Crazy, right? Through my interactions with many other feminists, this is something that is sometimes hard to reveal. Many of the feminists I know have their beliefs because of their usually amazing relationship with their mother. While my mother did help me become the strong person I am today, it was not because our relationship was good by any means. It was through the immense heartache that she put upon me that I have turned out the way I have.
I know I am not alone in my feelings about my mother, many other’s like me have been put through atrocities by their mothers. But I feel like this is something that can be lost within the feminist movement. When speaking about my mother’s past abusive behavior and how it has made it so we are not on good terms now, I am met with shock. How can I, an outspoken feminist, dislike their maternal figure? The woman who raised me? The woman who was supposed to have given me all of my feminist virtue (according to some schools of thought)? It is because she never guided me to anything at all.
I have immense jealously for those of us who have close relationships to their mothers, for it is something I haven’t experienced. I wish I could say that my mom directly guided me to my feminist views, or inspired me to achieve them, because that would make me feel less alienated from some aspects of the feminist community. My feminism has been shaped by being raised by men (my father, grandfather, and uncle) and I feel as though there is no niche for me. When I voice these views, I feel as though I am looked at as lesser in my feminism.
This isn’t something I should be afraid to reveal, my survival from abuse should be something that is supported by my fellow feminists. If it were a male in my family who had done the same things, I feel the reactions would be more sympathetic. While supporting all people is one of the main creeds of the feminist movement, I’m sure we can all agree that an abuser is an abuser, regardless of their gender and relation to you.
So, I suppose what I am getting at is that this Mother’s Day, remember that not all feminists and women are celebrating their mothers and it is unfair to assume otherwise. Some women are dreading the day, afraid of what may come of it. We are still passionate feminists, still empowered women. Our power just may come from somewhere else. And that’s ok.