Motherhood is something only women can do. Motherhood should be a choice, and is not right for all women, and no woman should ever be forced in to motherhood.
Motherhood is also a female only experience, motherhood is also the foundation of our society because we could not exist without mothers.
We have been taught since our girlhoods that motherhood is submission, motherhood is to live a life in chains, that motherhood makes you property. Our society hates single mothers, shames them, and works in every way to destroy their lives.
Why can’t women own motherhood?
Motherhood by all rights should be the domain of women. We need to take motherhood back from the patriarchy.
“Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else’s. As a kid growing up with books and films and stories instead of friends, that was always the narrative injustice that upset me more than anything else. I felt it sometimes like a sharp pain under the ribcage, the kind of chest pain that lasts for minutes and hours and might be nothing at all or might mean you’re slowly dying of something mundane and awful. It’s a feeling that hit when I understood how few girls got to go on adventures. I started reading science fiction and fantasy long before Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, before mainstream female leads very occasionally got more at the end of the story than together with the protagonist. Sure, there were tomboys and bad girls, but they were freaks and were usually killed off or married off quickly. Lady hobbits didn’t bring the ring to Mordor. They stayed at home in the shire.”
r.i.p. ann rule…a truly outstanding true crime writer…
“i want to warn potential victims. many of them are women, and many of them are battered women. it’s a cause for me. when i look back, though, so many of the books i’ve written are about wives who just couldn’t get away.”
It’s hard to come to any other conclusion after reading the crazy statistics coming out of Colorado, which just emerged from a public health experiment which consisted of giving more than 30,000 women free, long-acting birth control at health clinics throughout the state over a period of six years.
Between 2009 and 2015, “teen births dropped 40 percent, abortions fell 35 percent and the state avoided more than $80 million in Medicaid costs,” according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.
This is Your Weekly Female Empowerment and Social Awareness Post
~ Why representation matters
Alright, so its not quite weekly. its been a little while, but give me a break! I’m back! In case you all need a reminder, this post is part of a series in which I use this platform, and the voice I’m lucky enough to have, to draw attention to issues that are important to me. In the past I’ve posted about modern feminism, societal pressures, and body acceptance/celebration. (Check those posts out by clicking on the bold words).
This week the theme is all about representation. This post is actually inspired by my Dad, I happen to be writing it on Father’s Day. So in advance, I love you Dad! Even if we don’t always agree :) On my recent visit home I had the pleasure of getting to see all of the family and family friends I used to see on the regular when I lived in Idaho. After my little sister’s graduation party there was a bunch of us sitting on the deck, I don’t know how exactly it was brought up, but I mentioned that Wonder Women not only has significantly less toys and actions figures available at Walmart, but also that the character is sexualized in all of them. My Dad exclaimed something along the lines of “who cares? its a movie! they are toys!” Which obviously I took issue with. This made me realize that a lot of people may not be aware of how detrimental little nuances like this are.
This can be broken down into several categories. As a minority women, representation of women of color in the media is especially important to me, but as a whole, greater representation of women in general is extremely important. I chose the above photos of beautiful brown little girls because they are whom this post is really for. Representation matters because I want my future little girls to grow up seeing women that look like her that are beautiful, I want my little girl to grow up seeing strong female role-models in all areas of her life, not just her amazing mother (aka future me), but also the women we surround ourselves with, women in the media, and women in positions of power.
If you need specific examples of what I mean, lets take Angelica Sweeting’s project “Naturally Perfect Dolls.” Sweeting came up with the idea when her little girl told her that she wanted blonde, straight, hair and blue eyes, just like her Barbie. That hearbreaking exchange inspired Sweeting to create “The Angelica Doll.” Similar to an American Girl Doll, this figure is lifelike and features natural curly hair, a wider nose, and fuller lips: beautiful, just like Sweeting’s daughter. Sweeting realized something that not everyone else has: telling your daughter she is beautiful does not a lifetime of high self esteem make. Further, surrounding her with beautiful women that look like her and are amazing roll models, is still not enough! Sure, it is a great stuff, but the power of her Barbie Doll can’t be ignored. Society has decided that lighter skin is ideal, and even within minority communities that idea can be reinforced.
On a more general level, we just need more women in different rolls altogether. I’m not just talking about what I normally rant on and on about, the disproportionate number of women in high powered business positions and politcal office, I’m talking about actresses in Hollywood too. Obviously there are roles in movies for women, but there are way less opportunities for a woman to play a bad ass in comparison to say, Brad Pitt. Then, even when a woman does get that role, she is so sexified, its atrocious. This is true almost everywhere, not only do girls get baking sets when boys get play tool sets, the dolls they receive are already enforcing ridiculous beauty standards, and idealize women that are thin and fair skinned.
