“What life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution”

Rebecca Walker (h/t Freeman Hunt), daughter of feminist Alice Walker, has a sad tale to tell.

I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.
As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.
My mother’s feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.
I love my mother very much, but I haven’t seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son – her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.
Well, so be it. My mother may be revered by women around the world – goodness knows, many even have shrines to her. But I honestly believe it’s time to puncture the myth and to reveal what life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution.

The story is a personal one dealing with the particular strained relationship between a daughter and her mother. But Rebecca Walker also explains her concerns with current feminist philosophy:

I know many women are shocked by my views. They expect the daughter of Alice Walker to deliver a very different message. Yes, feminism has undoubtedly given women opportunities. It’s helped open the doors for us at schools, universities and in the workplace. But what about the problems it’s caused for my contemporaries?
What about the children?
The ease with which people can get divorced these days doesn’t take into account the toll on children. That’s all part of the unfinished business of feminism.
Then there is the issue of not having children….Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.
But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women’s movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them – as I have learned to my cost. I don’t want to hurt my mother, but I cannot stay silent. I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
15 years ago

I watched most of the In Depth interview of Alice Walker on Cspan the other day.She said some things that I found ridiculous(the assertion that Castro had less than 20 people killed and her conflicts concerning her horror of violence and her exaltation of Che Guevara,a very violent individual)and she looked and acted somewhat bizarre.Not exactly schizphrenic-type crazy,but with a sort of detachment,as if everything mildly amused her.Her memory seemed a little compromised also.
I think they used to say people like her were “shell-shocked”,but by what is not exactly clear.People revered far and wide often can’t deal with their own closest relatives effectively.They think in archetypes.The mundane confuses them.I have never read any of her books so it would be beyond stupid for me to comment on her as a writer.

15 years ago

“As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct.”
How silly. The instinct is there or it is not. It has nothing to do with availability to the child of certain toys.
Rebecca is brave to come forward and say all this.

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