mean rejecting the traditional role of the woman as mother, homemaker, etc., it means having a choice between the kitchen and the globe. It means no one thinks twice when you decide to leave the workforce and marry and procreate, you had a menu in front of you and that’s what you chose. Feminism is the existence of the menu, not what you select off of it.

    Maybe when feminism first started gaining traction, it felt freeing for women to swing hard in the opposite direction; it’s sad that the author of this article felt compelled to personify an entire civil rights movement as that of a neglectful mother.

    1. Blupheonix

      Google “alice walker” the author of The color purple.
      Ardent feminist. worlds worst mother (next to Joan Collins)….

  5. Jenn

    Also, you know what? I have an alcoholic father. He’s short-fused, immature, petty, argumentative, closed-minded, not terribly intelligent and nearly impossible to relate to. It sucks that I can’t have a quality relationship with my father. It sucks that I’ve never known what it’s like to have a “daddy.” But that’s my dad’s fault. It’s not alcohol’s. I drink. I drink pretty regularly, in fact. But I know how to be a decent human being at the same time. I get the hurt and the anger that comes with feeling like you’ve been robbed of a parent. But it is what it is. You put blame where it belongs, and more importantly, you get on with your life.

  6. Rebecca

    It did seem to me as though there was no room for the choice to be childfree in this article/in the author’s mind. I think she errs in using such a broad brush to paint all feminists one way or the other, and all women as secretly longing to be mothers if only they would block out the voice of feminism telling them they don’t. As the first commenter stated, feminism is about choice – and it’s sad that this author doesn’t recognize that a woman has a right to choose child-freedom as she does motherhood.

  7. Rebecca

    PS – I noticed that the article was written in 2008; that’s probably why comments are closed at the Daily Mail website.

    1. Britgirl Post author

      I looked at that too… but there didn’t seem to be any comments in the first place. usually there are some even if comments are closed. Perhaps they deleted them.

  8. flamencokitty

    This article just goes to show what happens when people who aren’t crazy about the idea of parenting have kids anyway. The results are quite disastrous, particularly for the child. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a mother that (from the sound of the article) doesn’t give a crap about you.

    On the other hand, Ms. Walker, you’re 38 years old. You have a partner, a kid, this apparently wonderful life. Move on! Stop chasing after someone who clearly doesn’t want to be in your life. And stop blaming feminism for what your mom did.

    Alice Walker was a bad mother. We get it. So was Lucille Ball, so were many other women who made significant contributions to their field, to the world. Her bad job as a mother doesn’t negate the rest of the good she did. I can’t count how many people consider “The Color Purple” their favorite book or movie. She has added so much to the discussion of race, feminism, etc. Yes, she sacrificed a relationship with you, but she has changed hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Instead of complaining about how your mom rejected you, why not be grateful for all the other “mothers” who were in your life, who did for you what she didn’t do? You are living proof that “it takes a village to raise a child.” How blessed you were to have had other mothers to raise you.

    She’s not the first mother to leave the raising of her kid to someone else, btw. Look at all the rich women who have had nannies, governesses, nurses…

    1. Britgirl Post author

      Alice Walker was an influential woman who probably should never have had children. And as people have said she should probably never have had children – it is an excellent example if one was needed of how one shouldn’t have them if you don’t want them 100%. Yes, she was on the extreme end.

      But I don’t see that her daughter wanted for anything – as neglected kids go she did pretty well, considering. And she now has a partner and great life and a child, seemingly everything she’s wanted. She says she is over what her mother did (or rather didn’t) do but I don’t think she is really. She needs to move on and be grateful for what she does have rather than what she never had. The longer she goes on blaming her mother, the longer the resentment is sticking around.

      As as for blaming feminism… that’s like saying women don’t have the brains to make their own minds up about their own choices.

    2. Blupheonix

      LMAO! Just like I was saying in an above post…. Alice Walker, portrait of a shitty mother…

  9. Brigitte

    well surely she realises that she is proof that some people should not have children. I do genuinely feel sorry for her and her experience but it would be the extreme end of the scale, so perhaps thats why she has an unbalanced view of the world. I am happy to call myself a feminist and yes that has nothing to do with the issue it is not to blame. Her mother simply did not take responsibility for her child really. I do believe it has some impact on her mothers message to the world. Whilst she has had an impact on other peoples lives it does not cancel out what she has done. She owed her primary care to her child as much as she owed the rest of the world.

  10. Lisa

    From the way she is described in this article, it sounds like Alice Walker has an undiagnosed (narcissistic?) personality disorder. Her treatment of her daughter had nothing to do with a skewed vision of feminism.

  11. Brigitte

    Lisa, i was thinking the exact same thing. She certainly sounds like she has some sort of personality disorder. Her apparent coldness towards her daughter is disturbing.

  12. Aspgirl

    Mrs. Jones

    Actually I believe the correct definition of “feminist” is someone who believes that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. If you, like me, believe that both sexes should be treated equally, I think a more appropriate term would be “humanist”. The reason I do not consider myself a feminist is that I no longer feel this is simply an issue of women’s liberation. I think that, by now, it is just as much an issue of men’s rights.

