Re: 'Motherhood Reconceiv

File Name: 0012.FEM

  Msg#: 745                                          Date: 06-29-98  17:53
  From: Donna.                                       Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Re: 'Motherhood Reconceiv
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From: "Donna." 
Reply-To: "Donna." 

> Published by (June, 1998)
> Lauri Umansky.  _Motherhood Reconceived:  Feminism and the
> Legacies of the Sixties_.  New York:  New York University Press,
> 1996.  x + 262 pp.  Bibliography and index.  $45.00 (cloth),
> ISBN 0-8147-8562-X; $17.95 (paper), ISBN 0-8147-8561-1.
> Reviewed for H-Women by James Seymour ,
> Texas A&M University, Kingsville


> Umansky challenges the critics of feminism who 
> maintain the women's movement denigrated mothers.  


> Regardless of 
> these minor quibbles, Lauri Umansky has contributed an important 
> work to the understanding of modern feminist theory and the use of 
> motherhood in feminist writing.

What I have always found most amazing about the claim that feminism
denigrates motherhood is the fact that, if you talk with CHILDFREE female
feminists, almost to a woman we have often struggled with feelings of
betrayal, belittlement, and just in general being ignored by the
quote-unquote "movement".  While some childfree people of both sexes are
in fact running away from children and/or the responsibility of caring for
them, and others are concerned about population growth (although many
people concerned about population growth choose to adopt already-living
children rather than remain childfree), I feel safe in saying that the
vast majority of childfree individuals simply have felt no valid reason TO
become parents.  That is, for most of us, it's a question of going down
our own paths, which coincidentally do not intersect with a path leading
us toward parenthood, rather than a question of =running away from= any
particular parenting ideology.

I do understand that many people grok only the "if not for then agin'" 
type of mentality (anybody here remember Bobby F.?), but it's interesting
that most attempts to explain the notion of living in the gray areas come
from philosophical rather than feminist writings. 

(And, just to head off this echo's historical trend, anybody bringing up
the "a-word" in response to this will be automatically outed as ignorant
of the feminist fight toward a-word protection, for -- outside the
occasional and expected exceptions to the rule -- it has always been done
within the context of "family planning" as opposed to an entire rejection
of the idea of having children at all.) 

That said, I do agree that the spectre of motherhood is what unites us all
as women, for it is the singular fact of our biological "mommy-making" 
plumbing which informs the sexism from which we suffer.  That the sexism
takes different forms as it travels across boundaries of race, class,
religion, geographical boundaries, and so forth, is merely an extra layer
which must be peeled before we can reach the center of the onion.

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