Moms and Feminism Need Each Other

I think men convinced themselves women were just a little too stupid for all those centuries, so they wouldn’t have to face what they had done to us.

Pinned

Thanks for bringing me to this swell movie, Gary!

Exploiting a natural weakness to strip an intelligent, self-aware person of their individuality, and put them to work for the benefit of others – Well, that would be pretty evil. One might be tempted to empathize with such a person, to imagine what it’s like to let go of any thought of personal achievement.

To have no dreams, plans, or hobbies of your own. That’s a miserable existence for any mildly intelligent person, without some serious brainwashing.

But, then, those women were always told they’d never amount to much. Women’s Liberation came about after Enlightenment thinkers (Read: Men) decided an educated mother was a better mother. Suddenly young women got to dream, but only for a few years. Marriage was still the only serious goal.

My generation? We were told we could Have It All – A kickass career, a loving husband, smart kids, a beautiful home and a tight ass – We just had to work a little harder. Never mind that at least two of these are full-time jobs. You’re gonna need at least two jobs to keep that house, anyway…

My daughters are being told that womanhood is a feeling.

The dirty truth, of course, is that a woman birthed every person on Earth. Many of them died in the process. Most of them bear physical scars, and psychological ones are common. All of them were extremely uncomfortable or seriously inconvenienced at least once.

All so humanity could carry on. A job so vital, no able-bodied woman is truly eligible for anything else!

If Only

Sorry, I can’t learn to fly today, I have too much work to do!

But to keep us all there, we had to be held down. Mothers are simultaneously the most important and the least important people in the world. Both a precious resource and totally ordinary, whichever undermines us more effectively.

And it doesn’t really matter, because we don’t have much to say. We’re too busy juggling hats. When women do speak, it’s seldom as A Mother – We have been taught not to identify with that aspect of ourselves, or risk being disqualified from life.

Ironic, since mothers give life.

This is our biggest mistake – Motherhood is both our greatest power and our moment of weakness. The modern, rational mind isn’t interested in mystical contradictions, but we ignore this at our peril.

And children are not just babies. That moment of weakness is followed by at least a decade of preoccupation. Of living two lives simultaneously. Of knowing that, when that cry goes up, your feet better hit the floor because you’re the one on-call 24/7.

Of missed deadlines and internal conflict. Of dumping energy into running two minds – Mommy and Boss Bitch. There’s not as much overlap as you might think.

And moms will never unite and rise up, because we don’t see ourselves as a group. To stand up and be counted is to admit we ought to be at home. And women will never be free.

We may be freed from motherhood, as artificial wombs become a reality. But if freedom hinges on giving up mothering, we will have paid with a precious piece of ourselves. We will have admitted that being free means being like men.

With the majority of women isolated, the only route to liberation will continue to be rejection of men altogether. Straight women cast as sleeping with the enemy, rather than those with the most at stake in the battle of the sexes.

Each of us sits in a corner of her kitchen wiping lonely tears, because she doesn’t know she is legion. We struggle to be Secretary and Cheerleader and Sex Goddess and Boss Bitch and Housekeeper and Cook, never mind who we are!

Vacation

When does my vacation start?

We grope for the support no one can give us. The support that should be there – The network of mothers that raised our ancestors for thousands of years. 

The network that has been destroyed by centuries of putting women In Our Place – A case of slander so intense, the insecurity driving it is obvious.

Men of influence fear women’s power because their precious dominance depends on installing a worthy heir. We are the doorway to the future.  We are the biggest, most influential group in the world.

But not if we don’t know it.

Motherhood is the doorway all of us pass through, in one direction or the other. We don’t need to agree on parenting styles, we just need to stand up and be counted. The strength in our numbers will shake the world.

 

 

Life is Weird, But I’m Not Giving Up!

It’s been a quiet few weeks here at BrazenShe. I have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline, but I have been focusing my free time on a business venture.

Applied Learning

Running BrazenShe is rudimentary and fun. I write whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s great practice at crafting engaging pieces around maybe less-than-engaging issues.

I adore writing in my own voice. It’s just about the most fun a girl could have. I have developed and tweaked my style for almost 30 years. But I don’t exactly fit your boilerplate professional mold.

Img 2849

I’m good at what I’m good at!

This has made it somewhat difficult to translate my ever-increasing experience administrating my little corner of the web and slowly, fitfully building a personal brand that’s functional and true, into paying work.

It’s frustrating to have a valuable skillset and struggle to make it work for you. I was a Content Creator, Cultural Critic and Social Media Manager, working a cash register or a factory line.

Something isn’t right there.

