By Tuula Gordon (auth.)
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Extra resources for Feminist Mothers
Difficulties, contradictions and ambiguities follow the attempts to love and protect fragile children in an uncaring, harsh world, leading to cheery denials on the part of the mothers, which exacerbate their subordination and are not in the interests of their children. Contradictions in maternal thought must be transformed by feminism, Ruddick argues; this transformed maternal thought must be brought out of the private into the public realm. But the emphasis on the potential of motherhood and on the importance of releasing it from the private to the public sphere, thus challenging the patriarchal control of men and transforming the framework of subordination, has partly stemmed from a negative attitude towards motherhood and children.
Finding a voice Transformational politics requires a conception of where women stand, and how they are to act. Wilson (1984), in her book Finding a Voice, explains how a group of Asian women 'would look at things which had been imposed on us - our families' image of us, white society's image of us - and then look at what we wanted, how we wanted to move forwards' (p. 175). Subordinated groups are excluded from the public sphere, hence they are dependent on direct experience, which tends to be individualised and fragmented, and poses difficulties in constructing an oppositional world view (Brunsdon, 1978).
But working mothers are not downtrodden; they are 'a force to be reckoned with, whose work means more economically and psychologically to them than ever before, and who feel strongly resistant to policies that attempt to redefine their role and restrict their lives' (p. 242) Conclusion The discussion in this chapter has concentrated on the processes of socialisation that young girls have to contend with as they are growing up, and the outcomes of those processes: that is, we have been charting the position of women in the family as mothers.