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Being Born

I wasn't born a feminist.     Life made me one.

Don't get me wrong, I love men. I just wish we would see the likes of Nietzsche, Kafka, and Darwin in skirts. So far, this has yet to happen.

There's always Susan Sontag, of course, Anais Nin, and Virginia Woolf, but there aren't nearly as many women in the annals of world literature as there are men. And, for that matter, how many Helen Thomas's, Molly Ivins, and Maureen Dowds are there?

Can it be that women are genetically less inclined for higher order thinking? The Kabbalah would have one think so, and so might Bill Maher. As I get ready to go out to dinner, I think about why this is. Is it just that the big bad corporate media won't allow us to penetrate that glass ceiling? Or, do women have some personal responsibility for our conspicuous absence on the roster of the all time greatest minds?

Watching Nikki Giovanni being interviewed on Bill Moyers Journal, I was struck by her allusion to Snow White's theme song: "Some Day My Prince Will Come," I thought back on all the princes who've come and gone in my life, those I've loved more, those I've loved less.

More importantly, watching Nikki Giovanni's interview last night, I thought about how many restless nights were spent looking up at the ceiling, and prevailing upon higher powers to find my astral mate, time that could have been far better spent writing for cripe's sake.

Close your eyes and think about this: how many guys lay around in their Victoria Secret lingerie crying their eyes out because they have no one to spend New Year's Eve with? Nope, guys are better compartmentalizers-----they're better at going to work, and focusing, in the midst of marital catastrophe, or a third world war.

Frankly, I think guys get the short end of the stick precisely because they're socialized into thinking they're less "manly" if they show a little emotion. Guys need to be able to express their feelings more, and women need to stop visualizing themselves as incomplete without
men.

Women have to learn to reinvent themselves the way men do. Somehow, we feel less than fulfilled if we aren't at the nucleus of a nuclear family. Our focus is on outward creation---giving birth to that which is corporal not cerebral.

Change will come only when women also accept that to create a piece of art has as much value for a woman as to create a child. To paraphrase the Bob Dylan line: "She not being born is busy frying."

Comments
13 Comment count
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grown children as a masterpiece

Jayne,
I really have to think on this one! Hmm, creating a piece of art has as much value as creating a child? Creating a child is just sperm and egg, giving birth; creating a person is so much more. Perhaps mothers, and fathers, should take more care in child rearing? Perhaps mothers and fathers should demand more respect for raising valuable citizens of the world?
A piece of art is just paper and ink, canvas and oils - a thoughtful, creative, industrious person is invaluable.
I understand your point. I just can't accept it being made at the expense of parenting - a true art form when done well.
Jodi

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sorry

hey, Jodi,

Thanks for your comment.

Sorry I didn't communicate clearly.
I guess what I meant to say is that a woman artist who doesn't have children can console herself with the fact that she's created a piece of art. Creating anything has value, and art is seriously devalued in this society whether created by a man or a woman.

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On Second Thought

I'm not apologizing for what I wrote, or who I am. Sorry for saying sorry. Sorry for not being understood. I think this is the wrong venue for me.

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Choice and freedom

Jayne, I see what you are saying. But I think it is really down to choice. What choices does one want to make? I am a mother, and I love it.I love my children and they are akin to art to me. I have also dabbled with my creativity. I have the freedom to explore both worlds. But, then again, I have made that choice and I am blessed to have a supportive, loving partner on my journey. All the best, Mary P.

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choice and freedom

oh, Mary, I'm not knocking motherhood---not at all.   I'm just saying that women who choose to devote their lives to their work should not be made to feel like freaks, and pariahs.   

You're truly blessed to have found someone who supports, and understands, your need to write, and doesn't make you choose between your work and him.  

It shouldn't come down to choice.   Women should have the same options as men of being creative artists and having a man in their lives, but reality is that most men have to be #1 in a woman's eyes---they're socialized to be that way from their mothers onwards, so for many women who, like myself, are faced with the dilemma as to choosing to live for their art, or to have a husband and family, there's despondency on days that celebrate lovers, of course.   You can't have it both ways. 

We all make choices---I've chosen to live for my art over having a husband and children.  I'm just hoping that future generations  will be evolved enough so that  women will have the freedom to choose both.

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Choice etc.

