Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm not a feminist but

Lauredhel pointed me to this little discussion at Feministing. I'm not a feminist, but I have to ask, who is to help create a new generation of feminist people (or indeed, just balanced, reasonable individuals) if real feminists aren't "breeders"?

Seriously, I completely understand the indignation that results from the "You will want to have children when you grow up" sentiment. I got it a lot before I decided to have kids. So what I know is, it is possible to believe that you will never want children and then change your mind. I also know that some people just never want children.

What I also know is that if you have no thought for the next generation, you are a waste of space. You have a right to occupy that space, and I won't begrudge you your life, but don't expect me to value your opinion. If you don't care for those that come after, I don't feel a need to care for you.

But ultimately, how can anyone call themselves a feminist and brand child bearing "breeding", with all the snide, condescending overtones that conveys? If you have the right to not reproduce (and you most certainly do), I have the right to reproduce. How do I tell my daughter she should be a feminist when (these kind of) feminists tell her her mother is unworthy?

While these people denounce the biological role women play, they make the feminine inferior. I don't ask anyone to like my offspring. I argue that the social contract requires a reasonable support of the next generation, based on the fact that the last generation was supported, and that the current ones wish to be supported in their dotage. My children have to justify their value to society just like everyone else. They aren't special, but I hope they will be part of the generation that looks after me when I can't.

But ultimately, what pisses me off the most? How dare these people assume that having children means that the only thing I care about is my children? My life is balanced. It isn't all about my kids. I am as interested in my childless friends' lives as anyone else's. I am interested in politics that have nothing to do with families. I like beer. Fuck it, I am really looking forward to my kids being adult. Those ignorant, nasty people can keep their ridiculous stereotypes to themselves.

Labels are so easy to hide behind.


  1. That's incredibly disrespectful. I think it gives Feminism a bad name.

    Fortunately I haven't encountered many women with that attitude. I did know a man like that...he'd use the term "breeders" and was very degrading towards mothers.

    I have female friends without kids. They don't ever plan to have kids. They're very respectful and not judgmental about me having kids.

    To me feminism is simply about having choices. It's not about fitting a certain stereotype or valuing one type of lifestyle over another.

  2. I agree with Dina in that feminism is about having choices. When I did woman´s studies, what struck me is that a black poor man is worse off than me being a white educated woman. Feminism to me is about acknowledgment of inequalities and working to reduce them. I hope to have children who will work at reducing the inequalities in the world, which is more than the people who complain that someone isn´t of the right frame of mind, or spend their time criticising others will do.

    I have been so busy I haven´t had time to catch up with your blog since I came back from Australia, but looking forward to reading more (around Nov will have more time).

  3. Hi Ingrid, nice to see you back. :)

    I hope you had a good time in Australia. I've been checking your blog on and off, but I see real life has been in the way. I hope the girls are good?

    Yes, it has always seemed to me that women as a group are so diverse in their level oppression as to make the grouping almost meaningless.

    Almost - there are some issues that bind pretty much all women together, but there are a lot more which don't.