The media present a woman’s fear of losing her career as the fear of losing herself. But the greatest fear of most mothers is not being able to provide for their children. Mothers with high-paying jobs go back to work to earn money for their kids. Married mothers with low-paying jobs quit to save money for their kids. Single mothers struggle to find work that pays enough to support their kids. Self-fulfillment is a low priority in an economy fuelled by worker insecurity.
The assumed divide between mothers who work inside and outside the home is presented as a war of priorities. But in an economy of high debt and sinking wages, nearly all mothers live on the edge. Choices made out of fear are not really choices. The illusion of choice is a way to blame mothers for an economic system rigged against them. There are no “mommy wars”, only money wars - and almost everyone is losing.
“Since #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen trended, I have seen excellent pieces by women of color, many suggesting steps white women can take to be better allies. Their insights are leading us toward a more conscious feminism. White women, however, need to take responsibility for educating ourselves, too. So, here are five steps white feminists — myself included — can take to check ourselves, connect more genuinely with women of color and improve feminist outcomes for people of all races. As a test of the need for these actions, consider whether you’d want the men in your life to try each step in confronting their own sexism.”—5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism | Sarah Milstein
“Most middle-class Americans, including policy makers and politicians seemed to agree that it was a “tragedy” when a middle-class woman could not have a baby. The president of a pharmaceutical company that manufactured fertility drugs spoke to a large constituency in the 1980s when he defined “fundamental rights to life” as including “access to infertility therapy.” Yet many people seemed to draw the line at applying these principles to the family-building urges of poor women. Most Americans agreed that motherhood was “a source of self- and community esteem” for middle-class women, “of family life, of community, and of loving relationships.” Most agreed “that the desire to raise a family is a fundamental human longing for most adults, and to be denied that experience is a denial of the right to choose.” Yet when women with few resources had the desire to have a child or to build a family, many Americans freely and quickly applied a financial test for motherhood and found such women inappropriate candidates for motherhood. As we have seen, many argued that for the poor, motherhood was a source not of self- and community esteem or loving relationships but of dependency and even depravity.
During the same season that some members of Congress were promoting middle-class family-building [adoption and infertility treatment] activities, federal and state politicians were engaged in plans and fantasies to give governmental authorities greater power than ever before to control how resourceless women made fertility-related decisions, and to control the arsenal of punishments leveled against a poor woman to made the “wrong choice.” In the late 1980s, in Michigan and other states, politicians were working to cancel Medicaid funds that had given poor women the choice of abortion, at roughly the same time that Pat Schroeder introduced the bill mandating insurance coverage for middle-class infertility cures. On the federal level, President Bush approved big cutbacks in the WIC program—covering nutrition and health care for infants and their low-income mothers—while Pat Schroeder and some of her colleagues spoke piously to the middle class about the basic human right to create a family and the joys of tending one’s children.”—Rickie Solinger, Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States (via thecurvature)
"How to legitimize Islamic feminism? For me, it legitimizes itself. It doesn’t have to pass a feminist exam. The simple fact that Muslim women have taken it up to demand their rights and their dignity is enough for it to be fully recognized. I know, as result of my intimate knowledge of women from the Maghreb and in the diaspora, that “the-submissive-woman” does not exist. She was invented. I know women that are dominated. Submissive ones are rarer!"
Fat non-normative black female bodies are kith and kin with historical caricatures of black women as work sites, production units, subjects of victimless sexual crimes, and embodied deviance. As I said in my analysis of hip-hop and country music cross-overs, playing the desirability of black female bodies as a “wink-wink” joke is a way of lifting up our deviant sexuality without lifting up black women as equally desirable to white women. Cyrus did not just have black women gyrating behind her. She had particularly rotund black women. She gleefully slaps the ass of one dancer like she intends to eat it on a cracker. She is playing a type of black female body as a joke to challenge her audience’s perceptions of herself while leaving their perceptions of black women’s bodies firmly intact. It’s a dance between performing sexual freedom and maintaining a hierarchy of female bodies from which white women benefit materially.
“As you continue to grow up, you’re going to have plenty of opportunities (too many) to laugh at women’s pain, embarrassment or the sexual harassment and assault we face. These moments will define you. Will you laugh along? Share a video, like a status, laugh a joke? Or will you say ‘no’, tell a friend that’s a fucked up thing to say, and walk away?”—Jessica Valenti, “Open Letter to my Male Relatives on Facebook Who ‘Like’ Sexism” (via thenationmagazine)
“We should be able to celebrate this policy change as a victory for gender equality. If this country is going to have a state of the art military, if we’re going to hold that force up as representing the best of us, then women shouldn’t be excluded from serving. Women, as they’ve proved over and over again on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, can do the work as well as men can, and that should be recognized. Whatever you think of the wars and the armed forces, this should be an egalitarian victory for our women troops. And yet, when a woman in the armed forces has a higher chance of being raped by a fellow servicemember than of being killed by the enemy, it is awfully hard to celebrate.”—Women in combat? OK, but what about the sexual assaults? | Chloe Angyal