Jayne, I know you are not knocking motherhood, no true feminist would. At least not the way I see it. You can be a mother AND  a feminist, it all depends on how you steer the ship. I really don't see how you can't have your art and your partner or whatever............the translation of the word feminist seems like a very grey area. All I'm saying is one can live their lives and be happy no matter what the terminology is. I am not by any means an intellectual but as far as I am concerned waking up each day and being happy is the most important fact of all. Screw the rest.

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Amen

Amen, and thanks, Mary!    Waking up each day and being happy is all that matters.

 (btw, I'm not a feminist--I'm a humanist; I think that dividing things up by gender only leads to more divisiveness.  That said, it saddens me to see so few women correspondents in Washington, and so few women columnists in our newspapers, as well as so few women writers on the list of 100 Most Important Books recently released by Random House which included one woman---Virginia Woolf who, by the way, went mad for daring to delve into things traditionally reserved for men.   One out of a hundred doesn't sound like fair odds to me.)

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Feminist, humanist, whatever....

Oh sorry. Its just that you said in your original blog that life made you a feminist. I happen to be a humanist also. But you know what, who cares a doodle what one happens to calls onself, what labels we all stick on each other,  in the end, humanist, feminist, existentialist etc.why, isn't it  all the same when it boils down to it, we are all in the same boat  just making a go of things and trying to figure it all out! Right? Cheers.

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In the beginning was the Word...

Giving birth to that which is cerebral CAN produce that which is corporal in the wider scheme of things. It has the potential to create a new environment in which human beings as a whole can flourish. Procreation is bound to be a part of that.

Jayne Lyn, I sincerely hope you will not think of leaving this forum.

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In the beginning was the Word...

Giving birth to that which is cerebral CAN produce that which is corporal in the wider scheme of things. It has the potential to create a new environment in which human beings as a whole can flourish. Procreation is bound to be a part of that.

Jayne Lyn, I sincerely hope you will not think of leaving this forum.

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exploration is good

Jayne,
Please don't ever apologize for what you wrote. I wasn't in any way trying to make you feel you should. I just want to be certain we don't devalue raising children, that's all. Certainly women who aren't mothers have just as much value in this world as those who are.
I'm not "fighting" with you, just discussing. I certainly enjoy reading your posts. I think we're a lot alike in that we share very strong views of the world.
So here's to us, to women with views, to women with a voice!
Best regards,
Jodi

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Thanks. Jodi and Rosy,

I appreciate your feedback, and input, and am glad to know that there are people on Red Room who enjoy reading my posts.

I don't identify myself as a "woman writer," but as a writer, and hope that the day will come soon when matters of substance will be welcome from the mouths of women as much as from the mouths of men.

Bob Dylan was lucky he was born Robert, and not Roberta Zimmerman. We might never have heard of him otherwise. To borrow a line from a Dylan song: "Some are building monuments; others just jotting down notes." I'm one who has always sought to build monuments despite being relegated to the role of taking down notes, and I intend to continue to do so. They may get buried, and retrieved hundreds of years from now, but I will keep building anyway.

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oh and...

gawd how I long for the days when women stop writing about menstrual cramps, their first orgasm, and how they met their boyfriends, and venture into that foreign terrain formerly reserved exclusively for men. Until we do so, no one will take anything we say seriously. Not that there isn't a place for orgasms, and lovemaking---lord, there would be no "Ulysses" were it not for scatalogy, and anatomical references; the novel is very down to earth, but it's this hyperfocus on finding the right mate that relegates women to the bottom of the intellectual garbage dump (one flight above the likes of Machiavelli and Nixon). It would be great if we could make the argument that men are oppressing us but, in truth, it's our value systems, and what we strive for that also keeps us in the human interest story domain. Guys have their issues to deal with, too. Look at how many powerful men who got scammed by Madoff have taken their lives in the past few months? Guys are still suffering under the weight of breadwinner, provider, and taking care of a family even though women now make up 49% of the workforce. Guys are still not allowed to admit that they feel depressed, to cry, or say they need someone to talk to, so it isn't so much about women's rights as human rights, not so much about feminism as humanism. Human beings are evolving physiologically at a pace far greater than their intellectual, and emotional, pace. If things keeps up this way, this can only mean a technologically evolved species that can't figure out how to tie its shoes.