Discover more from Other Feminisms
Longing to Live Differently, your stories
Plus a census for OF's third anniversary
Other Feminisms started three years ago with 131 readers. Today, we’re just a little shy of 4000 members. What I’m most grateful for is the space to have a continuing conversation, in contrast to the shallowness of social media. I’ve put together a survey for all of you (lurkers included) to learn a little about who’s reading and what you hope to see in the next year.
Other Feminisms has no paywall since what I value most about writing here is the chance to engage with thoughtful, critical readers. But, this coming year, I’ll be relying more on freelance income and if you’re able to become a paid subscriber, it would be a big help, especially in prioritizing Other Feminisms work over paid work elsewhere.
The last time I ran a survey (back in 2021), four out of five readers who responded were women, and about half of you said you were currently raising children. I also asked what you most wanted the support of likeminded women on, and these were some answers that stood out to me:
I recently finished training as a foster parent, and it's opened my eyes to how desirable it is to keep kids from needing to enter the system. I'd love to figure out how to support mothers/families a couple steps before the crisis.
I've seen so many women step back from other friendships/hobbies/interests when they have children. I know that children, especially little ones, are very time-intensive. But I feel like there's pressure from both sides--that some religious-right people take the stance that children are all-encompassing and that's why women should be home with them, self-sacrificing motherhood, etc., while some of the very liberal or progressive people on my campus and in my doctoral program take the same stance that children are all-encompassing and that's why they're childfree, because they ruin your life.
I want another model. One where I can have children, and love my children--but still have friends over for dinner or board games, still cantor and sing in the choir at my church, still have my academic work. It's not so much wanting something outside motherhood, but a model for how I can bring these things inside motherhood. Maybe the Other Feminisms readership might have ideas in that directions.
In my heart of hearts—beneath all my feminism of whatever adjective—I secretly worry that being a woman really is worse than being a man. And I just don't want to feel that way anymore. I'd like to be convinced that women matter, and not just for child-bearing or because they balance men's defects.
To what extent should working parents, and especially working mothers, be expected to have the same work ethic as everyone else? My wife believes that if mothers even of infants are seen as slacking off, it will be harder for women of child bearing age to get work. I have described to her that I think mothers of babies should have more of an entitlement mindset than an equality mindset, which is also a debate in disability studies. This means advocating for more remote days, moving of job responsibilities, and other changes in conditions.
These days the root of my biggest problems seems to be my staunch independence and difficulty asking for help. I think that tendency has been a really helpful coping mechanism that has now outlived its usefulness and started to alienate people. I value and want to live in community, and that has to be about both giving and receiving.
I think just the desire to consider complex ideas calmly and relatively anonymously! I don't have a lot of space for that in my regular life, at least not with people other than my husband. I feel lucky and glad that he and I can mostly do that, but on a lot of social media, it doesn't feel possible. This place has been different - but I hope it stays that way as this grows. Usually, once something gets big enough that the secret's out, the disappearance of things *feeling* smaller and more intimate makes short work of people talking to each other in ways that go along with that feeling.
That last commenter did a lot to sum up my feelings. Here’s to another year of conversation and collaboration.