Her Bad Mother

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why Anyone Who Says We Live In A Post-Feminist World Should Be Cuffed In The Head

Because, seriously. The Jezebel Apocalypse (discussed HERE) makes my worrying about my daughter's possible exposure, someday, somewhere, to a Bratz doll seem the equivalent of worrying about one day getting a hangnail, oh my god.

(What apocalypse? The one where influential young women - 'feminist role models' to at least some impressionable girls - get up - or slouch down, drunk - in a public forum and say shit like 'only stupid girls get raped' and 'pulling out is the funnest birth control omg!' and 'I was raped once but I like didn't do anything about it because I had better things to do, like get drunk.' FOR SERIOUS.)

(Weeping a little bit.)


All I want for my daughter is a world in which she gets to decide, always, when, where and how she takes her leaps, and for her to recognize that that world was - and continues to be - hard-won, and to never, ever take that world for granted. I want her to be a feminist girl in a feminist world, always fighting with and for and because that feminism. I want her to fly, and to know and appreciate that she flies because being a strong, smart woman gives her wings.


And I want her to never forget that those wings can be torn. I want her to never tear them, to never be tempted to tear them.


Because the tearing of those wings? A hideous, terrible, tragic thing. I so want to spare her that. I so want her to grow into the sort of woman who will spare herself that.

That is all.

67 Comments:

Blogger flutter said...

I want that for everyone's children.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

flutter - WORD.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

HBM ... if I could sing, I'd be your back up with a chorus of "amen sista!"s.

Sadly, I am completely tone deaf.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

HBM ... if I could sing, I'd be your back up with a chorus of "amen sista!"s.

Sadly, I am completely tone deaf.

3:01 PM  
Blogger jen said...

the sisterhood is really taking a beating lately, isn't it.

talk about eating our own heads.

3:19 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Ugh. Thank goodness she has the mother who will tell her, show her, teach her to look critically at such displays.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woh! That is all I can say. That, and I have goosebumps. Thanks for your post.

3:23 PM  
Blogger ScientistMother said...

My head is bowed in shame, though I am right behind maternal mirth sinking amen sista!

3:50 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Amen and amen.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Mommy Melee said...

I don't have a daughter, but your wishes resonate deeply with you.

I have a son and another son due in November. I always imagined myself as a mother to a daughter. I'm very close to my mom and I'm just--well, I'm not girly. But I guess... I like being a woman, damn it!

Anyway, it's endlessly important to be to raise sons who are going to respect women. It seems so simple, but I know it's not simple, or easy.

I have to start with remembering to respect myself, at any rate.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Amen

4:26 PM  
Blogger Candygirlflies said...

"...being a strong, smart woman gives her wings."

What I see as one of the keys to your daughter's future success in life, is the fact that a strong, smart woman is GIVING her wings.

You're awesome, HBM.

xo CGF

5:05 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I want my daughter to remember that it's easier to destroy the legacy of feminism than it is to live it, and that she gets to choose for her daughters whether they will inherit that legacy or live blinded and bonded.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

That was so well said HBM. There are so many brillant, wonderful, meaningful, smart, funny women's voices out there right now WHY do we keep handing the microphone over to the one's that chose to use the spotlight to smash something that is more important and fragile than they realize? Whew - sorry for the run on. I was trying to find a way to be productive and not use the word "stupid."

6:07 PM  
Blogger sweetney said...

you are teh awesome. always.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Syko said...

She will grow up into a strong, smart, beautiful woman. She has you to teach her how.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Yazmena said...

You always have the words to explain how I feel. I hadn't heard of all of this and after watching the video all I want to do is climb into bed and wrap myself around my 9 month old daughter and hope that I too will teach her how precious and hard won her wings are.

8:23 PM  
Blogger CaraBee said...

Add my "Amen" to the chorus.

8:55 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

Ok. Sorry. I couldn't get through the whole video thing with the two Jezabels. They had nothing of interest for me. I really can't believe THEY can really influence anyone. Seriously? I know so many young women of substance. I am not worried.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Great post. The Jezebel fiasco is dis. turb. ing.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Dondi Tiples said...

