Tuesday, 27 May 2008

What really matters

Rebecca Walker is the daughter of founding feminist, and The Color Purple author, Alice Walker. Rebecca recently reflected on her life, and her disownment by her mom because she decided to become a mother herself. After reading this article, I’m left wondering what kind of person Alice Walker must be, to have been so selfish, and most recently, so hateful, toward her own daughter and grandson. She has never seen him.

Then I recall that selfish pride is the oldest sin in the Book.

Here are some choice bits:

The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother - thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.

You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.

In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

I’m so grateful I never had to experience, as a child, being told by my mother that I was enslaving her, that she bore me as if a millstone.

I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

Walker goes on with a litany of how her mother’s feminist ideals robbed her of a normal childhood: divorce; being at the bottom of her mom’s priority list; being left when relatives while Alice vacationed for two weeks in Greece; feeling utterly alone in her femininity, not having an attentive mother to talk to and connect with; having sex—with her mother’s knowledge—at the age of 13, and becoming pregnant at age 14. She had an abortion, which “haunted me for decades. It ate away at my self-confidence and, until I had Tenzin, I was terrified that I’d never be able to have a baby because of what I had done to the child I had destroyed. For feminists to say that abortion carries no consequences is simply wrong.”

When she learned she was pregnant, Rebecca was hesitant to tell her mother, but she did:

Although I knew what my mother felt about babies, I still hoped that when I told her I was pregnant, she would be excited for me.

Instead, when I called her one morning in the spring of 2004, while I was at one of her homes housesitting, and told her my news and that I’d never been happier, she went very quiet. All she could say was that she was shocked. Then she asked if I could check on her garden. I put the phone down and sobbed - she had deliberately withheld her approval with the intention of hurting me. What loving mother would do that?

I could go on and on, to the point where I’d quote nearly the entire piece, and I encourage you, dear reader, to read all of it yourself.

Ultimately, Rebecca has abided by her mother’s wish to not have contact with her. She’s accepted it for the better, that despite the good things feminism has done for women, for the well-being of her son and herself, “I can no longer have this poisonous relationship destroy my life.”

It’s a shame a child has to say that about her parent.

posted on May 27, 2008 10:49 PM




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