Friday, February 16, 2007


On Tuesday, I finished reading Fruitful, by Anne Roiphe. The subtitle is Living the Contradictions : A Memoir of Modern Motherhood. Like, Of Woman Born, it was written before the more recent wave of "momoirs" (that is kind of a dismissive/derogatory term I guess, but it does help me classify the genre) and focuses heavily on feminism & its relationship to mothers/motherhood (so, different than momoirs in that the focus is less on personal experience of motherhood and more on motherhood and its social/cultural/political connections, I suppose). It was less "heavy" and depressing than Of Woman Born though. The focus of the book is on the tension between feminism and motherhood (i.e. can you be a "good" feminist and also be a "good" mother!) and she explores that issue throughout. She is a feminist and yet critiques some elements of the movement's impact on mothers and motherhood. She is also very pro-father and I appreciated her exploration of men/fathers as people vs. "evil patriarchy--down with them!"

Again, I have much more time to read than I have to write, so I'm going to have to cut myself off. I was just getting started too! Maybe I'll come back to this one...

I did have some more time--this is a quote about the crux of the mother/feminist issue: "Motherhood by definition requires tending of the other, a sacrifice of self-wishes for the needs of a helpless, hapless human being, and feminism by definition insists on attention being paid to the self. The basic contradiction is not simply the nasty work of a sexist society. It is the lay of the land, the mother of all paradoxes, the irony we cannot bend with mere wishing or might of will. "

This reminds me of my journal entry from my early months as a new mother--"is it possible to balance motherhood with person-hood?" I'm still figuring it out! (some days it seems to work, some days it really doesn't!)

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