By Joy Rose and Mamapalooza
Last Saturday in Toronto, the Motherhood Movement was officially launched. Camera in hand, juggling cables and questions, I shot 30 hours of video, from the hip, as I tried to get answers from some of the world’s foremost feminists. The subjects included mothering, violence, militarism, war, and social justice; mothers for equal rights; virtual mothering; feminists for a gift economy; maternal depression, and queer parenting.
“Wow,” you say? Or, maybe “Why”?
Perhaps I’m trying to sort through my own confusion and ambivalence about terms like “feminist mother,” “single mother,” and “girlfriend,” and to capture this unique moment in Herstory.
After three days at the conference, sponsored by the Association for Research on Mothering at York University in Toronto, I was inspired and exhausted.
Let me say, I was the only one there with pink hair.
Some 300 women met in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, to initiate the suffragist movement and win the right for women to vote, a right that did not come to be until 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. This gathering was much larger, the first International Motherhood Movement meeting. Here were women who cared passionately about their roles as workers, wives, and mothers. What’s amazing is that the subject of partnering was just as hot as the subject of parenting.
There wasn’t one attendee who spoke of wanting to erase the entire male population. Generally speaking, participants had a warm spot for the opposite sex.
With 20 organizations and hundreds of individuals presenting papers, studies and speeches, there were, of course, bound to be differences.
But primarily attendees were looking for commonalities. We were passionately looking for ways to make the world a better place. For a glimpse of some of the participants, taek a look at this short video I shot.
Among the groups participating were Momsrising.org, LiteraryMama.com, Mamapalooza.com, MuseumOfMotherhood.org, MamaZine.com, MothersCenters.org, MothersandMore.org, and MothersActingUp.org.
We listened and learned. Sometimes we merely tried to listen. Amy Richards, author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, talked so fast I could barely keep up.
I will be working to edit the 30 hours of video I shot to show those who weren’t there highlights of what she said, and outline some of the defining academic ideas today on motherhood. I’m back at my desk simply marveling that I have a business card of a feminist ambassador from Uganda.
I’m so glad I went, and I’m also glad I’m back home with the kids. The children were pestering me for dinner while the new boyfriend was chatting with me on the phone. It was back to the multitasking of working, mothering and partnering.