Wednesday, April 4, 2007

being woman

So I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about feminism. And God, and how he created me, and my body, and the capabilities and limitations of femaleness, and the state of our society, and what my identity is.
Also why Lucy keeps pooping in her diaper instead of in the potty. So it's a mixed bag around here.

It started out with me meditating on God, and His creative powers. Participating in creation, and actually sustaining another life gives me greater appreciation and awe of how He does it for billions of creatures and gazillions of stars.
So why do we call Him He? What does that mean, exactly?

I'm sort of a reluctant feminist. I've always been kind of a 'don't rock the boat' sort of person, and the circles I run in (relatively conservative Christian) feminism definitely rocks the boat. I have a lot of Christian feminist friends, and I've always liked their chutzpah, but have sort of hesitated to jump onto that particular boat myself.
But then I experienced motherhood, and breastfeeding, and full-time baby care.
It makes me feel a lot more enmeshed in womens' lot. And while I still question a lot of the feminist movements pet tropes, the difficulty of how constrained womanhood can be seems a lot mroe real to me.

So I have been talking to friends about it, and I borrowed books from friends to start sort of a reading journey. I got the Feminine Mystique (I mean, it is a classic) and a feminist theology reader, and have ordered a book called "Is it okay to Call God Mother". Gosh, that one makes me nervous! I think it makes Dyami a little nervous, too.

Reading the Feminine Mystique (I'm on chapter three), I'm both shocked at how much things have changed, and shocked at how much I identify with the problems Friedan describes. A mother's identity crisis? Feeling trapped by the realities of suburban stay-at-home momdom? Worrying that I might never do any thing more interesting than change poopy diapers again?

No, I have no idea what she's talking about. Hahahahahaha. Except I wish it were funny.

There's something that is a problem, though. She talks a lot about how women aren't determined by their biology; they are more than their sexual roles and bodies. And agree, to some extent, but well, one thing I've really noticed about motherhood is that our bodies pretty powerfully determine that we're mothers. No way to really share pregnancy with your spouse; you carry the child on your own. A pump is a great equalizer, but in the natural state of things, it's me who breastfeeds, and thus wakes up in the middle of the night to tend to my baby's stomach. And as a result of those things, Lucy is more wedded to me; she looks to me when she needs comfort. And I married a sensitive, 'liberated' man who does things like vacuum and wash dishes and change diapers (and even be super on-board with being crunchy EC nutheads).

So much as I'd love to go out and change the world right now--or serve in a larger sphere than our home, I can't. Lucy limits me. And to some extent that's a function of our fragmented suburban capatilist society, but to some extent this is just how God made me.

Oh, see, we got back to God again.
I think I need to do more reading.
Perhaps. I think I'm going to continue making Dyami (and myself) nervous for a while.

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