By: Alexis Chapman
What is a feminist? What does a feminist believe? What is the Motherhood Movement & Why do I want to be a part of it? I don’t have children am I even qualified? What qualifications do I have to be part of this movement & where is the Feminism 101 book? What resources are online & what is legit? Shouldn’t knowing who Susan B. Anthony is be enough? Who the heck is Mary Wollstonecraft? Didn’t that have something to do with Frankenstein?
These are some of the questions that ran through my mind when I began this journey a month before Mother’s Day. I decided, out of the blue, to contact Joy Rose and offer social media services to the Motherhood Movement. Sure, I knew what I was doing eyeroll or at least I would figure it out as I went along. “I empower you to make these decisions” said Joy, “Oh great” I thought, can’t you just tell me what I am supposed to believe and exactly what you want put on twitter facebook, a blog and a newsletter. Nope, didn’t work like that. So I, not a mother, 33 years old, not really having a clue as to what a feminist was and what the motherhood movement entailed, decided to take a journey.
First stop, library. With a copy of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan I figured I was in business. Second stop, Half Price Books, with the suggestion that The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts is a good read, along with Women and Madness and Ms. Magazine I thought I was in business. Third stop, Barnes & Noble copies of The Mommy Myth by Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels, Born for Liberty by Sara M. Evans, The Essential Feminist Reader Estelle B. Freedman, The Feminist Promise Christine Stansell and Bitch Magazine. I sat down and attempted to muddle my way through theory and retrospective.
I popped in a copy of You Say You Want a Revolution film by Joy Rose, grabbed some popcorn and then found myself rather confused. With so much information before me, yet no real beginning point or structure, I still wasn’t sure what I was supposed to believe. Then it hit me, there aren’t any set rules. There isn’t an Idiots Guide to Feminism. My journey had begun & I hadn’t even realized it. It began with the awareness that I was able to find books at all, that there was printed information that I was allowed & permitted to have access to without someone telling me “no”. At 33 I have been taking many things for granted, not realizing the battles that my foremothers had to go through just so that actually had the option of looking at a Women’s Studies section at a Barnes & Nobel. I am able to be part of the Motherhood Movement, even though I am not a biological mother. I have the freedom to express my opinions via a blog without government telling me that I don’t have permission, or censoring what I write. I have the freedom to be single, make my own money, choose to not have children and choose how I wish to spend my time. I have privilege as a Caucasian woman that I didn’t even realize I had.
As I begin to explore how media has influenced the appearance of Mother’s, and as I begin to explore the power of my foremothers and learn about the Suffragette movement. As I begin to realize how honored and blessed I am to be part of the journey of the physical manifestation of a museum of motherhood I can also reflect on the great strides that have been made over the past 50 years. I am beginning to appreciate my grandmothers and my mother in an entirely different light.
I am beginning to appreciate the fact that my 2 sisters and I have had a choice, a choice to be educated and a choice as to how we live our lives, with the support of parents who have never placed a societal moray of what a woman should be on us. Wow. This is a journey of a feminist, this is my journey. I invite you to tag along as I explore a Herstory that I have taken for granted, a Herstory that I didn’t know existed, a Herstory that I reaped the benefits of and a Herstory that I am a part of.
By: Stephanie Lormand
Since the onset of the women’s movement, sexual freedom—prompted in large part by the ability for women to control their own reproductivity with hormonal birth control—has become a banner which many women wave proudly. In theory women were no longer laying awake after an unsatisfying encounter with their now-snoring husbands. In essence, the dissatisfying sexual relationships of my grandmother’s era were to be replaced by mutually enjoyable experiences between consenting partners. Right?
Wrong. A survey conducted by the American Medical Association in 1999 indicates that sexual dysfunction affects approximately 43% of women in the United States (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/281/6/537). In general, data related to sexual dysfunction, especially for women, are limited. The medical and pharmacological communities have made strides in treating this problem—for men—who hasn’t seen the commercial of a loving couple in side by side bathtubs gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes? And for the heterosexual women whose dissatisfaction stemmed from a problem with their partner, this is great news.
Well, what about the rest of us? Specifically, what happens to a woman with normal function after they have children? I know very few women who jump back into their normal relationships after they have given birth. Is it all related to body image? After all, the end result of carrying a child for 10 months is not kind for many of us (no accounting for awesome genetics, personal trainers and babysitters; though I am super jealous of all of you, too.) Is it all mental—the transition to a sexual being after fulfilling that mother role all day? Is it physiological—the result of decreased blood flow or other vaginal changes as the result of getting aforementioned baby out of one’s body? Or—more likely—is it a combination of the three?
Stephanie Lormand is currently a stay at home mom to two sons—3.5 and 18 months old—aka the Small People. In her previous life she coordinated a very specific component of clinical trials which afforded her the experience of dealing with super-egos, tantrums, and uber picky people. She was shocked to learn how applicable her work experience would be in the dealings and negotiations with the Small People. In addition to being a successful ADHD Mom, she is a failed housekeeper, a budding gardener, a novice blogger (www.scattermom.com), and a novice crafter.