New year, old thoughts

christmas treeHappy New Year, everyone (one?)! 2013. It already looks like it’s going to be a very full and interesting year.

I am working on the print edition of Spell of Blindness and hoping to make that available really soon (as soon as I am pleased with the formatting which, let me tell you, takes a lot of work).

I have also created a nice and long reading list for this year, inspired by my friend CJ of Imperfect Happiness. She is challenging herself to go through a long and comprehensive list of classics. I am not as brave as to embark on such a huge challenge, but I realized that I am attracted to the idea of creating a good list of books that can guide my readings throughout the year. My list includes feminist fiction and non-fiction, and several biographies of inspiring women.

I have started reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, which is an essential and fascinating feminist work. Of course, it was written a few years ago, but it revived my worries about this direction of feminism that has motherhood as an antagonist, where the two can hardly be reconciled. Simone de Beauvoir never had children. I have discussed earlier on this blog my observation that many notable women either never had children or neglected the ones they had, and my worry that it was this personal choice that made it possible for them to create their work and become recognized as prominent thinkers and artists.

Personally, I do not believe in adopting a position that represents in any way a fight against nature. I think such a fight is futile, and doesn’t serve any cause or any individual. Sure, having children is a personal choice, but in a discussion of feminism, personal choices are of no consideration. I am sure that throughout my readings this year I will find the feminists that embrace their nature as women who are biologically determined to procreate for the perpetuation of the species. Having children, just like not having them, is similarly a personal choice, but when discussing the species, it appears that this needs to be a majority choice, otherwise, you know, we’ll be extinct soon, which is not a desirable effect, I think we all must agree.

So what I will be looking for in my readings will be the answer to questions like how can a woman be a mother, value motherhood as a part of her identity, and at the same time not deny herself the other opportunities of achievement that the public (work) world offers? How can a woman find accomplishment in both spheres, if so inclined, without making terrible compromises? We seem to struggle with reaching a balance, even today, with all the childcare opportunities and support from the government (in many countries) that mothers have. Is there an immutable conflict, or is there a way to make the private and public spaces easy to juggle by most women who so desire? Is it here where modern parenting (where the mother and the father share the work in the home equally) comes into play to change the old paradigm? Of course, we need to extend the discussion from there to the need of having work in the home and raising children (often women’s work) be valued as just as important in the family partnership as making money outside of the home. But that is yet another difficult discussion.