Florida's Daughter

What makes a feminist a feminist?

Posted on: September 15, 2008

Frankly, I find the narrowness of the pro-choice/pro-life/woman’s right to choose debate quite frustrating, and somewhat elitist. This is because seldom does the national conversation expand itself into a debate about the circumstances of the baby whose mother could neither exercise her right to an abortion, nor afford to give birth.


I think this is an elitist conversation because it makes certain assumptions that seem to totally exclude economically disadvantaged women. What of the mother who, for whatever reason, desires an abortion, but cannot exercise her right to have one because she cannot afford the procedure’s financial burden? What of this mother who is now carrying the burden of raising a baby she essentially did not want?


What of the mother who, for whatever reason, desires to birth and raise her baby, but cannot seem to manage on her Wal-Mart salary? Where is the feminist uproar in response to the daily struggles being endured right now, today by women who are essentially being punished for giving birth to babies they could not afford financially?


Someone else has made the point in this thread, and I agree that feminism is about activism.  So I ask: why aren’t more feminists as vocal about labor rights as they are about abortion rights? Where is the outcry from women about the sorry state of healthcare in this country and the devastating consequences being felt by poor women and their children?


Where are the passionate WMST threads about these issues? As academics, how do we manage to expand our debates beyond university classrooms into high schools, junior colleges, and other community centers of learning where we’re mostly likely to find the women to which I refer?


So, while I respect the right of each of you to your own opinions, I am sorely disappointed when I realize the narrowness of your focus. As feminists, we wring our hands over what might happen if abortion is made illegal. Well, guess what? If you cannot afford to pay for one, it may as well be illegal!


I apologize in advance if I appear offensive to some, but I suppose this last week of political maneuvering has really gotten to me. Was I the only one to make note that if a 17-year-old daughter of African-American presidential candidate Obama was now pregnant out-of-wedlock, what a different conversation we would be having about unwed pregnancy?




2 Responses to "What makes a feminist a feminist?"

And how do you suppose the conversation would be different were it Obama with the pregnant daughter?

I believe if one of Sen. Obama’s daughters was pregnant the conversation would not be as concillatory or understanding. He and his wife would be accused of shoddy parenting, and their daughter would be held up as an example of a “girl gone bad.”

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