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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Childless Feminist

A few weeks ago I posted a link to The Current Conscience, a blog by LA feminist and writer, Yashar Ali (yes, he is a man!).  I Don’t Want to Have Kids.  There were 13 likes and 10 comments.  The article struck a chord with many of my friends, particularly those who are women.  It felt good to see that many women felt like I did:  frustrated, pressured and not valued for our choices. So for today’s blog I thought I would write down all the things people have said to me about my choice, my very personal choice, to contribute to society in a different way than my friends and family who have children.

“That’s the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.”
“It’s good you know you’d be a bad parent.”
“You’re too young to make that decision.”
“You’re not too old” (Told this at 42 & 43 years old)
“There’s nothing better in this world than having children.”
“Why?”
“But you’d make such a good mom.”
“But being pregnant is so amazing.”
“Who will take care of you when you are old?”  This question assumes that ALL children care for their aging parent, and this we know is not the case.
“Wow.”

I would love to have readers add to this list.  My sister, who is 28, and her fiance, are starting to feel this same pressure.  What’s frustrating about this is that she is 15 years younger than me, yet she is getting the same exact pressure from society.  Why do we continue to remain stagnant or even go backwards as a culture?  I also wonder if I would be questioned the same way if I was in a relationship with a woman rather than a man?  Is this compulsory heterosexuality at work or some other term we haven’t coined?  Compulsory motherhood?

Take for instance the recent debates about contraception.  Really?  In 2012 a hot button topic of the Republican race for President is going to be whether women should have the right to contraception or not?  It makes me sick.  Our Ophthalmologist recently told us of a study she read (she is the mother of twins) that the happiest people in U.S. society are actually couples without children.  Remember the term DINKs?  Apparently as much as people claim that having children is the “best thing ever,” it turns out the happiest people are those without the pressures of children.

Yet I remain proud that I have chosen, with my own free will, and in deep discussion with my partner, that we will choose to be a wonderful Aunt and Uncle to our nieces and nephews.  We will continue to value the precious time we have together as a couple.

 

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Oscar Smoshcar

I posted quite a bit on my Facebook this past week about the sexist, racist tradition in Hollywood called the Academy Awards.  Again there were no women nominated for best director. Here’s one article I posted:
/http://www.salon.com/2012/02/25/the_oscars_woman_problem/

And in general, I got a fairly good response to the reality of how the Academy is made up of mostly white men who make all these decisions.  (Sound familiar?  Congress?).  What really got me thinking, however, was one facebook “friend” who felt like it was women’s fault for going to the types of movies that aren’t good.  The suggestion was that as consumers, women needed to make better choices about what they watch and that would somehow affect who wins for best director.  Huh?

I’m not sure I buy this one.  It feels a bit like victim-blaming and I’m just getting tired of women being blamed for a patriarchal institution that runs Hollywood.  I agree that we need more women producing movies and you can be certain if I made enough money to finance movie making, I’d be first in line sending my best friend, Kristen Vermilyea, a fat check to produce some feminist movies.  Certainly Tina Fey is putting her money where her mouth is and supporting women filmmakers, but there is only one Tina Fey.  There is only one Oprah Winfrey.  There are way more white men with money deciding what movies are going to be produced and what they will be about.  Our stories don’t get told because they are not the “everyman” experience, whatever that is. 

So while I’m a fan of the fun extravagant night where we honor the best of the best in any industry, I’m just getting too cynical and old to enjoy this event that not only hasn’t changed since I was a little girl dreaming of myself up on that stage accepting my award, but has seemed to take four steps back in any representation of racial and gender diversity.  I boycotted it this year and I think that’s my new plan of action for the future, until Hollywood catches on that women are over 50% of this world and deserve that same representation in film. 

And isn’t all this too similar to seeing an all male panel decide what laws should be passed on birth control?  The backlash against women’s rights is all too prevalent and present lately and that sets a sad tone for the future for little girls I love very much. 

Side note:  If this is an issue you care about, come to our showings of Miss Representation on March 1 and 28th at 5:30pm at UMass Dartmouth’s Woodland Commons, or downtown New Bedford on March 8th at 6pm.  “You can’t be what you can’t see!”

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critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

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Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.