In the famous feminist texts like Simone de Beauvoir’s, Second Sex, and Shulamith Firestone Dialectic of Sex, the philosophical thought behind these leading feminist contemporaries is grounded in understanding the very complex issues that disempower and oppress the female class. These texts have been regarded as some of the most influential novels to come out of the 2nd wave of feminism during the ’60s. The radical ideas represented in these texts have become catalysts for women’s body rights and protection of women against violence.
However, as the year 2020 approaches ever so quickly. I believe it is important, as a feminist, to go back and reconsider some of the arguments made by radical feminists. Although, I agree with the majority of the feminist movement including prompting men to participate in household duties, treating women as equals in relationships and even becoming more understanding of reconceptualizing societal roles.
There is one issue that I don’t necessarily agree with. This is the issue that our birth and sex are what disempowers us. In both the Dialectic of Sex and Second Sex, there is an argument that is made about childbirth being the fundamental labor clause that enslaves women to the lifestyle of domestication.
I have to say, “I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement.”
I believe that a more altruistic society looks like one where individuals have a choice. Women should have the choice to stay with children or work at the same time while raising their children. But by no means should our ability to bare life and raise children be considered a crux for our empowerment. In fact, I believe women are the most empowered once they have had children. And this is why I believe that the radical feminist movement needs to be reconceptualized to incorporate a continuous model that is egalitarian and diverts a sense of judgment from women’s choices period.
To be a mother is the greatest gift, I believe, anyone will ever know. Now, I am not a mother. However, I am career-focused and I care about breaking misnomers in society when it comes to women’s overall class status. I want to be financially independent and I do not want to seek love because of societal scripting.
In her book, Paths to Fulfillment, by Psychologist, Ruthellen Josselson, a researcher who has devoted her life to developing new sub-groups for Eric Erickson’s, Identity Development Model, to incorporate the identity development of females.
Ruthellen documents the lives of women who she encountered during her journey towards a Ph.D. in psychology during the ’80s. Almost 30 years ago, however, still relevant when we think about women’s journeys through navigating the personal and the professional. In much of her qualitative research, Ruthellen describes how she was one of the only women who made it out of the Ph.D. program with a thriving and active career. She speaks about her classmates as all settling down and finding refuge in their home lives by becoming stewards for the family.
This is not to say that marriage and children are wrong, but I believe it is examples like this that radical activists and philosophers create the meaning of deviance to the biological aspect of women’s sex. I think to create a more altruistic society, the solution starts by destigmatizing the socialized nature of men and women’s roles in society. Therefore, the models and ways we conceptualize mating and evolutionary coupling may need to shift to incorporate more non-traditional family systems. This is not a new concept by any means. However, I think that it is a slower solution than the ones proposed by radical feminists. The reason being in order to shift paradigms associated with men’s attitudes and beliefs towards their roles in society, you would have to deconstruct entire scripting of male authority and dominance that dates back to the dawn of civilization. You would also have to get men to relinquish their sense of aggressive male dominant ego – this is not to say that men won’t. However, it is not tested and we have not developed instruments to understand the best ways to shift men’s notions towards baring children.
Anyways, my point is I don’t believe being a mother should ever be seen as a negative.
What is Mother Love?
Mother love is... a specific kind of love that every human being needs – we don’t outgrow the need for it, although we sadly forget how much we do need it.
Mother love is… the deep, all-embracing, all-accepting, nourishing, nurturing, warm, safe, supportive love that soothes the places inside our hearts that feel scared and lonely.
Mother love is… the strong love that we can fall into when we are stressed, stretched, uncertain, and feeling like we just can’t handle what’s happening in our life.
Mother love is… love we can retreat into, feel held by, move through our deepest fears with. It’s the love we can sink into and cry our hearts out until there are no more tears left, and then wipe off our face, take a deep breath and all of the sudden feel the courage within that same heart to stand up tall and meet the world stronger.
Mother love is… a specific kind of love, and while we can receive some of that love from the human mother that gave birth or raised us, no mother, no matter how great she is can be the sole source of this mother love that we all need.
And I say need with purpose.