We all want so much for our children. All our best hopes. All our good intentions. And we wish, and we pray, and sometimes we do some underhanded manipulations of our own, and we cross all our fingers that somehow everything turns out as well for them as we intend them to.

Alas. They do make their own way, don't they?

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I also throw my "amen" in there because you said it so wonderfully. I really want my children to grow up and be strong individuals. I have twin sons right now but am hoping for another healthy baby in the future, be it boy or girl. Either way I will teach them to respect others as much as they will respect themselves.

I can't believe these girls were allowed to go on this show as drunk as they were and no one told them to stop making such *insert very bad word here* statements. I am disappointed for their mothers because if they were any kind of parent at all they should be ashamed. VERY ashamed.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Aprylsantics said...

I watched as much as I could of that train wreck and might easily be outraged at such a display, but I know those women did far more damage to themselves than anything else.

It seems to me they GREATLY underestimated and disregarded their interviewer and audience. Their overblown egos convinced them that their readership loved them so much, they would even pay money to see them throw rocks at zoo animals. Big mistake.

I would like to think their ridiculous commentary, while inciting anger in a lot of us, will bounce from our deaf ears and attach itself to them like a giant scarlet letter "S" (STUPID judgement call).

I'm sure they will pay for this and maybe some day have the maturity to realize why.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous lavandula said...

catherine your post was beautiful and heart touching as it always is.i have 3 daughters and i want their wings to take flight and soar.they know its ok to be who they are...wonderbaby will thank you for so much when she is fully grown.you give her great gifts and she will appreciate them all.....as for those 2 jezebels how sad that they percieve feminism in that f***ed up way.they can't honestly believe that shite they were saying. and if they do lets hope and pray that other young women don't feel the same.we are women let us roar or whisper but let us be heard! and not like them.

10:34 AM  
Blogger justmylife said...

Amen! I want that for all little girls.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Well said. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

I don't think that's too much to ask for.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then just raise her that way, you moron! Quit using excuses about "the country" or "world" keeping you from doing so.

My Mom is the greatest and strongest 'feminist' I've ever met. She has never accepted shit from anyone.

Quit making excuses and stand the fuck up.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Amen.

And hey, there, Anonymous? Blogs are for thinking these things through together, and you probably don't come here very often if you think Bad is just making excuses. Yeesh.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

So I initially came to write my praise for this post really spoke to me (and clearly many others) - but then I read that stupid comment by anonymous (how cowardly) and am left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Unfortunately your mother didn't do as great of a job as you think she did if you're putting the word "feminist" in quotations, and have clearly misunderstood this post entirely. Pfffft!

5:13 PM  
Blogger Canuckedup mama said...

Like Jenn, I too was going to add my praise of HBM's post. But then I read anon @ 4:53 and thought "why didn't I think of that?" *slaps forehead*

I mean really - children ALWAYS listen to their parents, who are their only heroes & role models. They're never influenced by anything externally, especially not pop culture, and so our job as parents should simply be to "quit making excuses and stand the fuck up".

That's some quality parenting advice. I'll be adding that, and the importance of calling people names under the guise of anonymity, to my list of things to teach my daughter.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Ben & Bennie said...

Ditto on Jenn's comment. To answer the the fucking scum coward I do believe HBM just did "stand the fuck up."

And as the father of a daughter, I think that was a brilliant post, HBM.

7:08 PM  
Blogger womaninawindow said...

Wonderful, your words and your photos!

7:33 PM  
Blogger IRISHKAT said...

One again you said it beautifully.

8:20 PM  
Blogger A Mom Two Boys said...

No daughters here, but a beautiful post!

And simply delete that moronic comment and move on. There's no need for that here and they don't deserve the attention they've already received. Don't let it cheapen what you so beautifully wrote.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Kelley said...

Fabulous post. I am raising teenage girls right now...

