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Daughter speaks out against famous mom's radical feminism

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posted on May, 11 2009 @ 12:53 AM
not exactly sure where this item should go, but I'm guessing "political ideology" is appropriate, given that feminism is most certainly an ideology and usually involves political under/overtones at the very least.

How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart

She's revered as a trail-blazing feminist and author Alice Walker touched the lives of a generation of women. A champion of women's rights, she has always argued that motherhood is a form of servitude. But one woman didn't buy in to Alice's beliefs - her daughter, Rebecca, 38.

Here the writer describes what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a cultural icon, and why she feels so blessed to be the sort of woman 64-year-old Alice despises - a mother.

Full article at source:

The woman, who is the daughter of the author of The Color Purple, describes the pain of feeling unwanted as a child of a radical feminist who eschewed the traditional role of woman as mother and reveled in her literary fame instead. She also describes her own joy and fulfillment at taking on this role herself. An interesting Mother's Day read.

posted on May, 11 2009 @ 01:46 AM
Good read and once again shows how any type of extreme is bad. There has to be balance.

Extreme is bad . always will be. always has been.

posted on May, 11 2009 @ 02:00 AM

Originally posted by LucidDreamer85
Good read and once again shows how any type of extreme is bad. There has to be balance.

Extreme is bad . always will be. always has been.


If you read the whole thing, I'm just utterly shocked at the cold way in which Alice Walker glossed over the announcement of her daughter's motherhood with that comment about gardening...and then to disown her like just seems so inhuman and repulsive. Although I must admit we are only hearing half the story here...there may be some bad blood between the two for some other reason that the daughter conveniently avoids mentioning...still...the woman comes across as cold as ice.

posted on May, 11 2009 @ 02:05 AM
Feminists did a great deal to widen the choices available to women.
We have more respect, better pay, more recourse to help when abused, and much more freedom.

As a student in the 50s/60s, I was not allowed to study science past year 10. No physics, calculus or chemistry for me, because I was female. The principal and my parents co-operated in preventing me taking those classes. There was no-one to help me, such discrimination was perfectly legal. Thus my urge to become a doctor went down the drain.

On leaving school I worked as a tracer. A tracer was a draftman's assistant. Women could not attend the drafting course, instead we had the much shorter tracing course, and ended up doing the same job for less than half the pay.

After my first pregnancy started showing I could no longer work as a tracer because of being a married women. There was also the notion that a pregnant body signified having had sex, and was therefore shameful, and must be hidden. Many places refused to employ married women. I pointed out that I was not married, but that only made things worse.

Alone, and pregnant, I tried to get work through the employment office. Their response to my queries about jobs they had displayed was, "Oh no, these are for workers". By workers, they meant men. The jobs for women were long hours, some 7am to 7pm, with wages far lower than the men's. However they refused to put me on their books or refer me to even one of those crap jobs at first, because I had turned up for my interview in a new woollen fashionable slacksuit. I had to go home and change into a dress before they would give me an interview.

After being abused and tricked out of pay by three different employers I got a job with Hanimex, in Sydney. There I worked on the factory floor for $30 a week, and wore dowdy clothing and a scarf over my fair hair to escape the attentions of the womanising supervisors, who were all male. If one of them took a fancy to you, you either screwed him when summoned to his office, or you lost your job. Annoyingly my speed, (trying to work fast was the only way to survive the monotony,) drew attention to me, and I had to leave.
There was nothing I could do legally about this in those days.

My landlord dropped in one day, a haggard old creep who smelled like Limburger, and offered me $1 a week off my rent if I agreed to screw him whenever he felt like it. Otherwise he would evict me. I knew of other women in the block who had felt they had no choice to agree, and promised him that we were all going to tell his wife if he kept this up. This worked, but if it hadn't, we'd have had no legal redress.

Even today, with our position in society so much better than it was, young women tend to be indoctrinated with the notion that looking nice and being nice is what they are to be judged on, while men tend to be judged on their achievements.

Not all women are cut out to be mothers.
I love mothering, but I'd hate it if that was all I could do.

I expect that if Alice Walker had not been working "fanatically" at Womens' Liberation she would have been working just as hard at something else. As it was, she, and others like her, have changed Western society to the extent that many will have trouble even imagining what it was like for a woman like me in the old days.

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 04:26 PM
reply to post by Kailassa

I can't for a moment imagine going through that, being as I'm male.

Alice Walker did good work, but at the cost of her very own daughter? Unforgivable, IMHO. All her daughter ever wanted was to be loved, and paid attention to, not too much to ask, again MHO.

There's no point in my apologizing for what you went through. We should be grateful that times are changing.

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:00 PM
I am a feminist. I appreciate the work to make sure I have options by my predescessors.

Under most systems where breeding is required and enforced, I agree that motherhood can be slavery. It is actually intended to be slavery often, as it is used to trap women into having no options and no redress for the lack. Often, you don't even have legal rights to your own body, vagina or uterus and their usage.

In North America, these rights for women did not exist IN MY LIFETIME and I am only in my thirties. Women could not be raped by their husbands. Therefore, if he decided you were having a baby, you were having a baby. Sure, you could divorce but if he managed to get one on you before that well too bad.

This is absolutely enforced subjugation.

WE now have all the rights that make this seem insane, when presented without the real environment of the past in mind.

My grandmother just died a couple of years ago and she was in her late 70s. One of her aunts was one of the Famous Five. All the same, when my grandfather decided that he needed the money from the farm (which today would be worth tens of millions of dollars) he sold it. Even though his name wasn't on it. Because he OWNED my grandmother and all of what she owned. She could not stop him, nor could she have sold it without his permission.

In the 80s, if your father decided that he wanted to have sex and your mother did not and if he decided to force her to wasn't rape. Because he could not rape your mother. If this resulted in pregnancy, in most places she could not have had an abortion. She could not have him charged under the law. She had no legal redress, because in being married she had no legal rights to stop him from forcing her to have sex.

Do you begin to see the problem here? That you think we are so very far away from barbarism. But *I* am only in my thirties, and I remember privileged, religious, white men on the TV news discussing how it was a terrible thing to make wife rape illegal, and how it was unfair to them. Men who were my father's age (and he is only now in his mid fifties) telling the world that if I married, I had less rights to my own vagina than my husband.

All the same, I disagree with the ladies actions. This is taking out your very reasonable problem with it on another who ALSO has no redress. The child. She has merely downstreamed her oppression by taking it out on someone even less protected by culture and law. That's unacceptable to me.

[edit on 2009/5/13 by Aeons]

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:10 PM
reply to post by Kailassa

Thanks so much for that terrific post, Kailassa. I do have to wonder if there is not something else going on between Rebbecca and her mother, Alice. Rebbecca states:

"The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother - thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman..."

Um....seems to me a bit of a stretch. Seems to me Rebbecca is very nearly giving her power away by seeing herself as a victim and blaming her mother for almost missing out??? It's pretty easy for a grown woman to tell her own mother to bug off. This kind of victimization is not exactly becoming.

I loved "Temple of My Familiar" - so much more interesting and hopeful than "The Color Purple".

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:53 PM
Just in case anyone is interested in a very high level account of women's rights as has been practiced over the world - that some people seem to think we should gladly accept.

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 02:16 PM
It's not too hard to be a good mother and be free to do what you want as well. You are a slave of your actions and their consequences, so of course you'd be a slave to your child.

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