Mother's Day and why I'm a feminist
by Josh Franklin
Today is Mother's Day (Happy Mother's Day!), and it was a good occasion for me to think about the reasons that I'm a feminist. My own mom is one of the most impressive people I know, and I'm grateful for so much that she's done for me. I won't ask you to indulge me in an online speech about how wonderful she is, but I'll satisfy myself with saying that she's incredibly hardworking, strong and dedicated, and knowing that even a part of what she does is for me is truly humbling.
I think that my mom finds my feminism puzzling. When I told her that I was traveling to Florida to attend a conference of sexual assault survivor advocates, she seemed a bit bewildered, and she seems troubled that I want to spend my summer researching gender-based activism in healthcare. And yet, so much of my feminist conviction is rooted in my deep respect for my mother. I think the truth is that the impression left by one strong woman like her is a powerful rebuke of cultural messages of misogyny, if you're really paying attention.
I read an essay by Courtney Martin a while ago, that argued that feminism as a political unity is a thing of the past. As she put it:
I don't think there will ever be a global, or even national, uprising of women focused on one singular goal. There will be no singular feminist agenda. There will be no women's movement. And that's not a bad thing. Because there will be thousands upon thousands of women -- young and old alike -- waking up tomorrow with big ideas, lots of resources and communication tools, and plenty of conviction that they have the right and responsibility to make the world better.
I don't want to address the question of the political future of feminism right now. In my own privileged and myopic involvement with that politics, I focus on the kind of controversial issues that we write about endlessly on this blog--abortion, the hookup culture, and so forth. It's easy for me to forget how remarkable women like my mother are, and I want to take today to appreciate that. So without any more theoretical nonsense, thanks mom. Happy Mother's Day!