Redux: The 21st Century Motherhood Movement – book review

This original of this post was lost in the hack. This is recovered text from the RSS feed, and its timestamp has been adjusted to reflect the time of original publication.

Book Cover for The 21st Century Motherhood Movement

The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How To Do It

The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How To Do It, featuring a chapter by bluemilk, is quite a doorstop of a book. It is a book written by feminist mothers for feminist mothers and anyone else interested in feminist mothering and in a moment of idleness I said I’d do a book review. Let me tell you, this is not a book you can flick through while engaged in something else. Firstly, because it is like the aforementioned doorstop; at 958 pages in paperback it is quite a big book. Secondly, this isn’t light reading material – it demands your attention.

Since I haven’t read a lot of feminist non-fiction outside of blogs and stuff on the net I decided to begin with something I was a little familiar with so I turned to bluemilk’s chapter. Now reading bluemilk’s blog could be compared sometimes to having a chat over coffee or sitting around in someone’s backyard having a couple of drinks and chatting about kids, husbands, sex of the icky parental kind (my fav tag ever) and so on. But this chapter is bluemilk in all her academic splendour. It really gets down to the nitty gritty and I found that while it was fascinating I needed the kids to be in bed so that I could give it my best attention. I’m not going to go into spoilers, but I can say if you like bluemilk’s blog you will enjoy her writing which is simultaneously distilled essence of bluemilk expanded tenfold into a really fantastic chapter.

Although I haven’t gone far with this book yet, already I can see it is one that I will dip in and out of and then go away to chew over the ideas. It is far ranging from Feminist Mothering as a white middle class mother to statistics on maternal deaths in developing countries to violence against mothers. It hits pretty hard to read that in the time it takes to read a chapter 10 expectant mothers will have died in the developing world. I need some time to think about that.

Then I read a chapter about Feminist mothers choosing to go it alone [childrearing] rather than potentially waste their fertile years waiting for the ‘right one’ to come along. It was stated early on that the support group they set up was purely for women who had chosen to become single parents, not women/teenagers who had found themselves single parenting. This was the first of what no doubt will be many times when I have gone “Wait, what? Why aren’t you supporting these women? If you aren’t who will?” and then on reflection realised that maybe I should be supporting those (single mothers by chance) women too. Why should one group of single mothers necessarily have to be the ones supporting other single mothers just because they happen to share one circumstance? What excused me and all feminists from supporting all mothers? Like I said lots of things to chew over and come back to.

I don’t expect to agree with everything I read in this book, but feminism is a broad church so nor should I expect to. I haven’t really done the book justice here, there is so much more to it than this. I just felt that I needed to get something down about it. I’m looking forward to reading more about the history of feminist activism, advocacy, POC, violence, social change and performing motherhood. Reading all this could potentially take years, but they are years I am looking forward to, I have so much to learn.

originally published by Mindy
August 2nd, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Categories: arts & entertainment, gender & feminism, parenting, relationships

Tags: , , ,

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