Monday, 17 October 2011

A Blog of One’s Own….and my Dreams for a Common Language

 No one lives in this room / without confronting the whiteness of the wall / behind the poems, planks of books, / photographs of dead heroines. / Without contemplating last and late / the true nature of poetry. The drive / to connect. The dream of a common language.

-  Adrienne Rich, “The Origins and History of Consciousness” from The Dream of a Common Language

This quote by Adrienne Rich hangs above my writing desk. I look at it every time I sit down to write.

I believe some of the best blogs  about feminism and motherhood are those which do not declare themselves to be unique creations; singular  births.  To me, the best blogs in this area of  focus are those that believe in the power of  communal thinking … "so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice" as Virginia Woolf stated in  A Room of One's Own.
My belief  is that the feminist mother who never writes  a word  because she is currently buried at the crossroads  in her life still lives. She lives in us all reading now , and in many other women who are not  reading this post , for they are either  washing up the dishes  or putting their  children to bed. Amongst other acts they are doing as mothers, feminists, activists, etc.
 I want my blog to be my “room of one’s own” but I also want it to be a space where MANY  women can speak their truth , connect, and express their unique voices.
I don’t feel any mother should feel lost in a tunnel of isolation on their own without the potential possibilities for connection and community.   

In my chapter entitled “ Mother Outlaws: Building Communities of Empowered Feminist Mothers in the Mother’hood “ in The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How to Do It,  I describe  how important a "community" of like-minded individuals means to feminist mothers:
" It has been understood by many feminist scholars of motherhood that having a community or network of supportive peers is essential for women who choose to challenge and resist dominant discourses.
 In her  book, Feminist Mothers, Tuula Gordon  emphasizes this point:
 …'feminist mothers have been able to develop critical orientations towards societal structures and cultures, stereotypical orientations and myths of motherhood. They do that in the context of exploring how the personal is political, and with the support of the networks of women which place them beyond collective isolation'.
For this reason, the provision of  a judgment free space for mothers to share their personal experiences in challenging dominant discourses of motherhood was not only central to the mission of Mother Outlaws,  but also built on the history of earlier feminist consciousness raising groups of the women’s movement.  
In speaking collectively about how personal mothering  challenges are linked and connected to larger social and political structures, Mother Outlaws strives to operate on the level of 'changing minds to change the world'.  And, in building on the work of feminist theories that call for a transformational consciousness to mobilize mothers into inclusive maternity coalitions , Mother Outlaws was designed to transform the way  feminist women talked to one another about their mothering experiences and to develop  strategies of community activism that could lead to making life better for all mothers."

Changing minds to change the world.
This may sound like a big endeavour….but I believe in the power of a community of those who  can speak a “common language”.

1 comment:

  1. Your explanations and imagery(and tie into our beloved Virginia)are SO powerful, Linn! Loving your blog...your writing is stylistic, engaged, illustrative of how political the personal REALLY is and, of course, brilliant! That's right folks - that's my SISTAH!