Last week I had the opportunity to sit on a Feminist Mothering Panel as part of Minnesota State Mankato’s diversity week festivities.
So what makes me a feminist? I am a feminist because I see the privilege I am afforded through no effort of my own. I am white. I am upper middle class, (not because of my salary, but because of my husband’s). I have the legal right to be married and all of the rights that this country bestows on me. I have kids who are well suited for school and public situations. Some nurture perhaps, but they are biologically and chemically able to be compatible with the social norms and structure. I was raised well, with a mother and a father who really wanted me and really supported me to become who I was intended to be. I have a husband who is not abusive or addicted. I have the ability to learn and have used that ability to obtain a good education. I am mentally stable and have never suffered with any of the mental disorders or struggles that plague many. And I didn’t DO anything to get these gifts. I didn’t throw them away, I have used what I’ve been given, but they were mine for the taking. I am a feminist because I realize the fact that this uneven playing field exists. I realize where I am starting on the journey of motherhood and that many, many mothers are struggling to just make it to my starting line.
This may not be the definition for every feminist or every feminist mother, but I think having the opportunity to define feminism is one of the most inalienable rights that the women’s movement have given us. Labels are somewhat necessary, but instead of just slapping the label on, I challenge everyone to explore how they define the label and how the label fits into their life and experience.