Name: Lisa Duggan
Occupation: WAHmom; co-founder, publisher, TheParentduJour.com; publisher of TheMotherHoodBlog (2009-present) and prior to that, in print, The MotherHood Magazine (2006-2008). Often found ranting on Twitter as @motherhoodmag
Location: New Jersey. Sigh.
Any other relevant tidbits you’d care to share: I fantasized about giving birth in the Holland Tunnel—so my daughter would have dual NY/NJ creds
How do you define feminism?
A movement, made of people, devoted to the recognition of the financial, cultural, historical, physical and emotional burdens and limitations of being born a woman in this world, and who work to eradicate those limitations, and moreover, celebrate everything that is female.
When did you first identify as a feminist? Has your (definition of) feminism changed over time? How?
It was only after I became a mother that I identified as a feminist. Before that I was a mostly-secular humanist—identifying more with humanity as a whole. My activism was devoted to non-gender specific issues, like working for an AIDS organization, the New York Cares Coat Drive or joining the organic food coop. When I was pregnant, and then as a nursing mother, I started to experience the negative way, both subtle and overt, that our culture regards women and discriminates against them. I felt objectified (strangers touching my belly, brands bombarding me with mom-specific advertising); infantilized (I was treated as if I was infirm or incompetent, or both); and demoralized (my job of caregiver was viewed as less important than income earner, and therefore without economic—or any other value— and so I was not worthy of or interesting enough for a conversation with non-parents (read: former colleagues)).
Have you ever experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist? If so, why do you think that is and how do you handle it?
Yes. I experienced resistance to identifying as a feminist when I was looking over my answer to question #1, because it seemed so…extreme and um, militant. But I got over my resistance when I was writing the answer to question #2, because then I recalled all the moments when I was subject to bias. And, still am.
What do you see as the future of feminism?
I see the face of Joe Joe, the son of my friend Cat. A former marine and police officer, she quit her career in order to raise her son. Since he was a baby in her arms, she’s been teaching Joe all that women are and can be, and how to respect and love them, and she’s teaching Joe to expect to take full responsibility for his children, emotionally and financially, when and if he has them. My daughter will marry a man like Joe and their babies will be further emancipated. They won’t believe it when we tell them that there were once places in the world women couldn’t walk.
Lisa Duggan is a mother, graphic artist, writer, and the co-founder and publisher of The Parent du Jour and TheMotherhoodBlog. You may also read her very, very short stories on Twitter, as @motherhoodmag.
If you would like to participate in this series, please contact me for more details!