Keep anons comment. She was probably drunk.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Kimblahg said...

holy shit. i hadn't seen the debacle into you linked to it. i am stunned by how stupid they sounded. that is not feminism and i would be embarrassed to have them associated with my web site if i were the other members of jezebel.

8:56 PM  
Blogger I'll never tell said...

Nasty anon is probably one of those clueless moronic Jezebels who is clearly horrified by her own self. I have three daughters, 8 sisters and my mom is the oldest of three girls. Girls to boys in my family are 9 to 1. Girlpower rules here in my family and I truly believe that women who make such fools of themselves as the Jezebels OBVIOUSLY did, aren't as powerful as they like to think they are. In fact they are VERY SAD individuals who speak for only a few.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

*rubbing eyes*

Okay things I wish I hadn't seen and things I didn't see.

That, for the former.

Anyplace in this post where you made any excuses, for the latter.

Anon has perplexed me, and so late in the day.

Anyway, word, and word to flutter and Jen too.

9:51 PM  
Blogger daysgoby said...

Power to the Mother.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Anissa Mayhew said...

As the mother of 2 girls and 1 boy, I will feel like I did a good job as a mother, not when my kids graduate, or get their first job...but NOW when I see them making choices based on their understanding that they don't have to do what the other kids do, that no one has the right to break them down. I have respectful and polite kids, but they are firm in themselves and I want to teach those girls that their body is THEIRS, to treat it as the gift it is. Just as importantly, I'm raising a son that I want to understand that as well.

Good for you! It's not about excuses, but about wishing that the world at large could support things that would seem to be a common goal of parents.

-Anissa
www.hope4peyton.org

9:57 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I just spent the last hour following links and links and links...

I will just say wonderbaby is lucky to have you. And those Jezebel chicks should have been so lucky.

10:23 PM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

She will, no doubt.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

That's a pretty despicable attitude. You want to respond to verbal disagreement - wait, not even verbal disagreement, just the implication of something that doesn't line up with what you believe - you think that should be responded to with violence?

You are exactly the type of person that gives feminism a reputation for being overzealous, full of hate and intolerant of dissent. I just hope you don't teach your daughter to "fly" by stepping on other people to get up there.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jim? DUDE. You seriously think that I plan on going around flicking people in the head with my finger (note that I said cuff, which has the connotation of a non-violent 'wake-up' shove - not punch or beat BUT WHY THE FUCK AM I EXPLAINING THIS) - I was speaking figuratively.

But yeah, basically, I think that anyone who claims that we're past feminism needs to give their head a big ol' shake, and that the Jezebel spectacle proves it.

That you think that's hateful and overzealous is just, I don't know, kinda hateful and overzealous.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Wanted to add my Amen. Great post, sister. Don't let anyone tell ya different.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

Have not watched the video. Will not watch the video. But have read plenty about this. It seems the perfect example of why I don't *get* third-wave feminism and why I feel like an old-school contemporary of Betty Friedan. Even though I'm only in my 30's. (Okay LATE 30's. Almost 40, but STILL...)

Also, I think people (namely these two Jezebel writers) should realize that it's best to leave comedy to the experts. What a lost opportunity for them.

And exposure to Bratz dolls? Sooooo not a hangnail.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Saw the tweet about trolls... could it be that you've blogged about two high profile blog dramas recently? That seems to invite the crazy. I firmly believe that blog drama makes us all a little stupid.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

It's mind boggling that anyone could be asshattary regarding this post.

Asshats are icky.

Bleck.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

> You seriously think that I plan on going around flicking people in the head with my finger

No, I think you are advocating it. There's a lot of people who are all talk when it comes to slapping people they don't like around. They tend to phrase things the way you chose to, the suggestion of violence without committing to it themselves.

Just because you don't have the guts to do it, it doesn't mean the sentiment is any more pleasant.

> note that I said cuff, which has the connotation of a non-violent 'wake-up' shove

Uh, no. It's a slap. It actually used to be stronger than that; it originally meant to thrash or fight. Example dictionary definition:

"To strike with or as if with the open hand; slap."

