Thursday, June 08, 2006

Embracing feminism

If I would be asked to arrange all the isms that I know and care about, perhaps feminism would fall somewhere at the edges. I haven't gone through a lot of feminist authors, except maybe some that I've encountered in my forays into green thought and practice. Perhaps it has also something to do with all these contradictions that I've been grappling with since my early involvements in gender work. But if there's one book that has kept feminism in orbit around my reflective being, it has to be this one by Anne Roiphe. Weaving her feminist and pro-family positions into meditations on her personal experiences as a daughter, wife, mother, stepmom, grandmother, stepgrandmom and activist, Roiphe has come out with an honest and persuasive work on feminism. "Fruitful" highlights the various contradictions that run through the recent history of feminist positions and practice. But it makes a clear stand on things which to her should be the concern of women and men anywhere on the planet: quality childcare, men as full partners in parenting, fathers' rights, individual growth in the family, etc.

Favorite quote: "Pregnancy and labor are indeed a woman's part and the male is not as active a participant in the pure biology of birth, but the baby is not an animal that survives without a social context and this social context does make the father an equal participant in all the nurturing of the infant. The psychological development of the child is not divinely given to a parent of one sex or the other."