First Day of School, Radical Parenting
Adopt a gimmick, a shtick or suffer irrelevance. I mentioned before that I must label my parenting radical or not expect anyone to read it. Labeling (and categorizing) is a white middle-class trope that I have never gotten used to and something the “pretty feminists” (young, white, sex positive, heterosexual) advantageously utilize for self-promotion at the expense of collective feminism. As if, the very tactic and/approach to parenting and/or their experiences of parenting have never been tested or felt before. As if, anyone’s stories on parenting isn’t simply a new version of a version that has already happened to someone else.
It is as if something cannot be so unless it is said to be so, that people cannot take heed unless it is promoted and packaged with preferences that appeal to like-minded people. Hence, advertised as such, or it will be considered inconsequential and generic. Reading an entry from a mother that does not call herself a mommy blogger or radical parent is about as useful as the shame you are expected to feel for buying the “affordable” peanut butter with the white label and black letter packaging and/or the dictated feeling of desperation that is to accompany the purchase of no name cornflakes manufactured by the same distributor as the named cornflakes. You must shun the packaging that screams, NOT GOOD ENOUGH! You must, because if you don’t, the pretty package’s position will be in danger of not being considered the prettiest package.
I may sound bitter or envious, but I can assure you that neither is the case. The case is one of mourning over the ignorance of our collective, coupled with the hope, the desire to produce a scream loud enough to wake up the slumberers who cannot seem to hear alarm clocks blaring. How many of us must suffer listening to that alarm beeping, buzzing, and beeping and buzzing without any means of turning it off?
I first remember thinking about this when I was reading somewhere on the internet and it was recommended to go read Jessica’s story on Feminsiting about her birth or afterbirth or what have you (and Dooce as well). The reader was guaranteed a heart-wrenching story that EVERYONE would recognize as deserving of one’s unbridled compassion and appreciation. I asked myself what makes her story about pregnancy, birth, and/or child rearing any more significant than the pregnancy, birth, and/or child rearing stories of countless other women. It’s the privilege that makes the difference. Most of the women I know do not have the time to get on the computer, much less the energy. And if they did, their language (as well as mine) will not be promoted, because, we do not speak the language of privilege mothers. Privilege mothers call themselves “Mommy Bloggers” and “Radical Parents” and other outlandish titles that promote their voices while imprisoning the voices of other mothers. Privilege people have the power of voice because they have the privilege of listeners. Other privilege people and people who admire privilege people, listen to privilege people. If that un-pretty feminist discusses her pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting using her unprivileged tongue, would she be read by many? In more cases than not, no, she would not be. Thus, privilege is perpetuated.
Nevertheless, you have now finished reading my introduction, a.k.a where my thoughts are coming from when I wonder if I should share those thoughts or not.
Today was my daughter’s first day of school. I am the mother of two daughters. I think being the mother of two daughters, two daughters wanted over sons is very radical indeed. I could tell you how we feel and what we do, and often I do feel like sharing. Then, I become protective and remember how girls and what girls think and feel are often always dismissed before those thoughts or feelings are expressed. So, I hold back on sharing, because, if something is not shared, it cannot be dismissed, again.