I wondered on the Facebook why Dr. Bialik would say feminist society doesn’t value surrendering yourself to the needs of your child. I had thought, as a feminist, that I did value that. I surrender to the needs of my kiddos every day of my life, happily. The owner of the page and blog pointed me in the direction of a post she wrote last year, called “Feminism v. Mothering.” It’s sort of a summary of what the first wave of feminism fought for, and how she feels the second wave (Betty Friedan, etc) got it wrong. Instead of pushing to have mothering valued in a significant way to society, the second wave of feminists devalued motherhood by eschewing family for career:
The crux of the modern-day feminist movement has been to fight for women to have the chance to make it equally in what they themselves have called the patriarchal society. By doing this, they have placed immense value on the traditional work of men, making it the pinnacle of success and fulfillment in life. Indeed, according to these feminists, the only way women can be fulfilled is to pursue one of these masculine endeavors; to not do so leads to depression and resentment.
See, I just don’t think that’s right. I think, in this—what, third?—wave of feminism, us feminists are trying to be inclusive, not divisive. I see us opening our circles to respect choices. One of my favorite bloggers, The Feminist Breeder, is a perfect example. She chose her blog name very purposefully, because she believes that choosing to be a mother is valuable and fulfilling. I agree. Being a feminist today does not mean you have to give up having a family. It does not mean you have to give up having a career. It does not mean you have to “do it all.” It means you get to do what you want to do, and other feminists will respect your choices, regardless of whether they would make the same choices in your position. That’s what feminism is all about to me—choice. I want to be a great mother, a great writer, a great medical transcriptionist, and a great wife. And I fail every day at something; but even if I chose just one of those things to be, I’d still fail every day, a little. Because I am just one woman, one feminist, one mother, trying like hell to raise these little people to be solid grownups, and trying like hell to be a solid grownup myself.