This stuff is important! Its important for the girls in the photos and its important for our future daughters. I want my future little girl to feel beautiful and like she can do anything, and I know that telling her all of that is only the first step. Representation matters.
In case you can’t watch the video, it states that in the year 2020, (the centennial of women’s suffrage) the Treasury plans to introduce a new $10 bill with a woman on it. You can vote for who will be on the new bill by using the hashtag #thenew10; so far a lot of people have been voting for Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Susan B Anthony, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
I was looking up some stuff to see if i could find the Sacajawea dollar after seeing this post, and I found this video on CNN’s website. The full article can be found here.
This is the first I’ve heard of this, and it’s pretty exciting to me, so I thought I’d share it with you guys. You can find more info on the whole thing here.
I’m personally rooting for Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks because not only will she be the first woman on a bill since 1896 (Martha Washington was on the silver certificate) BUT she will also be the first person of color on a bill since the Pocahontas bill (last issued in 1869)!
Although Nicki later claimed nothing she said had anything to do with Taylor Swift, I couldn’t help but think of Taylor’s Instagram post above a few days prior. She often brings her #squad onstage with her during shows, which happens to include talented, successful women…who all embody a very similar physical type. It wasn’t until Lena Dunham popped up onstage next to them in this photo that I realized something may be off here.
After embracing feminism thanks to Lena Dunham, Taylor has been ponied as the fairy godmother of modern feminism. She surrounds herself with positive female energy, supports her friends in their careers, and ultimately proved our mothers right by not finding true love until she was happy with who she was. She is a girlpower evangelist, preaching to her fans that they are better than their mistakes and boys who don’t call them back. Great messages all around, but somewhere along the way, Taylor Swift went from being relatable to aspirational. And frankly, it’s not her job to be relatable to us. Her job is to inspire us to give her money by moving records and selling out stadiums. (I don’t know about you, but the most I’ve ever filled up a room for my work was five people at a short fiction reading, and two of them were the parents of another presenter.) She is tall, thin, white, and from a wealthy family, all characteristics we’ve been groomed to synonymize with “desirable” and “successful.” What a better way to make us want to be her, not just friends with her? What a better way for us to view her as our fearless leader?
It is important, and inevitable, to note here that Taylor had no say in her genetics or family welfare. “It’s not her fault that she’s beautiful!” you scream. And that’s true. But with privilege comes responsibility, whether we like it or not. I’m a white woman with a college degree. I’m automatically privileged. I’m not going to stand on my Tumblr soapbox and insist that my life is equally difficult for those not as privileged, or that it’s not my fault that I’m white. In the words of Roxane Gay (who I will always quote, now and forever, amen):
“To have privilege in one or more areas does not mean you are wholly privileged. To acknowledge privilege is not a denial of the ways you are marginalized, the ways you have suffered. Surrendering to the acceptance of privilege is difficult but it is really all that is expected…
You could, however, use that privilege for the greater good–to try to level the playing field for everyone, to work for social justice, to bring attention to how those without certain privileges are disenfranchised. While you don’t have to do anything with your privilege, perhaps it should be an imperative of privilege to share the benefits of that privilege rather than hoard your good fortune. We’ve seen what the hoarding of privilege has done and the results are shameful.
I’m a perpetrator of White Feminism. You could say femCurrent itself has been a White Feminist platform. We haven’t ever featured writing by a WoC, and race thus far has been a non-issue. This needs to change, immediately, and we’re aware of it. That’s not excuse, and maybe that’s the case with Taylor too. Maybe she’s still figuring feminism out. Maybe it wasn’t on purpose. She did acknowledge her mistake and apologize. But that’s the danger - Taylor Swift commands a global platform. Celebrities are not politicians or orators or scholars, yet we expect the same expertise from them. We mimic their words, actions, and the glimpse of lifestyle they allow us on social media.
I like Taylor Swift. I bought “1989″ and played it over and over until my permanent roommate wanted to kill me. Her cats are really cute. And she is really, really good at her job. She’s gradually included WoC friends in her rotation. But millions of women and young girls who aren’t fully aware of feminism will receive their feminist “education” through Taylor Swift. They’ll embrace her as their feminist role model. They will believe feminism is celebrating girlfriends, telling each other to “Stay strong! <3,” and buying your own place in New York City. Yes, feminism encompasses all those things, but they may not realize it can be so much more. They will believe feminism is easy. They will tattoo Taylor Swift lyrics on their arms. They will be blinded by her privilege.