If I, as a man, suggested that feminists should be slapped for thinking that the feminist movements work is complete, what do you imagine the response would be? Do you think the word "sexist" would come up? "Violent"? "Misogynist"?

And yet you, as a women, suggest the same for people who imply that the feminist movement's work might be complete, and you shake it off as "I didn't mean it!"

Could I get away with that excuse? Would you read "Why feminists should be slapped" and think to yourself "Oh, it's okay, he's only speaking figuratively"?

> That you think that's hateful and overzealous is just, I don't know, kinda hateful and overzealous.

Disagreeing strongly with somebody advocating violence is not hateful.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I don't know if you've read this: http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-being-role-model.html or not but I thought it was a pretty interesting take on the whole Jezebel affair. It's the only piece I've read about the whole thing that takes that side of the "argument".

11:57 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jim - Fine. If all you want to take away from this post is the gist of the title - which, again, FIGURATIVE, which doesn't mean either of 'means it literally' OR 'doesn't mean it at all' but 'expressing something by other means,' in this case, a strong feeling of frustration such that I might also say 'would like to give them a shake' - then whatever. Clearly, I am a hateful, despicable femi-nazi who will raise a zealous beast of a child because of all my angry hate. Because, yes, that's entirely what this post, and my wishes for my daughter, are rooted in.

(Also? The 'what if I-a-man said this' arguments? So not effective, because guess what? You are a man. So, apples-to-oranges: you can't make a straight comparison between the implications of what I might say and what you might say. Sorry.)

12:13 AM  
Blogger Karen Sugarpants said...

I hope this for my sons too, Catherine. I also hope they treat women with the respect they deserve while keeping their own self-respect intact. (Do you know what I mean here? For example, it seems commercials really make men look like bumbling idiots who need to ask women to tell them what to think, do, and how to raise the kids, etc.)
I hope my kids grow up to be like their Dad - he works, cooks, cleans, cuddles and is still very much a teammate and respects me as I do him.
It seems like such a fine balance, to teach such things. I hope we do well with it and raise a better generation than our own.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post.

As the mother of a son, I feel it will be harder to teach him to respect girls if more adult women don't learn to respect themselves.

And incidentally, I AM a third-wave feminist. I'm 27. My mother was a Women's Studies minor who didn't want me to shave my legs or wear skirts or have long hair. So I pushed back a little. Like a lot of us daughters of feminists did. I revel in some more traditional aspects of my femininity. I'm all right with chivalry sometimes. I like to wear lipstick push-up bras and lace and strappy heels. I chose to stay home with my kid despite people telling me I was betraying the movement. &c.

But I firmly believe that rape is never justified. That's not even a "just" a feminist belief. It's a humanist one. And for these women to go around implying it's not really a big deal . . . well . . . it's sickening.

We will never be equal until we consider ourselves worthy of equality.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

> Clearly, I am a hateful, despicable femi-nazi who will raise a zealous beast of a child because of all my angry hate. Because, yes, that's entirely what this post, and my wishes for my daughter, are rooted in.

Give my comment another read. I said nothing of the sort, you are attacking a straw man. And I think people who use the word "femi-nazi" sound ridiculous, it's certainly nothing you'd catch me saying.

> (Also? The 'what if I-a-man said this' arguments? So not effective, because guess what? You are a man. So, apples-to-oranges: you can't make a straight comparison between the implications of what I might say and what you might say. Sorry.)

This is an epitome of double standards. Different rules for men and women? Sounds pretty sexist to me. If a man should be criticised for saying something like that, so should you.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Although my seventeen year old daughter is a huge pain in my ass, she is also a fierce young woman who doesn't take shit. I've got to admire that.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Angie said...

I've been a HUGE fan of your blog...so much so that I've gone back from day one and read all that I can from that time, but still get your updates and cannot stop myself from reading them, as well.

As a mommy of three (yes, three!) daughters, HBM-you are my hero! I loved you when you struggled with the swaddle (that EVIL swaddle!-I've been THERE, honey!) and I love you now. Thank you for your voice! You are, to me, every mom.

