Friday, July 15, 2011

Gender 101: Feminist Motherhood

by Connie Chastain*

I don't know many bona fide radical feminists. I've run into many women, both in cyberspace and terrestrial reality, who call themselves feminists but not radical feminists.

They acknowledge the progress women have made due to feminism in the past fifty years -- usually in the area of choice, as in the freedom to choose a career rather than being locked into wife-and-motherhood. Or the freedom to obtain an education, which was denied to women throughout most of history. They talk less about the choice of ending pregnancy thanks to "reproductive freedom" but acknowledge that it, too, is a positive for women bestowed by modern feminism.
Most of these women are married with children and most of them work outside the home, so they haven't actually chosen between two alternatives they've been presented with. Point out to them the beliefs and goals of radical feminists -- the ones who direct the movement -- and they're likely to say the radicals are few, unknown and relatively powerless, and hold themselves up as examples of true feminism.

I once had a self-described feminist tell me that because she, a teacher, had never heard of Carol Gilligan, then Gilligan was basically unknown and had little influence. Now, Gilligan almost singlehandedly transformed education in America to accomodate the way girls learn, and develop hostility to the way boys learn. But she didn't have much influence, according to my nonradical feminist acquaintance.

These women that I call quasi-feminists claim to love their families, and feel a responsibility to raise their children to be happy, productive, well-adjusted adults. But I wonder how any woman who loves her sons and daughters would expose them to such a soul-destroying philosophy during their impressionable youth. Regardless of what these women say in defense of feminism, even small doses of it teach girls to despise and reject motherhood, and boys to despise and reject their manhood.

Two appalling and heartbreaking examples are found in the lives of Rebecca Walker, daughter of feminist icon Alice Walker who wrote The Color Purple, and Edgar van de Giessen, son of a leading feminist in Holland. Their stories are online, and serve as a warning to all who refuse to see the ultimate effects of radical femnism on children.

Rebecca Walker's story appeared in the UK's Daily Mail in 2008. Blissfully happy in her role as mother of a three-year-old boy, she says she "...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...."

And it wasn't just motherhood Alice Walker despised. Her daughter's very femaleness, with its potential for motherhood, earned her wrath. "As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery..."

The short article in the Daily Mail gives a stark glimpse into the life of a child raised by a radical feminist who saw her as "a calamity." The emotional distance from a woman who was incredibly self-centered, the early sexual activity, the longing for a traditional home with a loving mother -- Rebecca relates her experience with hearbreaking honesty. You can't help but cheer for her embracing motherhood and loving her son as she was never loved.

Van de Giessen's story is just as appalling. "I would like you to imagine," he says, "how it is for an growing boy in the age of ten to hear every day from his mother that men are the cause of all trouble in the world, that men are guilty of all crime and war and repression in the world, that all men should be castrated after their semen has been deep-frozen to ensure the existence of the next generation, that men should live in different cities than women, so that they could all kill each other and so solve the problem of their own existence."

As a result of his mother's teaching, van de Giessen developed a deep distrust in himself, and in male authority. And is it any wonder that he doubted his lovability -- or that he required "...25 years of therapeutic and spiritual search and deep emotional healing..." to begin finding self-value and to develop relationships with others?

Both Walker and van de Giessen use the term "rabid feminist" to describe their mothers -- worse, even, than radical feminists, indicating that there are degrees of the poison inherent in the philosophy. The self-proclaimed femnists of my acquaintance would certainly not describe themselves as either radical or rabid. They profess to love their children, including their sons.

The inherent selfishiness of feminism, exhibited to a shocking degree by Alice Walker, pervades the entire philosophy, just as feminist influence pervades society -- and can blind women to the harm it does to their children. Maybe their lives aren't as poisoned as Rebecca Walker's or Edgar van de Giessen's. But they're harmed nonetheless. And we who aren't blinded by feminist selfishness see it all too clearly.

Rebecca Walker's story:

Edgar van de Giessen's story:

*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is