Being one of the guys isn’t enough anymore. Girl Power is in and I need to keep up by re-branding my internalized misogyny as feminist. With my new identity I can continue to prove just how not like other girls I am: I can appropriate sex positivity to mean shaming those who sexualities are not based entirely on catering to the male gaze; I will buy feminist slogan merch from the mall even if it means dealing with that crazy bitch cashier no wonder she makes minimum wage; and by hating mothers for being baby makers and not fashionably woke like me.
Being a mom is so not feminist. Being a feminist means that as a woman, I can speak for all women, even if they differ from my identity as white, middle class, cis gender, heterosexual, and not (dis)abled. Birth control and abortions are accessible for me, so I know they are for all women. There are too many people on this planet anyway. Haven’t you seen a Norman Rockwell painting? There are enough of us already.
Hating mothers allows me to continue suppressing my complicated feelings of gender roles by dismissing feminized labour. As for single mothers, they should have predicted that their children’s father – who they have to be involved with because all families are a result of monogamous, cis gendered, heterosexual couplings – would die, leave, or become so violent she would have to escape. Rise above these obstacles like real women and keep your experiences to yourself, ladies!
I guess if I were to unpack this resentment I have towards mothers I would reflect on how I am treated as a woman without children. I am labelled ‘barren’, ‘selfish’, and ‘childless’. I’m constantly told that I will change my mind about having children. I am painted as irresponsible and infantilized. When my cat is sick I don’t get to go home from work, nor do I get government benefits.
Mothers are labelled too, maybe as ‘nags’ or ‘welfare queens’ or ‘homewreckers’ when in the stepparent role. When a child skins their knee, or when the dishes aren’t washed ‘on time’ mothers are deemed irresponsible, they are scolded. Yet when these things do not happen, they aren’t praised for their work. When a mother needs to leave work, her pay is docked, or her hours making her eligible for mat leave are docked, never mind daycare issues, or finding paid labour when motherhood is considered to be a liability.
It is as if my problems lay with dominant ideas around patriarchal motherhood, where women are not seen as individuals, or complex human beings, but only worth their reproductive labour – an issue dating back for centuries. But I want to be the kind of feminist who doesn’t bother with intersectionality and complexities, you can’t hashtag that.
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