Feminism.. you are doing it all wrong!

I am one confused woman... and mother... and, dare I say it... feminist. And I apologize ahead of time if this post goes a bit all over the place {see statement above} and if I am about three months late on this band wagon! .

I have been trying for the past week or so to read Elizabeth Badinter's book, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women. And I just can't do it anymore.

It is hurting my head and my heart and my very soul reading her words.

And it is doing so on so many levels.

It hurts me because of her blatantly condescending attitude about pretty much everything that I value, hold dear and practice as an attachment parent mother.

It hurts me because of her "look how wonderful WE the French women are at everything we do". From having the highest birth rate in Europe to, you know, getting perineum therapy after having a baby to make sure everything gets all nice and tightened up again 'down there'! {I am serious!! This is a THING people and French social insurance COVERS it!!}

It hurts me because of my own French heritage {my mother was born in Nice} and the beautiful extended French family that I have and love and how it is skewing my view of all things French.

And it hurts me in my feminist heart. Because she is basically saying that I am doing IT {feminism} all wrong.

And she is not the only one.

According to Elizabeth Wurtzel, who wrote how 1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible for The Atlantic this past June,  I am not a REAL feminist either. Her reasoning for this?

Let's please be serious grown-ups: real feminists don't depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.

So that's it I guess. I must hang up my feminist hat because my husband and I made a decision for our family that I would stop working. A decision that made sense to us both financially and emotionally. And I'd like to point out that although it was ultimately my choice to leave my very well-compensated and highly fulfilling career  to fully embrace motherhood, it was Natural Urban Dad who had a harder time wrapping his head around the idea of someone else beingthe primary caregivers for our children during the day.

So, I love the earth, am a breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, organic baby food making, babywearing, stay-at-home-mother, and I don't earn a living. Therefore...

I am NOT a good feminist.

Wurtzel argues that feminism is not something that you FEEL. That it is an absolute and that if you are not living up to the definition by doing all things equally to men than you are ruining it for all women. Badinter pushes this even further and implies that if you are not only not working and earning a living , but also are not getting yourself all back to your pre-baby sexy self and self-indulgent lifestyle in a matter of weeks (Psst, she is the heiress and Board Chair to the PR firm that has contracts with Nestle, Pampers and such, so consider her position in this with a boatload grain of salt!), then you are a slave to that anti-feminist movement she likes to call modern "naturalist" motherhood.

This is what I find highly amusing about both of these women going on and on about what is or is not killing feminism. Wurtzel is saying that it is the 1% super-rich mamas who have nannies and are stay-at-home parents who get pedicures and go to Jivamukti classes (I had to google that one. As one of my daughter's favourite book characters would say, it's a fancy word for YOGA!) who are to blame. And Badinter, herself one of those 1% (if not the 0.1%) of the super-rich, who truly believes that sending children off with nannies or to daycare (with the help of the state who picks up the cost of this) so as to pursue other ambitions (career or social) is the perfectly logical and very French way to go about being a mother.

Neither of these arguments really make any sense to me, and I am not sure that either of these ladies has a clue as to how the majority of mamas out there in the real world manage our day to day lives. Some of us working full-time, some part-time, some from home, some out of the home, and some of us fortunate enough, YES, fortunate, to have the option to stay at home with and for our children.

Cécile Alduy, Associate Professor of French Studies at Stanford and a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books, wrote an amazing review of The Conflict. It is a long and detailed analysis of the book and in the end she says that,

Not surprisingly for the heir of existentialist Simone de Beauvoir, Badinter seems to posit that a woman’s existence precedes her essence. You are what you do, not what your XX chromosomes tell you to be. It is unfortunate that second wave feminists like her tend to limit the range of worthy self-defining actions to the mandated “work as self-fulfillment” imperative that serves a capitalist economy so well.

Wurtzel seems to be of the same opinion and for me, I tend to believe that it is THIS kind of thinking that continues to fuel the "Mommy Wars", the war on women and is what is destroying feminism for my generation and likely the next as well.

Trust me, it is not me breastfeeding my child, hiring a babysitter a few times a week to hit up a yoga class and not having a 'real' job.

AND for the record, my sense of self-worth is not defined by what I do...

I am defined by who I am.

And I am a woman... in every sense of the word!




And here is Day 7 of the Summer Blog Challenge. It's starting to get a bit easier... I think.

Check out what the other participants have been up to today...

Zita at The Dulock Diaries.

Meaghan at MagzD Life

April at This Mom’s Got Something to Say

Aramelle at One Wheeler’s World

 Jessica at 2plus2X2

and Liam at In the Now