My good friend L. is completing her thesis, doing research on feminist mothering and queering mothering. L. is also finishing her degree in Women's and Gender Studies at Eastern, and we started our program together in 2010. She drove to Ann Arbor today, and we sat down for a couple of hours with some iced tea at the kitchen table, and she interviewed me.
The questions were good ones, centering on my views of what feminism is, how I became a feminist, how feminism shaped my decision to have a child, birthing choices, and how I parent. In addition, we talked about whether or not 'queer' parenting is a possibility for heterosexual families, and what this would look like. (I won't write about all of this here, you can read about many of my views in this blog post).
During the interview, L. asked me about what kind of feminist community I have in New York City. I paused, and with reluctance shared that I really didn't have any feminist community at home. I didn't even really realize that I was so missing this part of my life until I stopped and thought about it. While it's true that I love my local moms' group and look forward to our weekly visits in Sakura Park, and I'm sure a handful of the moms may own up to the term 'feminist,' we don't talk about our experiences, children, and parenting through this type of filter.
I found that group through meetup.com (and I refuse to be embarrassed about this - I don't think I would have made it through those first few months without this group!), and I'm sure I could find some sort of feminist mothers' group there as well; it is New York City, after all! Or maybe I could start a fringe group in my area, I really wouldn't mind hosting that sort of thing.
Community is such an interesting thing. I was looking forward to spending more time with good friends in Ann Arbor this summer, but it turns out that without a car, and with friends moving further away, I'm spending more of my time alone (or with Ian) than I do in the New York.
You might ask, what is feminist community? Personally, feminism
shapes my perspectives. It is the filter through which I process my
experiences in life and make sense of the world. That said, it is
incredibly valuable to have discussions with other people (and parents,
specifically, now that I'm a mummy) that share this worldview, and to
feel supported and supportive to others. Feminist community is a safe place to process, and sometimes, just vent.
For the feminists out there, what kind of community do you have? L. mentioned that her primary feminist community is online (though she and her husband are starting a feminist/queer parenting group next month, neat!). My feminist community consisted of my peers in my grad program until I moved, and now I really don't have any. And I miss it.