A Self-indulgent Postcolonial/Feminist/Poetry-in-Progress/Culture/Parent Blog
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
You totally know this is going to be on Oprah… or Jerry Springer
My feminist friends have been teeth-gnashing, hand-wringing, and dabbling in all kinds of Freudian self-psychoanalyses since Rebecca Walker’s article, about her mother Alice Walker, broke in UK’s Daily Mail:
Now keep in mind that The Daily Mail is a very conservative turkey and it might make better sense why Rebecca W’s article seems backlash-y, undermine-y, and badly researched. I feel no insecurity that the Walker acrimony exposes the non monolithic aspects of feminism to non feminist scrutiny and criticism. And i doubt if it’s a third-wave feminist against the second-wave kind of thing as Phyllis Chesler makes it appear in her Salon.com article. It just seems to be a rather cheerless reality that the children of artists and leaders often appear to be disturbed/damaged and alienated (see: Gandhi, M.K; Marx, Karl, or even Blyton, Enid etc.).
While I’m not an outright fan of Alice Walker’s, I have to say that Rebecca W’s work appears to be lacking in nuance. I remember Rebecca Walker’s 1990’s sex-positive essay “Lusting for Freedom” as appealing, but in this here article, she alleges that her mother pushed her towards early sexual experimentation. So, umm—all I can see is how an opportunity to form a strong historical and theoretical center for her resentment has been wasted.
Still there is a lot of psychic pain here. And I can identify with the feeling of disappointing your feminist mother by marrying, having kids. Much as my mom adores her grandkids, it made her anxious knowing that i would no longer be able to put my ambitions first. And sometimes, she’ll still look at me all i-told-you-so and quote Sanskrit: Vivaham vidya nashanam (marriage exterminates scholarship).
So, so far, no solutions--just sentiment :). And oh, Blue pointed me to Rebecca Walker’s blog, which has a very different voice from the article in question. I skimmed; i kinda liked.