I wrote recently, on Twitter, that I was getting the word “feminist” tattooed on my ass. I was only joking, but I might as well have been serious. It’s true that in all the most important things I am—mother, writer, hiker, wife, daughter, seeker—feminism is at the center. It’s a descriptor so clear and permanent it seems to me it’s inked on my ass whether it’s literally there or not. I’ve been a feminist since before I knew what a feminist was. It’s an indelible part of my identity and it informs everything I do.
I believe this movie stirred something in me. Perhaps the feelings I had for my ’97 sea foam Geo Metro? That was a similarly creaky and stressful thing that I’d have preferred to chop up for parts.
For good or for bad, Mama opens with a far more chilling scene than any of the film's subsequent ghostfoolery: It’s the beginning of the Great Recession and a freshly-ruined man in a suit runs horrific errands around town—first, shooting partners in his office and eventually making his way to his estranged wife and children. After a sad, heavy gunshot in an unseen room, the man kidnaps his two young daughters by car (naturally, the license plate: reads “N1 DAD”).
Here's your warning: This rest of this review will contain some spoilers.
Actress Elizabeth Banks inserted her foot far back into the reaches of her mouth recently while discussing motherhood with People magazine. The Hunger Games star shared her thoughts on becoming a mother for the second time after her second son was born last November: "You don’t realize how easy one is until you have two. Now I’m really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now.”
Feminists at work, whether they are mothers or not, have yet to reconcile several conflicts related to class, race, and culture. Most conversations about women in the workplace fall along two lines: they are single and ruthless, or they are coupled and supported outside of corporate work by a partner who helps them tend to family life. I have a feeling that there are many more working feminists who get left out of the discussion, though I can't figure out why that is.
At the height of attending my friends' baby showers, more than one feminist writer urged me to forego having children. Remaining childless is tempting in a world where the costs of raising kids and taking time off to help raise them are getting higher and higher.
Maybe it is because I am breast-feeding my own son and am used to seeing women whip out a boob to put in baby’s mouth at the drop of a hat, but when I saw the cover of TIME this week, I didn’t find it all that odd.
Frankly, my first thought was, "Great! A picture of a woman breast-feeding!" After the uproar in 2009 about Facebook removing photos of breastfeeding mothers, as well as the rise of “lactivists” staging nursing sit-ins everywhere from airports to the Hirshhorn Museum—places that had asked women to stop nursing their babies—I usually appreciate seeing breastfeeding in the media. Obviously, though, when we have steps forward, we have steps back. The TIME cover is problematic in several ways, its problems well-pointed out in a previous Bitch post. Also unfortunate is the way the image coats the story inside, which covers “attachment parenting” with a greasy, unfriendly film.
Though it may seem like old news now, Ann Romney’s positioning by the GOP as the epitome of womanly motherhood is important here. It is no secret that the Romney family is out-of-this-world wealthy. Ann Romney’s stayed-at-home child-rearing therefore brings up many issues, including nutrition access for the less-than-wealthy and what it is to be a mother raising children in poverty today. If “all mothers are working mothers,” as Mitt Romney would have us believe, does that include ones who are much poorer, and ones who are of in need of government assistance and better nutrition?
Anne Sexton was born in Newton, Masachusetts in 1928. Sexton was the youngest of three daughters and quickly earned the title of the wild child. At seventeen, her parents sent her to Rogers Hall Boarding School in Lowell, Massachusetts to try and cure the rebellious side in her. After graduating from school, Sexton attended what she would later call a "finishing school" before she met and eloped with Alfred Sexton II in 1948. For a short time after their marriage, she modeled for a small agency. But after her husband was sent to Korea for a time, Sexton gave up modeling to be like a typical '50s housewife—but she was anything but.
Darnell Martin's I Like It Like That may push the boundaries of the Bechdel Test, but its insights into black Latina motherhood, sisterhood, and professional identity are fascinating, rare, and in need of recognition.
With twenty studio albums under her belt, and another coming out in the new year, she is still as bad-ass as ever. While her new songs may not hold the same personal angst as earlier ones, they are still infused with a strong point of view, activist spirit, and feminist ideology. I recently had the chance to talk with Ani about her music, her (ever-changing) feminism, motherhood and everything else in between.