In the Sydney Morning Herald, proud feminist and former educator Polly Dunning shares her experience of motherhood:
I’ve always been a feminist. I’m lucky. My mother, Jane Caro, is a feminist, as is my grandmother, and both always have been. It’s something I’ve never questioned and always felt confident and strident about. Just ask me about it at a dinner party (if you dare...)
Setting aside the prospect of some horrendous dinner parties, note Ms Dunning’s satisfaction with a set of assumptions that are stridently voiced and “never questioned.”
Motherhood has been quite a confronting experience for my feminism so far, and I'm sure it will continue to be. Ever since discovering I was pregnant it’s been a process of adjusting and reconciling my biology with my ideology, particularly when I discovered that my baby, my most-beloved Alfred, would be a boy.
That little red light is a warning sign.
I had never wanted a son. In fact, I had decidedly not wanted one. I wanted daughters, probably because I am one of two daughters and six granddaughters, no sons or grandsons. This seemed altogether to fit in with my feminism better… There were dark moments in the middle of the night (when all those dark thoughts come), when I felt sick at the thought of something male growing inside me.
Yes, I know. The little red light is flashing now. Best cover it with a towel.
In this patriarchal world, this world where even the best men (and women, for that matter) engage in casual and ingrained sexism, how will I raise a son who respects me the way a daughter would?
Oh sweet naïveté. But thank goodness that Ms Dunning, who “felt sick” at even the thought of “something male” growing inside her, is totally opposed to all that “casual and ingrained sexism.”