1:07 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

asshats aren't worth your time, C. i recently learned that the hard way on my own blog when i spent way too much time fighting with one. you gotta accept that some people here (*cough* jim *cough*) are just not understanding what you're actually saying. whether he's just incapable of grasping your style of debate or he's purposely misunderstanding you to cause drama - it doesn't matter much. you gotta let that fish flounder on his own.

as to the whole debacle, i commented on the other post, but i'll say here too that all day yesterday (after reading/viewing all the hoopla) i was mildly ashamed to be a twentysomething female. but, as my awesome mom pointed out when i talked to her about it, they do not represent all of us, and i don't have to let them get me down. i gotta keep on keeping on, proving to those around me that one can be a fun, flirty twentysomething without being a moron.

1:40 AM  
OpenID mommypie said...

I'm a solo parent raising a four-year-old daughter. I want her to know, through example, she CAN in fact, do anything. She can do it all. And above all to respect herself. Bratz and Jezebels be damned.

2:48 AM  
Blogger mek said...

I have to say "amen" too - as a woman and as mother to a daughter. But also as a college professor who often sees young women who are unaware of their wings or who have folded their wings too tightly around themselves. I want my girl to be someone who not only strtches her wings, but helps others find the strength of their own.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

OK, last round:

I SAID, v.v. your comments - 'Clearly, I am a hateful, despicable femi-nazi who will raise a zealous beast of a child because of all my angry hate. Because, yes, that's entirely what this post, and my wishes for my daughter, are rooted in.'

YOU SAID - 'Give my comment another read. I said nothing of the sort, you are attacking a straw man.'

Let me remind you that your original words were: "You are exactly the type of person that gives feminism a reputation for being overzealous, full of hate and intolerant of dissent. I just hope you don't teach your daughter to "fly" by stepping on other people to get up there."

My paraphrase is only a very slightly more hyperbolic variation on what you said (cf. 'hyperbole' v.v. title of post, by the way)

And re: double standards. Just a fact. As a white woman, for example, it would be problematic for me to discuss the black community in the same manner that a black comedian does. Double standard? Yep. Rooted in good reason? Double yep.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Black Hockey Jesus said...

I hope my daughter loves rocks and streams. Women will flow from those.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HBM, I think it is safe to say that Jim is probably one of those man ho's that has had one or both of the jezebels. Wow, what an Idiot with a capital I. He is what I hope my daughter's never come home with.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Kaza said...

AMEN, sister friend. And just imagine, our mothers probably wanted that for us too. And felt just as powerless as we to ensure this gift for us. Right now, as my little one is just 3, it seems I can spare her. But in ten years? And beyond? I really worry.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I think this is really great that you and so many of your readers are hoping to teach their daughters and sons to respect themselves and each other.

Am curious about the lack of questioning over the Jezebel ladies' parents..... It almost seems like a bit of judgement here in the comments section "I'm going to teach my girls to not be like THOSE girls." Maybe the moms of the Jezebel women tried to do that too. There just seems to be a little bit of self-righteousness here and there: "I'm going to be a good mom and give my daughter all these self-esteem tools." Unfortunately/fortunately, those little girls might grow up to be trash talkin' promiscuous ladies. Or it might be a just a phase. Or they might get drunk and go on a show and make fools out of themselves and regret it later. Everybody makes mistakes. Some are just really big mistakes.

So many possibilities....

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what Carrie? Those Jezebel ladies are much too old to be even considering "their mother's" stance on things. Fact of the matter is that they have an audience of very young impressionable women. It is not a mistake that they are a constant voice of things degrading to women. THEY DEGRADE US WITH THEIR VIEWS! It is disgusting and there is no excuse. MISTAKE? HA! How about a dispicable excuse of feminist views? PUUHLEEEAAASE! What is it you are trying to say? Oh my word! I hope you would want YOUR daughters to follow them.

12:26 PM  
Blogger I'll never tell said...

Wow, the shitstorm ensues.

1:09 PM  

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