There is this series running on a blog in my feed where “feminists” explain their brand of feminism in the form of an interview. The series is a constant source of hilarity mixed with annoyance for me. See, for example, the most recent interview:
In addition, becoming a mother certainly enhanced, if not changed, my definition of feminism. Practicing attachment parenting, becoming a nurturer and essentially a stay-at-home mom, certainly shoved me into a more feminine way of existing that I had perhaps not been able to fully embody. After all, feminism is not about women being treated like men, but about both men and women being valued equally and choosing their own role. For me, this role of mother forced me to face the ways that I placed more value on the parts of myself that were more masculine. Appreciating equally my feminine nature has been a challenge, yes, but a useful exercise.
Got it? There is something called “a feminine nature” which consists of becoming a housewife and a “nurturer.” There is also a lot of blabber about “true nature” and “essence.” This is such an open and unapologetic brand of essentialism that I’ve got to wonder whether this “feminist” has read a single book on the movement she claims to belong to.
Also observe the suggestion that it is not possible “to fully embody a more feminine way of existing” without being a housewife. And, of course, a mother. Because as we, feminists, have been trying to demonstrate for centuries, women who are not mothers are not real women. Oh wait, that wasn’t feminists who promoted that idea.
I especially love the part where the interviewee states that feminism is not about women being treated like men. It’s super cool to have all of the rights, yet none of the responsibilities of men. “I want to be treated with respect as a valid human being, yet I will sit here being all truly and essentially feminine and refusing to bear any financial responsibility for myself and my own child, while you go out and try to make a living. Because I’m a woman, and my duty in life is to get married and make babies. Of course, men get married, make babies and then also have to slay themselves working like dogs to keep their wives and babies. But, hey, each gender should have its own sphere in life ’cause, you know, faaaaayminism!” That’s a pretty nifty gig. And then people ask why feminism is losing relevance for many people. What a surprise, given the basic hypocrisy of such “feminists” as this one.
Isn’t that fantastic, folks? One can now happily accept all of the stereotypes about the “true essence of womanhood” as motherly, nurturing, completely dedicated to the family and having no professional and social life of one’s own, finding one’s entire value in life through the role of a wife and a mother and sell this as some kind of an especially “spiritual” feminism.
As I read this idiotic interview, I was constantly reminded of the image of womanhood promoted by the propaganda machine of the Catholic Fascist dictatorship of Franco in Spain. The dictatorship was passionately dedicated to destroying all of the feminist advances of the Second Republic. It never stated that women were inferior to men, of course. The anti-feminist beliefs promoted by the dictatorship revolved around the idea that women were particularly spiritual and sensitive beings who didn’t need to debase themselves with things like a professional and social realization. The true nature of femininity, the dictatorship said, was all about nurturing, mothering, and practicing the special and precious femininity of housewives.
If this interviewee spent a little less time blabbering about spiritual nurturing and true femininity, maybe she’d get a chance to educate herself and find out that her “feminism” is in no way different from the ideology of one of the most anti-women regimes of the XXth century.