Good Mom, Bad Mom: Rebecca Walker Speaks Truth to Feminist Power
Rebecca Walker is in the news again. Why? Because she's more normal than her famous mother, and now she's dredging up the awful truth.
I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son - her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.
Well, so be it. My mother may be revered by women around the world - goodness knows, many even have shrines to her. But I honestly believe it's time to puncture the myth and to reveal what life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution.
I couldn't predict at the time that the battle would get to be such a heated one. But I did see that Rebecca Walker was heading to directly contradict a lot of what passes for feminist wisdom a few years ago when I was working in Philadelphia. Back then I wrote:
Walker's audience was largely comprised of women who have not suffered through the cleansing agony of childbirth, and one could sense their conflict and ambivalence from a distance. Walker is a master of talking to them straight and guiding them gently. She's got a writer's honesty and self-knowledge. As I surfed her website and perused her bio, I found she's got much experience talking to young folks such as these.
There is genuine confusion and empathy. A thousand conversations that cannot occur in bars await the patient author on book tours. I could feel the tender tendrils extending as each young person walked up to the table after the talk. With one in particular whom I seem to recall in a denim skirt, the two women reminded me of my own two daughters whispering to each other. Oh how women talk. And where else could they go but to each other?
They can come to me, because in the end, big brother that I am, I spent most of the evening acquainting myself with a universalized version of this ritual. How can I protect this, I kept asking myself. How can I keep this part of society working? How can I recognize this from the fraud of eclexia? Walker invoked he who is Chesterton in my mind when she expressed that family works and has worked for hundreds and thousands of years, and 'we' shouldn't be so quick to dismiss its value. She recognizes what era she's living in, and said that those are dangerous words in some quarters. I imagine she would know that very well.
Well now it's clear that Rebecca Walker is one of us. She has, through her own experience as a mother, found the true meaning of life by creating life and protecting life. I'm going to keep her in mind more and more knowing that she has joined the battle. And in case you decide not to read the full piece that I linked to, let me give you a small piece that makes it all very clear.
A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.
Although I was on the Pill - something I had arranged at 13, visiting the doctor with my best friend - I fell pregnant at 14. I organised an abortion myself. Now I shudder at the memory. I was only a little girl. I don't remember my mother being shocked or upset. She tried to be supportive, accompanying me with her boyfriend.
Although I believe that an abortion was the right decision for me then, the aftermath haunted me for decades. It ate away at my self-confidence and, until I had Tenzin, I was terrified that I'd never be able to have a baby because of what I had done to the child I had destroyed. For feminists to say that abortion carries no consequences is simply wrong.
Well. Not much ambiguity there. I was just writing about the Peasant Box. Another reason I am conservative has to do with my rejection of the counter-cultural movement that was baked into the narrative of The Sixties. It continues to be assumed, quite falsely, that black Americans wanted hippie, pacifist, sexual revolution as part and parcel of the defense of their Civil Rights. That to be black was to be against the War in Vietnam, and everything white parents appeared to be to their idiot baby boom children. It was that reactionary rebellion that made stars of people like Alice Walker and others who were part of Black Radical Chic. And to this day 'black culture' continues to be a foil for a 'white culture' meaning two parent families, marriage and a lack of radical politics.
The myth continues, but Rebecca Walker is not pretending and playing nice any longer. Good.