Serendipity

I recently took what little spending money I have and threw it toward some comprehensive internet marketing training. Less than a month into it, my estranged father messaged me asking for contact info for my sister.

As if.

He said a friend of his needed someone to build them a website.

The timing was just too perfect. I had to jump for it in spite of myself and everything that’s happened.

Turned out the friend is actually an age-appropriate lady Old Dad was seriously involved with for several years around the turn of the century. She has since settled into the role of Family Friend. Also, it turns out, she’s actually pretty cool.

I never got to know her back then, I was in high school in a different state. But she’s a RadFem and loved the blog! She specializes in a wonderful method for getting rid of her clients’ debt, which she does at no cost to them.

All I have to do is get the site up and spread it around a little. She’s already been doing it for years and the clientele is essentially assured.

Accidental Christmas Networking

Last night was the Christmas Parade downtown.

Many of you may not be familiar with this concept. You read that right: A Christmas Parade, which is just about everything you might imagine it to be. My kids rode a float with the theme, ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and had pajamas on under their coats.

BrazenShe Antarctic Explorer

Smile through the cold!

I’m kidding, of course – I’m sure the coats came off as soon as they were out of sight. I know the 6th grader was sharing a blanket and getting smooches from a chubby girl with a loud mouth. Hmmmm….

I was networking too, as it turns out.

Really, I just love this old man who owns the house next to the parking lot where they all gather and mill around for two hours in the cold, among the exhaust of idling Diesel engines.

Hiding Beside the Ice Box

On the back deck, the guy who was my son’s Scout Leader his first year was giving out hot chocolate. I wandered inside, probably looking for a bathroom, and ran into Bill in the kitchen.

He recognized me from my job at a local Big Box home services store. He told me about his real estate holdings, and how he hired women to do painting and light carpentry topless.

His sharp eyes glinted as he explained, “Normally, you might wait all day for a delivery. But if the delivery guys heard there’s topless women, they show up at eight a.m.!”

His logic was solid. And he was giving out alcohol, so I was smiling and nodding to avoid going back outside. It’s amusing when someone tries to shock me, new acquaintances usually underestimate me.

Desolation Road

And this house is next to, among other things, a homeless shelter. Right there on Main Street, with the churches, library and shops.

Many of the residents have a high school education, and some don’t even have that. A lot of people around here are addicts (recovering or otherwise) or children of addicts, with few skills.

And the “good” jobs in the area want to pay you $9-$12 an hour to do manual labor for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Yes, seven days a week. That’s every day. You’re pretty much guaranteed to burn out, if you don’t just bank all that pay (no time to spend it anyway!) and move the fuck away from here.

BrazenShe Get It Running

Gonna get this running somehow!

So, I can see the appeal, if I’m honest. Earn $25 an hour just for painting walls without a shirt? In context, it looks like a pretty good deal.

But that absurd demonstration of everything wrong with Capitalism was just Bill’s opening feint. Only the deep lines in his face give away his age, he is clever and nimble, as well as plain hilarious.

And, of course, he owns the building. I neglected to ask what the decorators of this nautical kitchen were wearing.

I walked the parade, had an asthma attack, and had to push the stroller (that’s right, I drink and interact with children. I’m an adult, not an asshole. And believe me, you are plenty sober after walking two miles!) over and sit it out on the curb.

Repeat Offender

The next year I left the baby at home. Bill was there in the kitchen with the liquor and we went back and forth over politics and history, sexual norms and possibilities for the future.

It does take more than rum to secure my company for two hours.

And, I admit, I hide from the crowd. The noise and the fumes, the endless shouting. It’s a guaranteed headache for me.

I promised Bill I’d see him again next year. Reveling a little in the feeling of finally having an accidental tradition to look forward to.

At some point this year, I was telling Hubs about it and he said he had met the old guy. That he was awesome

Knitting

It’s easy once you get the hang of it!

and one of the most interesting people he’d ever met.

Natural Fit

This made perfect sense. Bill could be my husband’s eccentric uncle. They are cut from similar cloth. This year his work hours made it possible for him to come meet my parade buddy.

It was so beautiful. I do enjoy having a partner I can present with a social opportunity, and he will capitalize on it.

Scout Leader and fam were there with hot chocolate. There was the business manager tending her little bonfire. In years past I have hidden from the experience. This year it was was a natural flow and I had a great time.

Scout Leader is a Web Manager by day. He told me he needs people to run social media campaigns. I’m supposed to call the office and set up lunch.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life is Weird

So far, I’ve gotten voicemail three times. But he lives around the corner.

Bill invited us back any evening we want. Jack insisted we need to make it more than an annual tradition.

Meanwhile, I’m patching jeans and selling my possessions for spending money.

Life is weird.