    Example 1: Why do men so rarely get custody in divorces unless the mother is in jail? Why are we still so willing to assume that men are automatically less suitable than women to take care of children?

    Example 2: Female student has sex with male teacher = PEDOPHILE!! BURN HIM AT THE STAKE!!!!!!!
    Male student has sex with female teacher = What a lucky little brat that was!

    By the way, I read the article you linked. It didn’t impress me. You can keep insisting that I really am a feminist, but it is not very convincing.

  13. childfreelife

    I met Alice Walker once, she was doing a reading. She really isn’t a very nice person and the picture her daughter paints of her matches what I understood of her. It won’t change the fact that the secret of joy was a book that changed my life and made so many people aware of female genital mutilation in Africa.

    I think that forcing someone to label themselves as a feminist or not is a little selfish. But as a humanist, I think you have many things in common with the feminists, and your blog itself is a testament to this. Perhaps feminism itself is not as urgent an issue anymore in the first world, and lately it seems to have morphed into mommyism, in that all mothers believe that they should get more benefits for less career ambition. However, feminism is still a vital issue in third world countries–and humanism of course would be in league with many of the same goals internationally.

  14. Sebastyn

    My wild guess, like was already mentioned: Narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve never heard of her before, but the way the daughter speaks of her, especially the part of refusing to step out of lime light and need to compete with her daughter, complete ignorance of the needs of her own child compared to those who give more shine to her halo etc. That’s just not normal.
    I understand the daughter’s resentment. She has every right to feel resentment. She was probably been given birth only to give some weight to her mother’s words that children are enslaving and what not – if she wasn’t a mother, how could she tell? So she had to have one just to prove a point. Also, the daughter has no reason to think any normal woman would not want to have children. All her life she’s been following a freak show, and as she nearly didn’t become a mother because of feminism, of course she thinks women who choose not to have children have the same motivation behind their decision. Normal. What is not normal is her mother…

    1. Britgirl Post author

      I’m yet to find any family that’s totally functional… most are more than a little dsyfunctional, that seems to be the way families are. And since we can’t pick our parents or siblings we’re stuck with what we get. I think the daughter does have a right to feel resentment and if fuels articles like this however it’s inevitably destructive. She needs to move on, if only for the sake of her own child and partner.
      How many people have “bad” parents? Many. Alice Walker happens to be a famous “bad parent.” Not saying what she did was right… it certainly wasn’t and she should probably never have had kids if she had no interest in mothering them. It would be interesting to hear AW’s side of the story, bearing in mind there are always 3 sides, the two side and the truth. But I don’t doubt that feminism viewed by Alice Walker was incompatible with having children.

  15. Anne-Marie

    I find it somewhat strange that Alice Walker described motherhood as enslavement and then volunteered herself for it. Shouldn’t awareness give you the wisdom not to go down a road you don’t think will be a good one? In reality, she birthed a child and did not actually mother her- she certainly never felt trapped or guilted into any kind of devotion, by the descriptions given by her daughter. It is not unusual for children to rebel by doing the opposite of what they blame their parents for, and so it’s no surprise that a daughter who was emotionally neglected has sought redemption through motherhood. I remember Madonna saying somewhere that having her daughter was the first point of healing for the loss of her own mother when she was young.

  16. Xena

    To me, this is more proof that feminism has not gone nearly far enough. I mean, would we be having this conversation if it was say Albert, instead of Alice, Walker?

  17. Livken

    This feminism vs humanism debate is fascinating; now I honestly don’t know which one I am. But if we find ourselves judging Alice Walker differently (more harshly?) because she is a woman then I don’t think we can call ourselves either. To me the crux of it is that we often don’t allow women to simply BE – that is, human. We judge men but we don’t put the burden of ‘should’ on them nearly as often. They simply are what they are – to me that is THE definition of a human being. Whereas a woman is nothing but the estimation of her nearness to some nebulous, ever-changing ‘ideal’, probably encapsulated in a role/label, like ‘mother’. I don’t care what this ideal is or who invents it, we dehumanise women when we do this.

  18. Patster

    I felt the article also showed that you cannot force your own beliefs and opinions on your children. You may wish them to grow up to be childfree, religious or vegatarian for example but at the end of the day they are their own people and should be free from indoctrination of any kind.

  19. Kris

    I feel for any kid whose parents are as disinterested as Alice Walker’s, but to me, it’s not an arguement for having them (as Rebecca seems to make), but for knowing when it’s not for you. Seems like Alice should have opted out; maybe today she would have felt like she could.

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  21. Rosie

    “But I honestly believe it’s time to puncture the myth and to reveal what life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution.”
    The author confuses her mother with the whole feminist movement. I was “raised” also by a selfish and abusive mother, but don’t blame that on the entire stay-at-home-mum population.

    “Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.”
    If that were true, there wouldn’t be any people left in the Western world, would it? Again, the author extends a single person’s experience to that of an entire generation.

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